“In life you have to be happy and realistic…” – Pete Mogannam, Owner

A resident of Sonoma County since 1972, Pete Mogannam opened 4th Street Market and Deli in 1995. A family operation, his wife, three daughters, and son all spent time behind the counter. Thanks to the deli business, he’s been able to pay for their education and they’re all working professionals now. He’s also a proud grandfather 4 ½ times over—the ½ representing daughter Lisa’s pregnancy, who is due in early April.

4th street deli

Working downtown, Pete meets a cross section of customers—from lawyers and city employees to residents and shop owners and says he’s “dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly.” He’s friends with everyone and makes a point to know people on a first name basis, including where they work. Each day he makes eye contact and says good morning. If he doesn’t receive a response, he takes it personally and thinks he’s not doing his job well. He expects a positive exchange and believes everyone has a responsibility to be nice to others.

Over the past 20 years, Pete’s heard talk of reunifying courthouse square but never expected it to actually happen. Now that trees are coming down, he’s surprised and hopeful about the end result. Slowing down traffic, providing more of an identity for downtown, and placing activities in the center will create more foot traffic, which is a positive for his business. For Pete, it will be a success if the new square is a safe, comfortable place for people to come, sit down and eat their lunch.

regular customer

At 66, Pete sees no sense in dwelling on the negative. A born optimist, he worries we’re becoming a grumpy, self-pitying society, only concerned about ourselves. “In life, you have to be happy and realistic. Marriage is never perfect. Home is never perfect. Business is never perfect. But if you’re going to dwell on that, you’d be miserable. Being positive means you’ll be much happier.”

You can find Pete behind the register Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Despite bringing in his brother as partner for the purpose of slowing down, he hasn’t been able to. Why? Work doesn’t feel like a chore. With customers he considers friends, the job feels like “vacation”.

4th Street Market and Deli, 300 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa. Open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.