Growing Up with Pioneer

My most favorite memory is how the meat section would get flooded with water after it rained. The meat area used to be in the back or was it considered the side entrance? There would be tons of towels on the floor with many “Beware of water” signs.
I also remember how Millie, one of the original cashiers, would get irate if you read the national Enquirer while standing in line and not pay for it. If you put it back she would charge you for it. Everyone always commented on the beautiful diamond rings she wore. She would say it was her hard work at Pioneer that helped her buy a girl’s best friend.
I used to love the way the alley way used to look during X-mas. It wasn’t an alley. It just took this magical look of Christmas. If you didn’t have enough money to pay for the tree, the tree guy would take what you could pay and say hurry up get your tree and go. You’ll never know how much this meant to me and my family during those times that my family and I where growing up. I was a teenage mom trying to make a living and Pioneer was the place where my money was rubber, it went a long way.
I remember seeing a young Mike Leum being told by Leum Sr. how important it was to make the customer happy no matter what. Now as for those wavy floors, I miss em. In this store you could find matsoball and pictures of Christ and Jewish candles and candles with the Virgen De Guadalupe. I will miss you Pioneer.
You where a part of my growing up and becoming an adult. My son got his first job there at the age of 16. This is where he learned to use a white shirt with a tie. I know for a fact it was the work ethic he learned from his dad and the ability to use it at Pioneer that has made him a success.
—Luiza Mavrapoulos

1 reply
  1. Robert M. Weller says:

    Although I don’t have a lot of historical data, my grandfather, Issadore Liebow, started the market in the 40’s, from what I recollect. When he passed away suddenly at an early age (in approx. 1955, my grandmother, Eva, was forced to sell to the investors, again from fuzzy recollections. However, we always had fond memories of our Grandma Eva telling us about those early days of operating the market, and how much it meant to her and my grandfather.
    Robert M. Weller, Oak Park, CA

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