Last night, a stack of petitions materialized on my desk. They bear headlines like "Save Corti Bros." and "It's Not Christmas Without Corti Brothers." There are 91 pages of them, each bearing anywhere from as few as two signatures to as many as 23. The stack is a prelude to a Sept. 3 rally to marshal community support on behalf of Corti Brothers, the 61-year-old grocery company whose future is up in the air because it is being booted from its headquarters to make way for another market.
The effort is being coordinated by principals of the Sacramento public-affairs consulting firm California Strategies LLC. "This is like the Alhambra Theater and other institutions that have passed in Sacramento. We hate to see that happen here," says Devon Ford of California Strategies, referring to the razing of the city's venerable Alhambra Theater to make way for another grocery store.
California Strategies is heading up the preservation effort on a pro-bono basis, Ford notes. "There's so much community sentiment concerning this that it's easy to wrap a harness around it and let it go on its own power," says Ford.
Several of the Sacramento area's high-profile restaurateurs and chefs, including Biba Caggiano, Randall Selland, Wendi Mentink, Rick Mahan and Kurt Spataro, are to gather in chef jackets at 3 p.m. Sept. 3 at Corti Brothers to pledge their allegiance to the grocery store and to argue that it should be retained just as it is at least through the year-end holidays.
The group also just launched a Web site for people to sign on to the petition and to track developments in the issue.
Some of the petitions ask signers to jot down their favorite item that can be found only at Corti Brothers. They range from "salami" and "vino" to "Arrogant Bastard Ale and pickled anchovies." Separately or together?