Groceria Merante, Oakland

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This tiny grocery store at the corner of Bates and McKee streets in Oakland is the type of place where old friends will embrace and then jokingly insult each other. It's called Groceria Merante, and it's been a neighborhood fixture for decades -- this August will mark its 30th year. Sisters Julie and Filomena Merante run the place. Customers are a mixture of students from the nearby universities and older Italians. "The neighborhood has been good to us," Julie says.

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