Andy’s Produce: Taking Care of their Community Because the Community Takes Care of Them
By Rachel LaFranchi, Farm News Editor
Published May 1, 2015
Andy’s Produce has been operating for more than 50 years. Off Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, many longtime residents have seen them grow from a small produce and fruit stand to a large diversified open air market.
Andy’s Produce started when Andy Skikos and his wife moved to Sonoma County from Utah. Now, Andy is retired and his brother Demitri “D” Skikos is the general manager of the store. Andy’s daughters Kim and Shelly work at Andy’s Produce as well as his grandchildren Josh, Katie, Gina and Jennifer.
Andy, his children and his grandchildren have grown the produce stand corner by corner. When customers request an item, Andy’s does their best to stock that product. Now, the store is almost 10 times the size it used to be, but their roots are in produce so that’s still what they pride themselves on doing best.
Ninety percent of the produce sold at Andy’s is from California. Although they buy local when it’s available, some of their produce also comes from the Salinas and Central Valleys. In the winter when produce isn’t available from these areas, Andy’s also receives items from Southern California, Arizona and a few from Mexico.
Even though the produce isn’t always local, they estimate that their produce is still four to five days fresher than most grocery stores. Andy’s does all their own trucking and they cut out the middle man in many other situations, so they are able to get food to their customers quicker. Andy’s is proud of their heritage as a produce stand, and while they are always expanding, they don’t want to go in the direction of a traditional grocery store. They like the loose ambiance of the store which is less limiting on customer’s movements.
“Traditional grocery stores want to be more like us,” said General Manager D Skikos, “more and more grocery stores are putting produce out front to invite customers in.”
In addition to their retail sales, Andy’s has started a wholesale division. Their store prices were good, and they knew if they bought more they could not only bring down store prices but offer high quality products to local restaurants and companies. Andy’s still keeps their best produce for their customers at the market.
Having been in business for more than 50 years, Andy’s views themselves as part of the community. Skikos says Andy’s wants to take care of the people who take care of them. To Andy’s, both their community and their farmers are the people taking care of them. “We make our living directly from farmers, so it’s important for us to give back and take care of farmers,” said Skikos. “If we don’t have famers none of us can eat.”
One of the ways the Andy’s family gives back to their community and farmers is by supporting the Farm Bureau. They know that the Farm Bureau takes care of farmers, and for their business to survive farmers need to thrive.
“We’re everyday people just like you,” said Skikos. “Andy’s is here to take care of the community. There’s a reason we’ve been here more than 50 years.”