Many of our friends and customers know the story of how Driver’s came about. While managing the Real Food Company at the same location for years, Adam began putting together his own business plan for a market. He met local businessman Paul Geffner on the Sausalito basketball court, and they started kicking around the idea of opening the store together. “Paul really made the whole thing possible. He gave me the tools and knowledge necessary to turn a dream into a reality,” says Adam. “Actually, I think he saw how hard I worked on the basketball court and figured I’d bring the same intensity to this business.” Adam says as a kid he dreamed about playing basketball professionally. As it turns out, playing basketball led to another kind of dream coming true.
Like some other folks who have survived to tell about it, Adam says it’s hard work starting, building and then sustaining your own business. Adam and his brothers, Eric and Graham, spent seven months literally building the market from the ground up. Now he and Graham share the duty of managing the day to day operations of the market. “You wouldn’t believe how many moving parts there are, even in a small community market like ours. It’s constant work just to keep it going,” says Adam, who besides founding the store serves as general manager. “But luckily we don’t have to do it alone. We have an amazing team that makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.”
Connecting with farmers and local producers
Among the nicest surprises of the last two years has been “how incredibly welcoming and open the Sausalito community and the Bay Area food community have been,” Adam says. “We’ve been able to build wonderful relationships with so many customers, farmers, and local food producers. Our job is just to connect them to each other.” The diversity of sourcing is key to Driver’s commitment to knowing the people behind the products it sells, but it does add to the management load. Driver’s manages ties with 250+ suppliers, while a larger chain store might only work with a fifth that many wholesalers and distributors. “Hopefully, that’s what sets us apart from other markets. We put an insane amount of time into cultivating and maintaining relationships with our vendors.” The result, says Adam, is a market where customers can fully trust that the products on the shelf are healthy, delicious, and made with care.
Despite the heavy work load, Adam couldn’t be happier. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel immense gratitude for this opportunity. I’ve been lucky enough to build a business with my dad, my brothers, and my friends, and we continue to grow it with a team of incredibly talented and passionate people. ” Among them, as it turns out, is Adam’s now fiancé, Mia di Tommaso, whom he met after she came to work at Driver’s when the store opened. “She’s the woman of my dreams,” he says. Two dreams, one store. Not a bad start.