Arroyo Grande’s John Spencer celebrates 50 years in the grocery business

June 15, 2021

Kristen Handley, John Spencer and Lynn Compton at the KVEC studio


Central Coast native John Spencer, the founder of Spencer’s Fresh Markets, celebrates 50 years in the grocery business on Tuesday. In recognition of Spencer’s many contributions, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham awarded him a resolution on behalf of the California State Legislature, on the Dave Congalton Radio Show.

John Spencer on Sept. 30, 1996 at his first store opening.

While attending Righetti High in Santa Maria, in 1971, Spencer was hired as a boxboy at Williams Bros. Market. He worked his way up the ladder to checker, night manager, store manager and then district manager overseeing 19 stores.

After learning the Lakewood Road store in Santa Maria was closing, at 41-year-old Spencer opened his first Spencer’s Fresh Market.

With stores in Santa Maria and Morro Bay, Spencer’s Fresh Markets is one of the few independently-owned grocery businesses on the Central Coast. For years, Spencer has supported the community in many ways, including purchasing produce and meats from local farmers, ranchers and youth groups.


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Darrell Queen

I used to shop the one in Reno great store.


Scolari’s was in Reno.


Congratulations John!!!


Congratulations John this is well overdue. I just want to express how very much your store that was in Arroyo Grande is missed. My shopping experience has never been the same since your store was forced to close. Thank you John for serving our community faithfully all these years.


Nice job John!

An American success story, you are an anomaly these days.


Congratulations John

Hometown hero Story.


Well done, congratulations on your success.