Crawford’s Market opened in 1937 in El Monte at Five Points on the corner of Valley and Garvey. They called it “The Biggest Little Country Store!” Everyone in the San Gabriel valley came to Crawford’s for their fresh produce, dairy and meat. The store was owned by Leemoria Barbara and Wayland Howard Crawford. The Crawford’s started out in Los Angeles with a store and a vegetable stand in the City of Bell. The couple found out soon that the inland valley was better suited for a big market so they opened a chain of stores from Alhambra, Montebello, El Monte and Rosemead. The El Monte Store had a Van de Kamp’s bakery with the women wearing those weird hats.
The stores would have a snack bar, a barber shop, jewelry store, shoe repair and even an ice cream stand under one roof. The stores would hold events such as pancake breakfasst, Easter Bonnet parades, Halloween Costume contests with prizes going to the best costume. Crawford’s also was deeply into returning to the community and especially to the Police departments by raising money for fallen policemen. When the local circus would come to town they were usually held at Crawford’s. At Christmas time they would hire a Santa Claus who would arrive by helicopter!
Most El Monte residents have fond memories of shopping at Crawford’s and events that happened here. Unfortunately all things do come to end and so in 1992 Crawford’s became landlords rather than owners.
Enjoy! Gary Cliser