[caption id="attachment_66486" align="aligncenter" width="512"] The original Oakville Grocery store on Highway 29 in Napa Valley was renovated to highlight its gourmet food selection and protect it from earthquakes.[/caption]

Location: 7856 St. Helena Hwy., Oakville

Owner: OGC Investment LLC and Leslie Rudd

Design: architecture -- Avila Design; historical architecture -- Juliana Inman

Engineering: civil -- Always Engineering; structural -- Summit Engineering; mechanical, electrical and plumbing -- Acies Engineering; geotechnical -- Bauer Associates

Contractors and suppliers: general -- Island Construction; electrical -- Napa Electric; HVAC and refrigeration -- Jeremy Jack; plumbing -- Nigel Howat Plumbing Services; metal -- Ritter’s Welding & Fabrication; stainless steel -- Jeremy Jack; woodwork -- Rudd Construction; flooring -- Amber Flooring; custom windows and doors -- Rudd Construction; architectural glass -- R&S Glazing Specialties; painting -- Erik De Laat Painting; lighting -- 16500

Architectural: Wilson Lee Photography 

Cost: $1.7 million

OAKVILLE -- In an effort to highlight the past and preserve historical features of a popular landmark that first opened for business as a general store in 1881, the Oakville Grocery was completely renovated between January and May 2012 to upgrade the building’s infrastructure and to create a fresh interior look for this premier gourmet destination.

Owner Leslie Rudd invested $1.3 million to refurbish the 130-year-old building -- which is California’s oldest continuously operating grocery store -- with an eye to retaining its charm and warmth while modernizing the building to meet the needs of a new generation of Napa Valley residents and visitors.

From the start, Mr. Rudd wanted to improve the store’s efficiency and customer experience without compromising the 20th century character of the store.

The restoration of the 2,170 square foot grocery located at 7856 St. Helena Highway (route 29) included structural and utility upgrades.

“With its 130 year old history, Oakville Grocery is a pioneer and a treasure in Napa Valley,” said Mr. Rudd. “With this much-needed restoration, we are committed to continuing its legacy as an iconic destination and a center for the community, one that creates memories for anyone who visits here.” The Post Office that had occupied 340 square feet of space in the store was removed along with retail furnishings and refrigeration units. This freed-up space allowed the sales area to be expanded and provided room for new food preparation islands.

The grocery was originally built without a foundation. A new concrete structural slab and new concrete footings were poured. These new structural improvements extended under the walls without having to lift the structure. Walls were reinforced to meet seismic safety requirements.

During the demolition phase, an old stone and brick-lined well was discovered that had been covered over in past renovations. It is now displayed under glass flooring allowing shoppers to view this find as they walk through the grocery.

Original stamped metal exterior siding and corrugated roofing panels were temporarily removed to allow workers to install thermal weather-proofing, insulation and wall sheathing. These upgrades were meticulously installed within the existing wall and roof framing.

The former metal panels were then replaced on top these upgrades to return the exterior to its original appearance.

New interior finishes and additional lighting fixtures were selected to enhance the original aesthetic of the sales area and maintain its timeless design. Intricate millwork and trim were detailed to reflect the historic fabric typical of an old fashion country store.

The new look includes wainscoted walls, rustic oak floors and vintage oak refrigerator doors. An old iron rack has been repurposed as a coffee condiment bar and is located outside under the existing porch. All retail furnishings have been updated, new shelving was installed throughout the store and aisles were widened for customer convenience. New energy efficient refrigeration and food preparation equipment was installed throughout.

“The grocery upgrade is just phase one of a two-part process,” said Dusan Motolik, an Associate with Avila Design, the architectural firm that designed and oversaw the restoration and served as a project management team.

Phase two, to break ground in 2013, includes additional site upgrades to the existing parking lot, electrical service, waste water treatment and septic systems -- pending receipt of a county building permit.

 The second phase will also include upgrades to the existing Victorian house, building of a new store addition with storage areas at the back of the existing store and other upgrades as well. The new store addition will also house a manager’s office, a break room for employees, dishwashing area and accessible toilet room facilities.

“The goal is to build a center for the communitybordered by the grocery building, the Victorian house and other structures. The new picnic area will provide visitors a place where they can relax and take a leisurely break during a road trip while sampling a variety of take-out or eat-in farm-grown, artisan and private labeled foods as well as a wide variety of locally sourced Napa and Sonoma gourmet products.”

The newly restored market also has new espresso bar and an ice cream counter inside of the store that can also be accessed from outside through the new walk-up window. An extensive collection of local wines is also available for purchase by the glass or the bottle.

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