Just off U.S. Highway 10 and next door to Crown Village Clock Tower in Calimesa, you will find this treasured German delicatessen. Walking into George’s Market will put you right into the ambiance of a small German deli and market. This special market, which is getting ready to celebrate an amazing milestone of 50 years in business, has been at the same location since it first opened by George Troelenberg on April 1, 1970. The staff is warm and friendly and you will feel like this was the right choice to buy that traditional German sandwich you heard so much about.
Troelenberg learned his trade in Germany as a sausage maker and meat cutter. He left Hamburg, Germany, in 1956 at the age of 20 to live and work in Canada. After spending five years in Canada, he moved to Los Angeles and worked six years for a German company in Inglewood. He found the current location in Calimesa advertised in a newspaper and it was for rent. “It used to be a little store already,” said Troelenberg.
When the market first opened, the population consisted mostly of people from the chicken ranches. It started small and in the 50 years, became a landmark and a very successful business that is known all over the country. People still come from Lake Arrowhead, Rancho Mirage, Barstow, Apple Valley, Moreno Valley, Victorville and even passing through as far as Nashville. All wanting German food.
Troelenberg acknowledges all his customers, new and the old loyal ones, with a humble and friendly greeting as each one comes in to do business with him and his staff. Sonja Fisher, manager of George’s Market, is right there helping her father with customers at the meat or deli counter along with keeping up with the inventory and making sure the market is well-stocked and items readily available for all their customers. “He used to break all his own beef when a lot of fresh meat was being sold at the market. He doesn’t make the sausages anymore but he still orders all the sausages,” said Fisher.
Troelenberg says that his market is famous for “The European Delicatessen and Sausage. When I started, mostly people from Hungary, Yugoslavia, Germany and the European people were the ones that knew those products I sold. Most of my customers are from around this area because Calimesa was pretty small when I started.”
Some of the best selling items are the German sausages, German bread and cookies. If you have a craving for more great German food you might want to try pretzel rolls, German potato salad, picked herring, spatzel, red cabbage, apple or raspberry strudel. The market also has a nice selection of imported German beers including German beer on tap and if you would like to try some wine from Germany, that is available too.
In 2015 the Calimesa Chamber of Commerce awarded Troelenberg with the Calimesa Community Small Business Award. Troelenberg was honored for his premier family oriented German delicatessen in Calimesa with having customers visit the deli from Los Angels, Palm Springs, and the surrounding mountain area. The market was honored for “providing the community with the finest meats, German bakery items and imported beer all within a quaint German garden setting,” as stated on the plaque from the chamber.
In January of 2016 George’s Market received a certificate of recognition from the County of Riverside Board of Supervisor for its “service and dedication for a family oriented business with the finest meats, German bakery items, and imported beer all within the quaint German garden setting for over 46 years,” signed Marion Ashley, 5th District Supervisor.
An award in January of 2016, from the House of Representatives signed by Representative Paul Cook and the State of California Senate signed by Mike Morrell were also among his awards in congratulating the market for its business and unparalleled commitment to family, friends and community.
Also among the awards was one by Chad Mayes, 42nd California Legislative Assembly and last but not least the California State Board of Equalization, signed by Diane Harkey for the Calimesa Community Small Business Award.
Even through the COVID-19 crisis, George’s Market is still buzzing with deli, meat, and grocery carryout business. It has very loyal customers who are determined to help Troelenberg and his workers sustain the business through any storm in life. Fisher mentioned that the customers were still coming in and buying the sausages, shelf items and sandwich orders to go.
Unfortunately the 50 year celebration was canceled due to the crisis that is changing the nation with the COVID-19. Nonetheless, the market greatly appreciates the patronage of its customers. “We want to thank everyone for supporting us and being our customers,” said Fisher.
With not many Mom and Pop stores still open, let alone celebrating for 50 years, this is one that if you haven’t been here, you should make that trip to come by and order a combination, half sandwich and a side salad for a price that will have you glad you brought the whole family. The market is an icon in the Inland Empire and a true cultural experience.
Even though you can’t dine in at this moment, it is still worth the trip. How lucky are those of us who live in the neighborhood.
George’s Market is located at 1023 Calimesa Blvd., Calimesa, 795-5320. See the menu on their Facebook page.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday.