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From the Vault: Nielsen's Market has history in Santa Ynez Valley

From the Collection: 'From the Vault' series allows you to take a look back at our historic archives series
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An era is about to end in the Santa Ynez Valley with the imminent sale of Nielsen's Market, the longtime store on Alamo Pintado Road just off Highway 246 in Solvang.

Rodney Nielsen, the multigenerational market's president and operator, confirmed recently the business is being sold and is waiting on a July 1 close of escrow.

When that day comes, it will mark the end of more than a century of ownership by the Nielsen family.

"We'd been entertaining selling it for a few years, and when Valley Fresh approached us, it just felt like the right time for the business and my family," Nielsen explained.

050319 Nielsens Market in escrow 7

April 12 1972

This ad from the April 12, 1972 edition of the Santa Ynez Valley News shows all of the great deals that were offered during a sale celebrating the 'Grand Opening' of the Solvang location. 

An 18" Zenith color television was only $379? What a deal! But what if you spent that $400 on the nickel-priced 'old fashioned' hot dogs? Or just invested the $400.

It is interesting that the price of a T.V. is about the same, while the quality has increased dramatically while the price of hot dogs has gone through the roof and quality on hot dogs has not increased ... as much.

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The Santa Ynez Valley, and especially Solvang has become a hot spot for reality shows to escape to when Southern California becomes to oppressively dramatic. The Vanderpump Rules, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and more have made the trip to the Danish Village, and Nielsens' was no different.

In 2016 Nielsen's Market was featured on the "Great Food Truck Race" in 2016 as teams made their way through the Santa Ynez Valley. 

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The times, they are a changing.  In 1997 Nielsen's Market in Buellton announced that they would be undergoing a significant change in an attempt to compete with a newly arrived Albertson's. 

The Buellton location was closed after 28 years of operation and changed to a 'Viking Values' store, a locally owned and operated "Costco-style" warehouse retailer.

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In this photo from the May 2, 1958, edition of the Santa Ynez Valley News, Axel Nielsen, contractor Leo Hanly and Jen Rasmussen look over the plans to add a 'Danish provincial' appearance to the market at the corner of Copenhagen Drive and Alisal Road

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Several new additions to the Nielsen's Market shopping center at the corner of Highway 150 and Alamo Pintado Road were welcomed into the fold with a large grand opening ceremony.

Refreshments were made available, low prices at Nielsen's and special giveaways welcomed Roeser's Paramacy and Schroeder's Department Store to the Nielsen's Shopping Center.  

Several other stores would make their way to the shopping center as the area east of Solvang continued to grow and develop.  Highway 150 was part of the main highway that connected Los Angeles and Santa Barbara before the construction of Highway 101, It ran much of the same route as Highway 192 and Highway 154 before making its way through the Valley. 

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All the best for Easter 1927 was available at Nielsen & Petersen - Hats, Dresses and Shoes. Here is a clearer look at the text for the shoe add if you are having a tough time reading it.

"If you want your feet to appear well shod for Easter, and what woman does not, we urge you to see the special Easter showing of late models. Quality and price are here in satisfying pro-portions." 

Work the phrase 'well shod' into your next complement of someone's outfit for special bonus points and recognition. Not from us, but the recipient - but tell us about their reaction. 

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From the February 20, 1959 edition of the Santa Ynez Valley News

"Grand Opening - A variety of events will highlight the grand opening today, tomorrow and Sunday of Nielsen's Market, the Santa Ynez valley's first supermarket, located a mile east of Solvang along Highway 150. The first 2,000 women to enter the store will be given orchids, there will be candy and balloons for the children refreshments, prizes and other attractions. A special selection in today's Valley News is devoted to the supermarket's grand opening."

Here is a look at the special section that was mentioned above, the photos are a bit washed out but there is a bunch of great information on the store and the 'Profile Sketches of Personnel' is an great read through.

Nielsen's Grand Opening 1959

Here is a great article from the January 27, 1966 edition of the Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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This is really just the tip of the iceberg on items from Nielsen's Market in our digital archives. Ads, articles and photos going back to the beginning of our paper are all available to be viewed online. 

Read more about the sale to Fresh Market by reading the story from Lifestyles Editor Lisa André, on SYVNews.com right here

Subscribe to the Santa Ynez Valley News, download our mobile app and visit our archives to get access to our recently digitized archives or email me if you want to see what we can dig up next!

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