BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. - Services were held here last week for Don Nakata, owner of Town & Country Markets, a six-unit independent chain founded in 1957.
de in many of us whom he has profoundly touched over the years." Don Nakata spearheaded the operation's development of its Central Market concept, according to his cousin.
He also urged employees to do jobs they wanted to do. "He was a leader, mentor, teacher and friend. He always put people first," said Tom Hall, store director. "Don was a mentor and helped a lot of people grow as people and as employees," says Ellen Nakata, his wife of 38 years.
Nakata was a descendent of Japanese-American immigrants who started in the grocery business with a meat market. Following internment during World War II, the family reopened the market and expanded it. Don took over the company upon his father's retirement in the mid-1960s.
The Washington Food Dealers Association named Nakata Grocer of the Year in 1988. Nakata is survived by his wife and two daughters, Susan Allen and Julie Bowman; three brothers, Bob, Wayne and Vern Nakata, and four grandchildren. Cousins Ron and Larry Nakata are carrying on the business.