Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 61 of 159

PROFILE To show his thanks over the years, Omran has committed himself and his market to the neighborhood, learning his custom- ers' needs, seeking out quality goods with an emphasis on seasonal and local products and playing an active role to improve not only his store but the community as a whole. A Simple Goal Departing from their careers as account executives at Merrill Lynch to start their own business, Omran and his older brother George came across a rundown grocery store in the well-to-do Nob Hill neighborhood on the corner of Leavenworth and Clay. The store held appeal to Omran, who had some food retail experience from helping in his parents' small grocery shop, where he picked up his customer skills, and working at various markets as a college student. "Our initial target was just: Be a good food store," Omran recalls. While Nob Hill residents generally had the means to sup- port a specialty grocery store, the brothers quickly learned that a solely high-end market wouldn't fly. They settled on an array of products that could meet any customer's needs. "You can come here and get your everyday items, and if you feel like you want to splurge, there's stuff you can do that with too," Omran says. A few years passed, and George was ready to move on from the business, so Omran bought him out. In 1999, after taking on full ownership, he invested in an extensive store remodel, which included all new refrigeration and flooring without expanding the space. The 2,700-square-foot store stands out on the inclined street, thanks to a giant mural—designed by members of the Clarion Alley Mural Project, a San Francisco–based artists' collective—that has spanned the exterior east-facing wall of the building since 2003. Community Drives Direction The neighborhood is near famed tourist sites Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, but removed enough from the bustle of the city's main attractions to feel like a sleepy suburb. A wide sidewalk allows room for a pair of simple metal café tables and chairs in front of the mar- ket's colorful mural. Sitting outside one fall afternoon, Omran greets nearly every passerby with a smile or a brief chat, leaving little doubt that Le Beau is more than just business. Inside, products lining the shelves are equally indicative of the store's relationship with its patrons. Omran calls much of the Crunchy crackers made with olive oil and natural ingredients. Classic Whole Wheat Sesame Mediterranean Sunfl ower Seeds Olives 800-828-7983 sales@chicagoimporting.com / www.chicagoimporting.com Cheese Onion Curry Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 1348 60 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com NEW!

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