There's a long tradition of breaking loyal shoppers' hearts here in Malibu. There's logic behind it, of course, and symbiosis. The stock market goes up and real estate spikes. People who still remember the last land bust start to sell. Investors, the betting kind, sure prices can only head up up up, start to buy. And then they change things. Everything.
A teensy ten-year grocery history of Malibu: Hughes was replaced by Ralph's on the east side of town. In the middle of town, Westward Ho turned into the recently-shuttered Cooke's. Further west, Trancas market got replaced by Hows, which was created by the guys who used to own Hughes. (And, just to make things a bit more confusing, they had a stake in Cooke's.)
Enough of that. Here's the point. Hows is the last indie-ish (it's a chain of three) market in town. On any given day you can see Cooke's loyalists cruising the aisles, parsing the landscape, looking for familiar labels, familiar faces. It's kind of small, kind of crowded, definitely out of the way, but it's got a bit of soul. Lord knows we can use it. (Hey - cute '49 Plymouth!)