ALBANY -- Happy Produce has reopened on Solano Avenue, with new ownership emphasizing organic food to go along with a new look on the inside.

Maria Valencia and her children, Fernando and Adrianna Contreras, reopened the corner store at 1240 Solano Ave. on Aug. 23. It had been closed for 14 months.

Fernando Contreras said his family had been looking to open a retail space. The family has been in the commercial equipment business for more than 20 years, supplying restaurants and markets.

"We were driving around, we saw the location and we thought 'This place is good,'" Contreras said.

He said the space had to be cleaned up after being dark for more than a year. The family spent about three months renovating before opening.

Healthy food is abundant. The family has set out to find organic sources for produce and milk as well as for coffee.

"We try to bring on a unique brand that we know our consumers will like," Contreras said.

So far, business has been good. Homemade tamales are available on weekends.

"We're hoping to expand to weekdays," Contreras said of the tamale availability. "We're taking orders from our customers if they have a party. If they want to do it during the week, we'll do it by request."

Plans are also in the works to add a meat counter.

"We'd like to bring in organic meat and maybe Latin products," he said. "Maybe marinated chicken and marinated carne asada."


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Everything has gone smooth despite an accident that took out a window on Sept. 10. A van driven by a man in his 90s crashed into neighboring Zarri's Delicatessen that afternoon. Nobody was hurt in the accident and Happy Produce has replaced its broken window.

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