Joe Scolari, founder of longtime Central Coast grocery store chain, dies at 86

Joe Scolari opened his first grocery store in Orcutt in 1947 at the age of 16.
Joe Scolari opened his first grocery store in Orcutt in 1947 at the age of 16.

Joe Scolari, whose namesake grocery store chain served Central Coast customers for 65 years, died Sept. 2 at his home in Pismo Beach, according to his family.

Scolari, 86, had struggled with health issues in recent months according to family representative Randy Poltl.

Photo 1- Joe Scolari (4)
Joe Scolari, 86, died at his Pismo Beach home on Sept. 3, 2017. Randy Poltl

“Joe usually had a grin on his face, was quick-witted, and had a fun sense of humor,” read a statement from the family. “Joe often described himself as a simple grocery store operator that worked hard to understand the business and serve his customers, and he felt at his best, as a grocer, when his check-stands were humming with the activity of satisfied customers. Joe would say that those moments would confirm that he and all of his employees were doing things right — happy customers, competitive prices and high volumes. He was a fun-loving grocer at heart who touched the lives of many on the Central Coast.”

The date and time of funeral arrangements will be released at a later date.

Scolari opened his first store in Orcutt in 1947 at the age of 16; by 1979, his business had grown to a chain of 12 Scolari’s grocery stores across the Central Coast. After selling those to Lucky Supermarkets, Scolari and his sons opened new stores in Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.

Those closed in 2012. The family then focused on a chain of grocery stores in Reno and Northern Nevada that are still operated by Scolari’s sons today under the name Scolari’s Food and Drug Co.

Scolari is survived by daughter Kristie Molina and sons Joey and Jerry Scolari, as well as extended family.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie