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Moderne Day Market

MOTHER'S MARKET & KITCHEN, FOUNDERS: BRUCE & SHARON MACGURN

By Roxana Vosough

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

A humble, cool, and charismatic character, Bruce Macgurn has a great outlook on life and it reflects in his company. “I have no regrets,” claims Macgurn, sipping his coffee as we discuss the progression of Southern California-based natural foods store, Mother’s Market  & Kitchen from its inception in 1978.  While specialty markets in the United States were a rarity in this era, Macgurn saw opportunity. Driven by his wife Sharon’s healthy cuisine choices and vegetarian diet, the inspiration for Mother’s Market was born. Macgurn, founding member and Chief Executive Officer, has managed to turn a small vision into a lifestyle by creating a community within a market of great local organic produce where people are encouraged to make nutritious choices and, at times, embrace a bit of creativity in their diets.



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​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

“I love mothers!” is the typical response from customers. The vast array of products are curated to accommodate a variety of health-conscious tastes, which seemingly make customers embrace the market. The healthy selection of juices at their juice bar and wide variety of hearty meals at their restaurant don’t hurt either!



When asked what advice he has for burgeoning entrepreneurs, Bruce says,

“It’s like being a kid. You slowly learn to walk, jump, ride a bike, then drive a car. It’s constant learning from all different angles.”



Bruce, very comfortable with his current role at Mother’s, has a dedicated and driven team pursuing his vision forward.



When we meet at the original Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa I am standing next to an assortment of orchids. Bruce greets me with a great big smile and says, “Look at these beautiful flowers!” As we walk through the store we pass an October holiday display.  “Would you look at this great display of pumpkins?” he says Bruce’s pride and delight emanates from every corner of Mother’s.



We come across a man promoting Greek tapenades and spreads from his company Greek Mama.  As we try some delightful samples of Parmesan garlic cream cheese and artichoke olive tapenade with some warm bread Bruce raves about the product to the supplier, engaging with him in a jovial manner.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

It is this personal relationship that serves as the foundation for what Mother’s Market presents to its community: strong ties with its local suppliers, only the freshest products, and locally sourced produce.



Bruce’s wife Sharon, essentially the muse and moving force behind Mother’s Market, soon joins us. She is sweet, considerate, smart and very humble. We briefly converse about one of their recent products, Reva Vase, an expandable and reusable flower vase made out of recyclable materials, each with unique prints. When Sharon later surprises me with one as a gift Bruce quickly exclaims, “Where else can you find such a unique product”?

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

As it approaches lunchtime, Mother’s begins to become more and more crowded with people in lines at the deli, the juice bar and the restaurant.



As we wrap up the photo shoot Bruce invites our photographer, Maicol and I to lunch at Mother’s Kitchen, located in the back of the market. The waiter arrives promptly and asks what we would like to drink. As Maicol and I continue to scour through the vast selection, Bruce orders us “pure water”.   When I inquire as to the difference, Bruce, with great pleasure, describes the complex purification system that they use to give their water a pure and fresh taste. Once the water arrives it’s time to order juice. We all agree on a classic beverage, apple juice. The waiter brings three large glasses of fresh, foamy apple juice.  The drink is so delicate in sweetness and rich in body it could easily be mistaken for a dessert.  Next came lunch. I ordered a Greek salad, which was the epitome of freshness, from the olives and feta to the homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Maicol ordered a hearty breakfast of herb roasted potatoes, organic brown rice, eggs and two mini wholegrain blueberry pancakes.



However, our lunch was not just about the food. We enjoyed great conversation with Bruce on everything from politics and the local music scene, to the dynamics of the dedicated team that comprises Mother’s. “Many of the staff” Bruce explains, “have been with us for over twenty years”. This dedication and passion is clearly evident in the service throughout Mother’s and the cheery attitude of its employees.



When asked if his mother contributed to any of the inspiration or recipes, he smirks and says “[she would not have been familiar with half of these things, but she was an excellent cook.]”. It was Bruce’s mother that inspired the name of the store. When she passed nearly a decade after the store opened in 1978 “Mother” became more cosmic in its correlation to the market.

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal

Several months earlier we were invited to the company headquarters where we sat down with the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Mo George-Payette, a petite woman with big brown eyes who has been with the company for a little over twenty years.  Mo clearly articulated the concept behind the brand, emphasizing the relationships that they have built with both the community and local suppliers over the last several decades. These relationships have cultivated an environment where customers can rely on their organic, locally grown, and sustainable products. Mother’s Market also provides its community with everything from seminars and cooking classes to book signings and even a radio station focused on the importance of good nutrition.

By keeping the brand in Southern California, Mother’s has been able to foster this relationship with their buyers to assure quality selection. They have created a community where people can expand their knowledge of health and nutrition while buying locally. The history and progression of what Mother’s Market and Kitchen has accomplished and continues to build upon for future generations is truly remarkable, and has set a brilliant example for the world to follow in terms of specialty markets.



Roxana Vosough is the Founder and Publisher of

Mode-Moderne Journal 

THE MODERNE DAY SERIES

JOHN LENNON - JACQUELINE O. KENNEDY - PATRICK CARNEY-NIKI ROBERTON

INTERNATIONAL LIFE SAVING ASSOCIATION-NATALIA OLENECOFF-OSTENSON

RYAN FRANK-JOHN NUNN-BORIS BURDIKIN-ARIANE MOSHAYEDI

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