CORNER STORE The Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg will close at the end of November, 2023.

By Christian Kallen

Oakville Grocery Healdsburg, the popular gourmet deli and wine shop at the corner of Matheson and Center streets, announced it would close at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, on Nov. 26. Also closing will be its Wine Merchant shop, which opened as a stand-alone business in August 2022.

Saying that it was time to “give a new business the opportunity to thrive in that location,” Patrick Egan, senior vice president of marketing & communications at Boisset Collection, made the announcement late on Monday, Nov. 13.

Staff at the gourmet deli were still processing the news on Tuesday, as they themselves had only been informed the day before. Jean-Charles Boisset, the colorful vintner responsible for DeLoach, Raymond, Buena Vista and JCB Sparkling wines, which used to have a tasting room at Plaza and Center Streets, purchased the Oakville Groceries in 2019.

CORNER STORE The Oakville Grocery, in Healdsburg, will close at the end of November 2023.

At one time there were five Oakville Groceries in the greater Bay Area, but now only the foundational Oakville Grocery in Napa Valley remains in business. The other locations—in San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Palo Alto—closed before Boisset purchased the company.

The business transition is the latest to hit Healdsburg, as the town grows beyond its agrarian roots to become a gourmet lifestyle destination. Increased rental costs follow demand for Healdsburg properties, and many of the businesses that once characterized Healdsburg’s downtown area have transitioned into more upscale establishments in recent years.

But Egan kept his message positive. “Oakville had a long and dynamic tenure in Healdsburg and again we have been so grateful to the community, but it’s time for a new group to have the opportunity to make this special location thrive,” he said.

Though that new group is not named, Egan did elaborate on the property’s ownership.

“The building owner is Jessica Wheeler Wynne; she has been a great partner to Oakville Grocery and the community for many years,” he wrote in an email. “A new business has already committed to taking over the space, and I believe will be making their own announcement soon, but we believe it is a great steward of the site that will be a perfect fit to take on the next steps.”

Egan noted that Boisset as a business continues to grow, and pointed to their new spirits collection, which on the same day, Nov. 14, released Casa Obsidiana, a collection of ultra-premium tequilas.

Location, Location

The location of Healdsburg’s Oakville Grocery is of significant historic interest. It sits on the lot once occupied by a grand brick-and-stone City Hall, erected in 1886 to tower over the then-young Plaza. The municipal court, fire department and a public reading room, later the library, shared the building.

Demolished in 1960, the grand structure was replaced by a modest mid-century building that served as the seat of city government until the mid-1990s, when the current city offices on Grove and W. North streets were built.

But the story doesn’t end there. In 1996 filmmaker Wes Craven came to town and used the city buildings in a horror film he was shooting, which also included scenes in the Healdsburg Plaza and the town of Sonoma. Scream became one of the most popular films of the year, and spawned a series of sequels.

In the movie, the police station and other city offices are filmed where Oakville Grocery opened the next year, in 1997. Sharp-eyed viewers may also see Taqueria El Sombrero and what is now St. Dizier Home Furniture across the street.

An announcement regarding the new tenants of the Oakville Grocery and Wine Merchants is expected to be made before the end of the year. The two businesses will remain open until the end of day, Sunday, Nov. 26.

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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