Johnny Pomodoro’s is under new management with four new owners.
Since Hiller’s Market in West Bloomfield closed in 2015, Johnny Pomodoro’s Fresh Market in Farmington Hills has been a “go-to” place for shoppers seeking kosher and other traditional Jewish foods as well as high quality produce.
From brisket and shank bones for Passover to pomegranates and apples for the High Holidays, Johnny Pomodoro’s has attracted many Jewish shoppers from the western suburbs. The store has been owned by Dan Sonenberg, a member of the Jewish community, since he purchased it in 2008 from Nino Salvaggio’s, which operated it as Strawberry Hill.
Now Johnny Pomodoro’s has four new owners — siblings Lisa Serra Barker and Anthony Serra, who are owners of Serra Produce, a Detroit produce wholesaler, and Johnny and Matthew Shouneyia, who own Value Center Markets. Serra Produce has been a supplier to Johnny Pomodoro’s for years, says Lisa Barker, who adds that she had always wanted to own a store.
According to Joe Montgomery, Pomodoro’s long-time store manager, Sonenberg has been on medical leave since last year. Barker says that he approached her and her brother about buying the store and the sale was finalized on July 29.
“We will do a complete remodel but won’t close the store. We won’t change the products at all but will add more gourmet items,” said Barker, partner-operator. She assures customers that kosher and other traditional Jewish foods will still be featured but “we will go above and beyond. Our whole game is going up.”
A first step was having a commercial cleaning service, Pure Clean, whose employees wear haz-mat suits, come in and “bomb the place. We will have all new equipment and tables. Produce and floral will be the first areas to be remodeled,” Barker said.
“The presentation will be a little nicer, more like Nino’s (Salvaggio’s) or Cantoro’s (Cantoro Italian Market located in Plymouth). Produce and meats are our niche. We will keep the name but change the logo. We are working around the clock and will post pictures of what the store will look like,” she explained.
The store’s cash registers and wine department will be moved and a second entryway may be created.
Business has been good, according to Barker, with increases in curbside pickup and online ordering due to COVID-19. While she declined to provide an annual sales figure, Dun and Bradstreet reports that the store most recently had $11.3 million in annual revenues. Pomodoro’s has 70 employees.
According to Barker, who will work onsite, all previous Pomodoro’s employees have been retained as part of the sales agreement. In addition, the store will continue its popular 10 percent seniors’ discount on Tuesdays.