There is a new pop up shop in the Crossroads Shopping Center in Riverbank that many people are familiar with and is in fact a family Christmas tradition, Hickory Farms. The store that once had a presence at the Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto during the holiday season has now made its way to the local shopping center.
The seasonal operations have expanded over the past few years and finding new locations to set up shop other than the mall has given the franchise an independence to stay open as they are deemed essential during the pandemic. Hickory Farms Manager Brooke Cardoza shared that there are five stores in the area: Turlock, Bakersfield, Fresno, Livermore and Riverbank.
“I love it (Hickory Farms),” expressed Cardoza. “I am a people person to be honest so anything with people, I am happy. I think it is most popular around Christmas because it is tradition.”
The pandemic has caused several challenges and although the operations have expanded they have had to adjust procedures like limiting capacity, constant sanitizing, wearing masks and curbside pickup.
“We offer all kinds of yummy favorites,” said Cardoza. “We have our famous sausage and cheese boxes, our famous cheeseballs, and we offer a lot of classic childhood favorites that a lot of us remember.”
For those that enjoy a savory charcuterie board Hickory Farms may be just the place. The store offers a variety of sausages, cheeses, crackers, Petits Fours, cashew and peanut brittle, popcorn tins, teas, coffee, cheeseballs, spreads, and much more.
She remarked, “Our classic beef sausage and our cheese balls are customer favorites. We are open so come get your favorites that you always had. You can get individual items or gift boxes. My favorite is the cheeseballs and the caramel popcorn.”
They have boxes ready to go or people can select individual items to create a custom snack board. Cardoza expressed that the assortment of options are good for gifts, family gatherings, or even football games and the items have a long shelf life.
“We have a Hot Pepper Bacon Jam,” noted Cardoza with a smile. “It is smoky but also has a sweet flavor. It would be good on a meat. It is not too hot or over powering. It has a really savory taste. They can get mustards too. We can give suggestions. We can tell you if you like this what it can go best with. So you are not just randomly buying things.”
They opened the store on Nov. 20 and have seen a steady flow of customers which has been a pleasant revelation for a store at a new location during a pandemic. The store will remain open until Jan. 2.
“The people are my favorite part and to see them smile,” stated Cardoza. “They talk about all their childhood memories. You don’t see too many smiles these days. We do get to enjoy the smiles and get to hear the stories of how they had this item and that item and being by the Christmas tree waiting. So I am glad that we can still serve them.”
Customers have made their way to the store in Crossroads from Manteca, Ripon, Oakdale, Escalon, Sonora and beyond. Hickory Farms was founded in 1951 after Richard Ransom sold hand-crafted cheese at local fairs.
“They are really happy we are here and not in the mall,” added Cardoza. “It (Hickory Farms) is good for anyone and everyone. If you are at home with your family or gifts for Christmas or maybe you are going to an Aunt or Uncle’s or a friend’s house and you can bring it over as a house warming gift.”
They are open seven days a week Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They offer sales and discounts throughout the season.
“Come by and check us out and maybe we have something that you were looking for that you didn’t know we had,” declared Cardoza.