Rennos Market Celebrates 40 Years of Friendship and Neighborliness in Shady Side
Mohan Grover and his wife Ish recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their store, Renno’s Market, in Shady Side. Making it one year as a small business owner is hard. Making it 40 years?
A big congratulations is in order to this hard-working and civic-minded business owner and his family.
Grover immigrated from India to America in 1966. He originally came to Washington, DC to attend college at Howard University (where he earned a degree in electrical engineering). Eight years after he arrived, he bought Renno’s Market in Shady Side and he’s been a fixture ever since.
“We signed it on January 10, 1974,” he said.
Back in 1966, Grover said that he moved to South County following his brother Jay, who was living in Edgewater. Jay had introduced Mohan to the area as the owner of a A&J grocery store on Route 2 across from Southdown Shores. Mohan moved to Londontowne and went to work.
In 1973, Mohan bought A&J from Jay, who was emigrating to New Zealand.
Mohan ran the store in Edgewater with a business partner. He married Ish and they bought the store in Shady Side with a residence above the store in 1974. They ran the two shops for about five years, then sold the Edgewater business.
The building where A&J was housed was recently razed and is now a vacant lot.
Grover said he bought Renno’s from Abe Kristoff, who was the owner-operator from 1956 to 1974. A number of Kristoff relatives continue to live in the area, although Abe passed away a number of years ago, Grover said.
Grover said that he has always enjoyed the Shady Side community and said that people welcomed him right away.
“The people are friendly and receptive. As a small business, it is about personality. That is very important,” he said. “People want to see you and know you.”
And know him they do. As each customer walked in on a recent Friday, Grover greeted them each by name. They made small talk about family or purchases they were making.
It is no wonder he’s been nicknamed the “unofficial mayor of Shady Side.”
Through the years, Grover has been tapped to serve in various community roles. He is an at-large representative to the Shady Side Peninsula Association. For the past 20 years, he’s been a principle player in Shady Side’s National Night Out in August — twisting arms (gently) and getting prominent politicians to show up. It isn’t unusual during these events to see Grover chatting with the governor or a state senator, and then the church members who are roasting the pig or flipping the burgers. He makes it a point to get recognition for people in the community — getting a citation from the County Executive for a special volunteer or someone who makes a difference.
He doesn’t want to talk about those things during our interview. “I don’t do it for that reason,” he said cutting off the topic.
But we’ll talk about the ones we know about. He sells the Centenary United Methodist Church Easter Eggs out of his store every spring and also sells the Capt. Avery Museum’s raffle tickets in the lead-up to their fall Oyster Festival. He’s a fixture in July 4 parades and festivities and he has been known to lure Santa Claus to Shady Side from the North Pole at Christmastime. He’s been involved in the Kiwanis (now the Shady Side Community Center). He’s served for years and regularly attends the meetings for the Police Community Relations group for Southern District. He was appointed by County Executive Janet Owens to the county’s Human Relations Board, which he continues to serve on. Mohan and Ish raised funds for the county’s 9/11 memorial at police headquarters in Millersville. He serves on Steny Hoyer’s Academy Appointments Committee.
We’re probably just beginning to note all the things he does. But, as part of our interview, Grover wouldn’t draw attention to any of his civic activities—outside of one.
“About 25 years ago, we did something really special. We drove to Shady Side, Ohio, to a community that had been destroyed by flood. We took food and clothes, furniture and supplies. A couple of us went,” he said.
He made it a point to talk about how that trip was meaningful, collecting the things for people who were really hurting.
“Everything was destroyed,” he said. “We even took lumber and building supplies.”
Over the years, Mohan and Ish raised their three children in Shady Side. The children attended. They’re grown now. Grover said that there were no plans for any of the kids to take over.
Through it all, he still has the same commitment to the store. He’s up opening the shop at 8 a.m. He closes up at 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends. During the day, he takes a few hours to run errands or take a break.
As far as taking a break from Renno’s, Grover said that he isn’t really the kind of person to embrace retirement.
“I don’t know what I’d do,” he said.
It’s hard to know what Shady Side would do without him.
Here are some congratulatory posts from the Renno’s Market Facebook page on the occasion of their 40th anniversary:
- “Congrats and happy New Year . And thank you for an amazing thanksgiving dinner you brought to my station”
- “Congratulations Grover! Continued success to you and your family!”
- “Congratulations to dear friends Mohan & Ish and their family who are truly committed to our South County community”
- “Congratulations and thanks for being a vital part of our community…giving back to those who support u and ur business!”
- “WOW! That is wonderful Mohan. It seems like only yesterday my grandfather, Abe Krissoff sold the market to you and Ish. He would be proud of you, as we all are, for all that you contribute to the neighborhood. Congratulations and well done.”
- “Congratulations! Community wouldn’t be the same without you!”
Feel free to tell us about the Grovers in our comments below.
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