A reported in the Daily Republic on June 26,2013
Proprietor hopes to recapture history with Travis Holland Dairy
A historic market on East Travis Boulevard is close to a new chapter that will include a nod to its past.
The Travis Holland Dairy opened for a spell in May and the new business owner is working toward reopening in the coming days.
Elijah Green knows the history of the building that once served as a drive-up milk store and hopes to carry on the tradition of the neighborhood mini-mart.
“We’ve had the dream of doing business at that location. We would like to carry it on. We’d like to bring back those memories,” Green said. “I like to hear that echo of, ‘I remember that place.’ ”
The Holland Dairy was opened in 1959 by the Van Diemen family, who came to the Lodi area from Holland. Looking for a place to sell milk, they chose Fairfield because not many dairymen were doing business here.
After a few decades of turning raw product into bottled milk, they sold. The store carried on as the Travis Dairy mini-mart for years until the last owner, 70-year-old Ho Kim, was killed in a robbery in June 2011.
Four of the five teens accused in that case have reached plea deals, while the fifth faces a murder charge.
Green said he knew the previous owner and was saddened by his death. When the property became available, he and his wife Kumkan decided to lease the building from the previous owner and reopen it. The old heating and air units proved to be insufficient, as the brief opening was cut short after products starting melting during a heat wave in May.
“It’s a very old building,” Green said. “There’s a lot of history in that little place.”
Plans were to have the store up and running by the end of June, but Green said he is now dealing with electrical problems.
“Cash flow is a problem. It’s a struggle to get going,” Green said. “I’m losing money every day I’m closed.”
James Van Diemen was happy to hear the store was being reopened and pleased it would include the Holland name as well. He fondly recalls receiving raw milk product from Stockton, then pasteurizing and bottling it. They then sold it out of a drive-up window.
“The idea was there was a dairyman in Lodi and Stockton and didn’t have an outlet for his milk,” Van Diemen said in a telephone interview from his Pismo Beach home. “It was like a little milk factory. At one point, we even sold beer. It began to be a little drive-in grocery store.”
The family used their history in the dairy industry from Holland to turn the store into a thriving business and started delivering to the school district in town. Cornelis Van Diemen said it wasn’t always that way. He said the building was built in an area that wasn’t fully developed.
“It was a big mud hole really,” said the 85-year-old Cornelis, who now lives in Galt. “We had to fill it up before we could start building.”
He said the news of the slaying of the last owner was tough to hear, but he said he was glad someone would be carrying on the tradition.
“I wish them good luck,” Cornelis said. “It’s a good spot.”
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