So you’re 23, male, just out of college and looking for something to do with your life and the education you just received. Identical twins Matt and Nate Mora bought a produce market. At 23, Matt had just gotten his education in construction and Nate had fulfilled his major in business. Nate had worked at Sam’s Club for a few years creating an export program and Matt had been working at Lawrence Livermore Labs with heavy equipment.
With loans from their family and some creative financing from one of their best friends the boys bought Pleasant Hill Market on Pleasant Hill Road. Mentored for just a year or so by the generous and extremely capable Martinez family (most remember them as produce store owners themselves), the young men’s business has literally taken off. Along with the store, they operate a thriving wholesale arm as well as delivering produce to care homes. They also have developed a fabulous website and are putting the finishing touches on a series of interactive cooking how-to videos for the site.
Nate did mention a few times about sacrifices that they have each made to become successful and it was pretty much the same for both; girlfriends just don’t last with their punishing schedule. That should definitely not be a problem with these two guys.
Rolling out of bed around 3 a.m. to get to the Oakland produce terminal by 4 a.m. could be hard to live with but these guys thrive on it. As Nate explains the culture of the produce terminal he smiles. These are their friends now after going six days a week for six years. Standing around talking about what farmers are planting and what the new “very in and now” fruit or vegetable is and how chefs and customers are using it is the hot conversation topic on these early morning procurements.
After they load their 24 foot Peterbuilt with produce from the terminal they head out to local Brentwood and Suisun ranches to get more. Tires kept popping on the 12-foot box truck to the point where it became a safety issue, so instead of buying a tricked out speed boat or something that most guys their age would buy, they used their savings and bought the Peterbuilt. Another smile. I got the impression that they love their truck. “You could buy a few nice boats with what that thing cost” laughs Nate. Matt likes driving that truck…..a lot.
Family farms, literally their family, their aunt and uncle, augment the daily haul with stone fruits, heirloom tomatoes and peppers for the store to name a few of the crops. In Suisun, they score winter squash and amazing hued gourds from Larry at Larry’s Produce. G and S Corn provide sweet crunchy corn to the market all season. They are good friends of the boys and their family.
“A lot of the guys we grew up with are the ones were dealing with now when we get our produce. Younger generations are carrying on the family farms in Brentwood these days” Nate says. He smiles when he says that too.
Family plays a big part in the store as well. The boy’s mother, Lupe and Aunt Connie are the happy gals you are greeted by every time you enter the store. Tons of personality and ever growing knowledge about their produce is evident in these guys and they are up to date on prices, weather and how it affects local crop and prices and dang near anything you need to know about the produce in their store. After six years in the market at the corner of Gregory, Grayson and Pleasant Hill Roads, these guys are becoming ingrained in our community. They donate profusely to Pleasant Hill schools and if you go into the store you will always run into someone you know and stand talking in the aisles as more people join in. Pleasant Hill Market has become an invaluable social hub in our town.
Nate is quick to point out that him and Matt would not be where they are without the support of family and friends. Witnessing these guys succeed at their business is heartwarming in this day and age and the fact that they are really good as well as passionate about what they are doing only adds to the charm of watching young adults fulfill a dream while not only being a part of it but eating your fruits and vegetables as well. Backup plan not needed here fellas. Good job.