BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 2021 - Woodlands Market
Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Business-of-the-Year nominee: Woodlands Market with Don Santa at the helm.
Woodlands Market has been recognized locally and nationally for being an industry innovator by focusing on natural and sustainable products, supporting local suppliers, and maintaining a steadfast commitment to its surrounding communities. Woodlands Market opened its second store in Tiburon ten years ago; since then, it has been a major contributor to a wide range of local entities in both monetary donations and a physical presence.
Since its founding in 1986, Woodlands has contributed over 2.5 million dollars in cash and in-kind donations to help engage, support and improve the communities where its customers and employees work and live. It has sponsored the The Foundation for Reed Schools events, Friday Nights on Main, Tiburon Golf Tournament, Little League teams, youth sailing, Tiburon Mile and tennis tournaments. In addition, it has donated to the Landmarks Society and is a member of the Rotary.
Store staff provided snacks and drinks at the Half Marathon and participated in both the Annual Tiburon Wine Festival and the Tiburon Classic Car Show. They got down and dirty while cleaning the garden boxes and replanting new vegetables for the upcoming season at Reed Elementary School. In 2020 alone the Tiburon store made 139 donations representing 4,138 pounds of food in partnership with Extra Foods, helping end hunger in Marin.
Don gives all credit of success to Store Manager Randy Slate. “It was my vision,” he says, “but it was Randy’s drive. I built the stage, but he put on the show.”
Don says the grocery business runs in his family. His Italian ancestors opened a small San Francisco grocery in 1911, and it stayed in the family for the next 70 years.
At age 25, Don bought a “dingy, little market” in Kentfield called The Woodlands Store. Twenty-five years later, wanting to expand, Don turned to Tiburon where he had spent some wonderful summers as a youngster.
Don says over the past ten years, an amazing bond has been built between the store and the Tiburon community. “When COVID came along, it was uncharted territory,” he says. “We did what needed to be done.”
Tiburon’s store manager, Randy Slate, summed it up best, ’Working for Woodlands Market has been a great experience. Don Santa and senior management lead by example, treating employees and their families as their own. Woodlands' first priority is service to our customers and our community. We know how important the schools and teachers are and the how the future for all of us resides in the young children. Woodlands will do all we can to support their futures.’