In 1996, partners Matt Huckabay and Tony Granados started their first retail business in the stable building at John Pearson’s Soda Works at 582 Main Street. The “fine goods for fine living” store sold kitchen ware, home accents and gourmet foods. After a year, they expanded into the back of the building where Bella Capelli is now located and in the third year, Tony Matthews was able to relocate to a new location at 477 Main Street.
July 31 was the final day of Tony Matthews Fine Goods Store after 17 years. It’s not closing because the economy has done it in.”The economy has been good for us lately. It’s time to close and try new ventures,” said Granados, 49. “Seventeen years has been a long haul but this is a positive event. We were happy to open our business and we’re happy to be closing it.”
The business was born from a conversation with David and Gary from Cafe Luna.”David and Gary were instrumental in getting Tony Matthews off the ground,” wrote Granados in the final Tony Matthews newsletter. “We couldn’t thank them enough for their guidance.”
Both partners plan to continue their involvement with the community. Granados will continue to be an active member of the Placerville Downtown Association and Huckabay is the executive director of the Center for Violence-Free Relationships.
“I plan to work on the house and partake of what the county has to offer,” said Granados who is looking forward to attending the Oktoberfest, the Art and Wine Festival and other downtown events as a participant instead of as a sponsoring merchant.
The closing sale of goods was kept local and low-key. “We wanted our regular customers to be able to benefit from the sale,” said Grandos. Any small wares still left in the store at closing on July 31 were donated to Snowline Hospice and the Upper Room. The building will be leased to another business.
“We can pick and choose who comes in here,” said Granados, “and we want a business that will benefit the community.”
The brick building at 447 Main Street formerly housed Mother Lode Savings, Security Pacific Bank, the Mountain Democrat and a furniture store before being purchased by Huckabay and Granados. The distinctive exposed beams in the ceiling were hidden behind huge bank lights. “We didn’t even know they were there until we took the lights down,” said Granados.
At one time, the fine goods store filled the entire building and hosted cooking demonstrations and classes with chefs like Biba Caggiano from Bibas, Taro Arai from Mikuni, Randall Selland from The Kitchen and Mai Pham from Lemon Grass.
“John Sanders from the Oldtown Grille kicked off the cooking demonstrations,” said Granados, “and the Placerville Downtown Association gave us a goodbye party at the Oldtown Grille last week. A goodbye party from your fellow merchants, that’s really something.”
Wine tasting events like the Riedel Glass tasting showcased local wineries such as Boeger, Cedarville, Lava Cap , Madrona and Sierra Vista and Tony Matthews was a generous sponsor and promoter of community events.
Half the building now houses Kelsey’s Needlekraft. When Granados decided to lease half of the building out, the partners waited for the right business to come in. “We waited to lease to Kelsey’s because we didn’t want an empty hole on Main Street,” said Granados.
The gorgeous Christmas tree display during the holidays; the succession of Golden Retrievers that graced the premises from CJ to Chase and Annie and Shadow and Katie; the Earth & Vine products; WUSTHOF cutlery and Reidel glassware all have their own followings and will be missed on Main Street.
There is one thing Granados said he will miss. “There was a couple who came here as newlyweds, then with their babies and now with their children. Every year they would have their Christmas photo taken next to our Christmas trees. I’m going to miss that. Our $15,000 investment turned out pretty good and Placerville has been a good community for us.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or email@example.com. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.