Farm Beat: Save Mart will join Stanislaus County Agricultural Hall of Fame

Save Mart Supermarkets will join the Stanislaus County Agricultural Hall of Fame, in recognition of its success in marketing food and other achievements.

The grocer, which has grown to 221 stores since its 1952 founding in Modesto, will be honored in November at the 17th annual Hall of Fame dinner in Turlock.

The event raises money for Modesto’s National Ag Science Center, which has a mobile classroom for junior high schools, a training program for teachers, and other activities.

Save Mart will join a hall roster that includes farmers, processors, equipment makers, public officials and other people who have helped make Stanislaus one of the nation’s most productive agricultural counties.

“This recognition is well-deserved, given the pivotal role Save Mart has had in getting Stanislaus farm products to our grocery shelves,” Tom Norquist, chairman of the center’s board of directors, said in a news release.

Bob Piccinini, chairman and majority shareholder, will accept the honor on behalf of Save Mart. He started as a box boy more than 50 years ago and took sole ownership in 1985.

Save Mart was founded by his father, Mike Piccinini, and Nick Tocco. Today, it has stores in Northern California and Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods and FoodMaxx banners.

The Ag Science Center noted that Save Mart in the 1950s was one of the first grocers to sell prepackaged meats, yard and garden supplies, plants, fresh-cut flowers and gift items. In 1984, it formed a partnership to produce Sunnyside Farms dairy products. The company acquired several other chains over the years, including 128 Albertson’s stores in 2007.

“Bob Piccinini and the entire company share our passion for agriculture,” Norquist said, “and their commitment to Stanislaus County goes far beyond the farm fields as Save Mart has always been a leading supporter of communities throughout Northern and Central California.”

The dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Assyrian-American Civic Club, 2618 N. Golden State Blvd., Turlock. Tickets are $125 per person or $1,250 per table. They can be ordered at