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Eastmoreland's market again goes dark

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The day before their kitchen closed for the last time, customers come for a last meal at Eastmoreland market & KITCHEN.Change has come again to the little neighborhood store, the Eastmoreland Grocery & Market that has served residents since 1924.

Carol and Gary Christensen owned and operated the market from 1983 until it closed on October 20, 2007. Sadly, Gary passed away less than a month after his retirement.

October 20 is a significant date because the Colleen and Patrick Mendola announced in mid-October the their store, “e.moreland market & KITCHEN”, which they opened in the building on January 24, 2008, would closed its kitcheon on October 20th of this year, as they prepared to cease business operations on October 30.

Colleen Mendola blogged on their website about the store’s closing:

“This news comes as a huge shock to Pat, I and our employees. For the last week we have been trying to make sense of this extremely devastating situation and without airing dirty laundry, we are going to take the high road and just inform you that we have no choice.”

In between serving Colleen serving diners at the deli counter, and Patrick ringing up customers’ orders, they individually told THE BEE they’d prefer to not speak, in detail, about what precipitated the decision to close the business they’d operated for five years.

After ordering a Ruben and hamburger from Colleen, internationally-known chef Caprial Pence and husband John sat down at the counter.

“It's just terrible,” Caprial commented. “It’s a big loss for the neighborhood. Generations of people have come here. Kids come here after school.”

Colleen handed us our Ruben sandwich-to-go and said, “One thing I’d like to say is that I feel badly about having to let our wonderful employees go. They really helped make this place the neighborhood spot we imagined it could be.”

Later that day, Carol Christensen, who remains the owner of the property, spoke with THE BEE:

“My husband operated Eastmoreland Grocery and Market for almost 25 years. When we decided to sell, we chose the Mendolas from multiple offers. We believed they were the best to carry on the spirit of the store.

“I was surprised and saddened when a friend forwarded me the e-mail that shared the Mendolas’ choice to close ‘e.moreland kitchen’. I wish them the best in their future endeavors. I hope they will choose to help make this a smooth transition so I can quickly find a new operator who will carry on the tradition of ‘The Little Store’.”

Consequently, on November 1, the little neighborhood store at 3616 S.E. Knapp Street in Eastmoreland will again be closed for the time being, the lights out, and silent.