After 29 years of bringing the highest quality natural, mostly organic food to Taos, Cid’s Food Market continues to grow and expand according to the needs of the community.
This attention to the community’s needs is what continues to place Cid’s in a league of its own.
By the time Cid and Betty Backer started the Food Market in 1986, both had lived here since 1973 and 78, respectively. Cid, who proves you can’t take NYC outta the boy no matter how long he lives in the West – came out from New York to go to college. Betty, having grown up West of Amarillo on a Cattle Ranch/Wheat farm in Vega, went to UT but decided college wasn’t her thing.
She arrived in Santa Fe and promptly bought a vegetarian hippie restaurant. Cid was already well ensconced in Taos by then and had started a whole-grain bakery with a few other like-minded souls. The Bakery, Working Man’s Bread, eventually morphed into the Mainstreet Bakery (the space now occupied by El Gamal).
Cid began delivering bread to Betty’s restaurant and the rest is history. Betty sold her restaurant, and went to San Diego to study the Bates Method of Vision Training to become a Vision Trainer. She came back to Taos and after their son Lee was born, Cid sold his share of the Bakery and they spent a good part of the Winter in Mexico.
When they came back to Taos, Cid worked at the Amigos Food Co-Op. He applied for the Manager Position but when the Board decided to hire someone else, (even though he already unofficially managed it), Betty and Cid decided to open their own store instead on the North Side of Taos. They opened Cid’s in 1986.
Amigos provided the community with access to organic produce and other food staples, year round. The Co-Op was funky; I’d shopped in others exactly like it from San Diego to NYC for years, but when Cid and Betty opened their new store in 1986, they upped the ante.
Housed in the space the Northside Guadalajara Grill now occupies, Cid’s was still a modest affair, a far cry from the world-class emporium it has become.
Cid’s was (and remains) a family owned and run business. Their sons, Lee and Kellen, grew up working in the grocery store throughout their school years. Kellen, an Academic, now lives on the East Coast with his wife and daughter but the entire family take vacations together and visit each other frequently. They are all very close.
Their son Lee, is now the General Manager of Cid’s and his parents couldn’t be happier or more proud.
“We’re very fortunate to have Lee come and run it,” says his mother.
Cid concurs. “He brought in point of sale, upgraded everything, took it to another level.”
“The olive bar, prepared food, the patio, that’s all Lee.”
“We’re extremely lucky to have him.” Cid smiles.”I attribute a lot to Lee, he’s building on the foundation.”
Sitting in the late Autumn sun outside on Cid and Betty’s patio at their lovely home in town, where in one of Taos’ oldest neighborhoods, the tall pines and shade trees allow one to feel as if one is really in the country, I asked them if they had ever imagined how successful their grocery store would be.
“This is way beyond our wildest expectations,” Betty responded.
“We had 3 employees when we started,” said Cid, “now we have 70!”
“We responded to the community’s needs,” Betty explained. “We brought in meat and gourmet and local items because of the demand.”
“Taos was growing,” she continued, “and the people moving here were more sophisticated and we simply responded.”
“I think the store really grew organically, with the community.”
This weekend Cid’s will host its annual Anniversary Bash.
“It’s a time for us to give back to our customers and the community,” said Cid.
“We couldn’t have done this without them.” Betty smiled.
The Backers give back generously to our community in many other ways, including their Bring Your Own Bag Program which has benefited the Non-Profits in our community with over $20,000 this year alone.
Their Anniversary is always a huge draw; raffles, prizes, surprises, along with vendors offering samples and demonstrations of their product, turns the store into a big party!
“It’s a lot of fun too,” Cid chimed in, “we look forward to it.”
For more info on Cid’s and the Anniversary bash, please visit their site linked below this post.
All shots of Cid and Betty taken at the store on my iphone, except for the bottom pic, snapped by Betty – their first selfie!