Thanks to the kindness of John Pommon for sharing these Tower memories with us! Visit John at www.antiquevideo.com
In 1905, fifteen year old Mark Pommon left his native Zakynthos in Greece for a visit to San Francisco. He told his father, a wealthy Greek rancher, that he would be back in a year. But six months later, young Mark Pommon found himself engulfed by the 1906 Earthquake. He went to work clearing rubble from the streets for $5 a day. After that job was over, Mark decided to stay in America and headed up the coast to the logging camps on the Mendocino coast. Saving his earnings and vowing to find a job where he could wear a white collar, he returned to San Francisco in 1912 and soon opened a market at Eighth and Natoma Streets. Two years later he bought the Columbia Cash Grocery at Hyde and Post Streets. Mark Pommon seen here with his wife, Violet, on his right, his son, Dan, and a friend in the early 1920s.
By 1916, Mark Pommon sold that market for a new one – Dudley’s Market on Sixth near Howard Street. For the next 23 years, Mark Pommon operated his third successful market – wearing a suit to work each day, seen here inside Dudley’s Market in 1919.
But Mark wasn’t content with a small corner grocery, he had a dream to open a one-stop shopping place – a novel idea in those days of storefront butchers, green grocers and fish mongers. He looked at what was then a no-man’s-land on the slopes of Twin Peaks and just bet the city would grow in that direction. Despite it’s debut, seen here in 1942, in the midst of World War II, when ration stamps governed shopping lists, Mark’s dream became an enduring landmark towering over the City of San Francisco and known throughout the Bay Area.
This Tower Market advertisement for July 2, 1942 offered defense stamps for sale, ample room for hundreds of cars, two deliveries a day, and a dozen oranges for 10 cents.
Opening a market during World War II had the extra challenge of the government’s food rationing program. Mark Pommon not only felt he had to apologize to each customer for the lack of certain items, but had to fill in forms with hundreds of their ration stamps to present to wholesalers in order to replenish the stock.
Admiring Swift’s Dog Meal inside Tower Market are left to right: Al Masar, Bob Neill, Jack Robertson, “Doc” Davis, Mark Pommon, and his son, Danny Pommon.
View of Tower Market anchoring the now three block long shopping area along Portola Drive next to Miraloma Park and below Mount Davidson in 1950.
Inside of Tower Market in 1952 after a $30,000 modernization project including the installation of these new refrigeration units being admired by a resident of Teresita Boulevard. Next to the picture is an article about the Twin Peaks area growing rapidly. Described as a community within itself, it has a shopping area that includes drug stores, fountains, a cocktail lounge, dress shop and more, as advertised below in 1958.
The Big Pie – A 3-foot, 8-inch pumpkin pie, which weighed 165 pounds, ushered in the holiday season at Tower Market in 1954. Dan Pommon is shown slicing the first piece for his son, Marcus, 11, and the second for 3-year-old Lindsay Durling of 28 Marietta Drive. “The next step was to cut up the monster and feed it to some 500 other children from the Miraloma Park neighborhood.” Mark and his family lived just across Portola Drive on Idora Drive. Son, Dan, took over the business when his dad passed away in 1953.
Tower Market in 1958 is now twice its original size. Buying out the small businesses next door, Dan Pommon increased the store to 10,000 square feet. West of Twin Peaks residents their entire lives, the Pommon family expanded their store three times and invested in many other improvements throughout the years in order to continue offering their customers the very best.
Inside the expanded and improved Tower Market in 1958.
Advertisment from 1958 offers Kona Coffee for $1.09 a lb., a kingsize six pack of soda pop for 49 cents, and Spam for 35 cents. The self-service deli has bisquick biscuits, 2 for 25 cents, and the liquor department features a full quart of bourbon for $3.98!