A Woodland Hills market brings premium meats and quality service to the community for more than 60 years.
Written byErika Thomas
Jim’s Fallbrook Market owner Mike McQuaid describes his business as one that’s “had a great run.” And there’s a good reason why. Over the last 61 years, the market has provided high-quality meats and personalized service to generations of Valley dwellers.
The market first opened in 1946 as a small meat and grocery store. At the time, there were barely any houses—let alone businesses—along Fallbrook Avenue. So Jim’s was the “go-to” spot from the very beginning.
In 1951, Jim McQuaid, a butcher from Berkeley, moved south to the San Fernando Valley to escape the chilly northern California temperatures. Within a short time, he found work at what was then Haddad’s Fallbrook Market. Jim rented the meat department from owner Fred Haddad for four years, and in 1955, he purchased the entire market. Jim would run the market until his retirement in 1978. His son Mike entered the business in 1968, after serving in the Navy.
“We basically carry all of the same kinds of merchandise we did back in the old days,” Mike says. “Produce, dairy, beer and that sort of thing—although meat has always been our biggest draw. We started selling wild game meat about 15 years ago.” Today, people drive from all over the Valley to get Jim’s aged New York strip steaks and tri-tip. The homemade pulled pork and chicken burritos are also popular.
And Jim’s has always aimed for excellence. All of the market’s beef comes from Harris Ranch in central California, known for producing high-quality, organic beef. In the early days, Mike’s dad purchased beef from the local 4H chapter at Devonshire Downs in Northridge. “Other than that, not a whole lot has changed,” Mike notes. “Jim’s has always just been an easy neighborhood store to come in and get whatever you forgot to get,” he says.
In recent years, however, the business has had to work a little bit harder to stay afloat. People used to come to Jim’s to do all their shopping. Today, with so many chain grocery stores within blocks of them, it’s been tougher to attract customers.
Mike remembers the day Food King opened down the street at the corner of Victory and Fallbrook in 1960. “I’ll never forget it,” he recalls. “My dad came home and told us he lost 50% of his business that very day.” Although Food King’s run would be short-lived, closing its doors in 1964, large food retailers keep cropping up.
Mike insists his market can still deliver what the bigger stores cannot—consistently high-quality, gourmet meats and one-on-one service. “We have customers that have been shopping with us for decades. We know all of their names, their kids’ names–even their grandkids’ names. We’ve literally seen generations grow up from behind this counter.”
Having watched so many food stores come and go through the years, Mike notes matter-of-factly, “Thanks to hard work and giving the neighborhood good, honest service, we’ve survived.” Now, with his son Cory helping run the store with him, he hopes the tradition will continue.