When we say family business, we mean it!
The corner of San Gabriel Blvd and Duarte Road has always housed family markets. These businesses have been run by families beginning with Mack’s Ranch House Market, Howard’s Fine Meats and Alexander’s Meat Lockers in the 1950s, to Howie’s Ranch Market and Alexander’s Choice Meats in the 1960s. This corner is the definition of small family business. Back then neighbors sent their kids in to pick up groceries and the owners got to know the local families well. We still like to think of our customers as part of our family, and we cherish that family feeling in our business.
This neighborhood store has been a part of the Milazo/Furnari family tradition since 1958. Both Michael and Denise Furnari-Milazo grew up in San Gabriel. Michael rode his bike to Howie’s Market to shop for his grandmother. When he was 14 years old, Mrs. Alexander offered Michael a job sweeping floors, and the rest is history. Over the years of working together, Michael and Duncan Howie became close friends, and then business partners, in both the store and the meat market.
Michael learned the meat cutting business from the old-time pros. He learned the beef grading system and the shop evolved into an all prime butcher shop, featuring the iconic window of prime carcass beef. As the community expanded and tastes changed, so did Alexander’s. 1980 saw the expansion of our seafood and poultry department, as well as the addition of cooked foods. By 2010, Alexander’s Catering department was in full swing and our nephew, Nicholas Furnari, chef of Le Cordon Bleu, joined the business.
In August 2015, the Milazo family purchased Howie’s Market. The family jumped into the grocery business with both feet. Our son, Philip Milazo, who lives in Northern California with his wife Shona and son Dylan, has been a consultant, advisor and decision maker for Alexander’s. He expanded that role to Howie’s Market. Kirsten Milazo-Nolan, who had been doing the bookkeeping for Alexander’s for several years, took over the daily management of Howie’s along with her husband, Michael Nolan.
We have developed strong bonds with our customers and suppliers. When the pandemic struck, our suppliers went above and beyond to supply us when the large corporations did not. We have been able to continue providing our customers with fresh food during this difficult time as well as making weekly food donations to the Foothill Unity Food Pantry.
In the true Italian tradition, decisions about improving products and structure in both Howie’s and Alexander’s are made around the dinner table, with good food, fine wines and plenty of laughter.
The goals for our family in growing Alexander’s Prime Meats and Catering and Howie’s Market are to maintain our traditional neighborhood market, provide the best of the best in products and service, and to be a good partner in the community. We are committed to providing our customers the freshest produce, and the best quality wines and spirits, prime meats, and organic and free range poultry.
We welcome you into our family store and look forward to fulfilling your family’s needs!