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Building a Legacy: Pinegrove Market and Deli

Pinegrove Market and Deli is a staple in the Avondale neighborhood. The family owned business has served the Jacksonville community since 1968.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Building a Legacy embodies what it means to build as a family from one generation to the next, aiming to make things better for our children. 

In the Avondale neighborhood there's a popular market and deli started by Bader Bajalia in 1968. He immigrated to the United States from Palestine at 13 years old. Bajalia is a Lee High School Graduate who worked hard for his family and they, in turn, are now working hard for him.

Credit: Nader Bajalia

Looking at old photos, Nader Bajalia, son of Bader let out a chuckle and said, "I was eating a lot at that time. I was 13 and overweight but we were eating good. I was running the register, which, you can see the register in the background there."

Credit: Nader Bajalia

His roles have changed over the years. Pinegrove has been around since 1968.

"When my father bought this store, there were over 100 customers that were on credit and that's the way people did business in this neighborhood," Nader Bajalia explained.

Now nestled in Avondale, Pinegrove Market and Deli was once a grocery store in Downtown Jacksonville.

"Downtown Jacksonville in those days was the hob knob of the whole city," Bajalia said. "That's where people went."

Pinegrove would later morph into a butcher shop.

"You'd walk in and see a hanging half of cow or a whole cow," Bajalia said.

By the early 2000s, Bajalia realized there needed to be a shift in the market's formula that was perfected by his father.

"Grocery sales were lagging," Bajalia said. "We were not getting the foot traffic like we used to."

Bajalia's skills in the kitchen opened the door at Pinegrove to new possibilities.

"I said 'dad, we're taking a chance'," Bajalia said. "We're gonna pivot. We're gonna make this work."

Pinerove would morph again, this time into a deli. 

The neighborhood market is now known for its meats and sandwiches that are named after streets, neighborhoods and people.

"There's one named after me called 'The Nader'," Bajalia said. "That came about as a customer came in and said I don't know what to eat today make me something. After the first bite he said 'damn Nader.' For a while I had it up there but I took off the word damn. I had a lot of church going people come in here. I don't know maybe they don't want to hear that."

There's a family vibe at Pinegrove that customers line up to enjoy. Bajalia says support from the community keeps them going along with approval for the man who gives his all to family.   

"My father came here and he said son I can't believe that you got this deal done,” Bajalia said. “He said I'm so proud of you. It made me feel proud that my father respected what I had done."

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