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Privately held company
IndustryRetail (Grocery)
FounderFrank Petrini

The Petrini's market chain was established in San Francisco and run as a family owned business until 1989, when it was sold to a large corporation, Provigo.[1] The markets were widely known for having the finest meat in the San Francisco area, and the marketing strategies employed at the stores are still an inspiration for grocers nationwide.[2] At the beginning of the 20th century grocery stores were sometimes much like department stores with different partners owning and operating their own departments. The founder started out operating the meat section of Lick Market on 7th and Clement in 1935 under such a scheme.[3] He opened three other markets within a few years of that time.[3] The largest Petrini's grocery store was opened in 1956 on what is still known today as Petrini Plaza, near Fulton and Masonic in San Francisco.[4] At the time of opening of that store, there were already four other large grocery stores in San Francisco.[4] That original store was torn down and replaced by an apartment complex by the same name.[5]

Petrini's markets were known as being the very best markets in the Northern California region for gourmet meats and food.[6] The butchers were well trained and very well taken care of by the business.[6] The founder of the market, Frank Petrini, considered each of the market's employees as family, and encouraged the employees to treat each other as such.[6] He greeted customers he knew personally, which were most regular customers, with a hug and kiss.[7] Frank Petrini carefully selected the cows that were to be slaughtered for sale in his markets himself, and rejected a majority of the bovine that were used for prime meat by other markets.[7] Petrini's markets was the first large grocery store chain to specialize in quality gourmet food, and Frank Petrini thus created model that has been followed since by grocers both in the United States as well as in Japan, Australia and Europe.[7] Some of the best selections of wine, coffee beans and European food in the San Francisco area was also found at Petrini's .[7]

Frank Petrini (third from right) and the butchers of one of the first stores in the 1950s

Petrini's market was established by Frank Petrini,[1] an Italian immigrant butcher from Lammari, Lucca.[4] He began working at age 12 in Italy, and was trained to be a butcher at age 14.[7] He travelled to the United States alone in 1922, being the first in his family to come. He came directly to San Francisco with $5 in his pocket and started immediately working as a butcher from 6am to 7pm every day.[6] He originally wanted to go to college, but with the advice of a priest, who was the director of the English school he attended, he concentrated on becoming the best butcher in San Francisco.[6]

The Petrini's market advertisements were famous for containing inspiring quotes, which also appeared on the wall of his stores. These quotes earned him the nickname of "philosopher" among his friends.[2] These quotes were collected into a book which was published by R&E Publishing in September 1992 under the title of "The Proverbs of Frank Petrini: Food for Thought."


  1. ^ a b California Secretary of State. "California Corporate Record". Archived from the original on 2007-05-21. Retrieved 2006-09-19.
  2. ^ a b "Petrini's Market". San Francisco Chronicle. October 23, 1973. p. B2.
  3. ^ a b "Petrini's Market". San Francisco Chronicle. October 23, 1973. p. B2.; "Petrini's Chain (1935-96)". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
  4. ^ a b c Maslin, Marsh (October 13, 1955). "Just My Type: Frank Petrini's Dream Come True". San Francisco News.
  5. ^ MBH Architects. "Mixed-Use Portfolio: Petrini Place". Retrieved 2006-09-19.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e Petrini, Frank (September 1992). The Proverbs of Frank Petrini: Food for Thought. R&E Publishing. xvi.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Frank Petrini: A Meaty Story". San Francisco Examiner. June 21, 1974. p. 26.

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