Jul 29, 2014

SmallBiz: Galvan's Shrugs Off Smashed Door

The popular meat and fish market was one of three San Leandro businesses recently hit by a window-smashing burglary suspect who is already behind bars.

SmallBiz: Galvan's Shrugs Off Smashed Door SmallBiz: Galvan's Shrugs Off Smashed Door SmallBiz: Galvan's Shrugs Off Smashed Door SmallBiz: Galvan's Shrugs Off Smashed Door


The day after a burglar threw a stone through the front door of her market at MacArthur Boulevard and Estudillo Street, Judy Galvan was hot under the collar.

Not so much at the suspect who also robbed two other local businesses and was not long after his last alleged smash-and-grab.

Instead, she was chastising the guy with the notepad and camera who'd shown up looking for the broken glass door -- which she'd already replaced so her customers would never have to see the mess.

Were you here to ask about our great Christmas, she asked the visitor? Do you want to know about the fresh wild salmon that we have, and plenty of it?

The gist of Judy's complaint was that the media always looked on the dark side. San Leandro's a good community, she said. People here look out for each other more than most places. She pointed to her husband, Joe Galvan, seated behind the meat counter wearing his Vietnam Veteran's cap.

You want a story, she said. There's a story.

Turns out Joe grew up in San Leandro and studied to be a concert pianist. A tour of combat duty changed that.

Joe was in the First Infantry Division from 1968 to 1971.

He was a machine gunner on a helicopter. One day the bird went down. Two of his buddies died, and Joe carries that grief to this day. He lost a finger. It was eventually replaced with a prosthetic but the sensitivity needed for concert play was gone.

Life went on. Joe and Judy started Galvan's in Oakland and moved to San Leandro 20 years ago

Like other local business that have , the emphasis is on unique products and great service.

In addition to top-cuts and specially-prepared meats, Joe says they're selling more fresh fish which is hard to find elsewhere.

In addition to neighborhood customers, Judy says Galvan's has clients who work west of I-880 and drive east to the suburbs. Many of them stop at the shop before they hop on Interstate 580 to finish their commutes.

She smiled as she recalled one customer who comes in with a little cooler to buy fish that they put on crushed ice for the ride home.

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