Those who grew up on the East Coast know the art and charm of the neighborhood deli. Much more than a food stop, the deli operates like a community center, a multigenerational gathering place where the owners know their customers personally, even extended family members. Ernie Zoumot has brought the charm of the East Coast deli to the Conejo Valley in Dos Vientos with the Village Trader Market and Deli.
The Village Trader Market is Ernie’s “labor of love.” After working in the corporate world for more than 25 years, Ernie decided to pursue his passion for hospitality. He wanted to create an environment where “the people are really happy to see you or getting your service and product and actually enjoying it,” and that’s exactly what he did.
Since 2012, Village Trader Market has been a staple in The Village at Dos Vientos. In addition to serving deli classics with the best Boar’s Head cold cuts and cheeses, they also serve one-of-a-kind products. From a wide collection of antique glass soda bottles to international coffee brands and boutique wines, they have treats that cannot be found anywhere else. However, Village Trader’s biggest hidden gem is their beer cave refrigerator. Inside their 20-foot by 10-foot walk-in refrigerator in the back of the store lives a treasure trove of international beer labels and microbrews from across the nation. From German Oktoberfest classics like Paulaner to Michigan microbrew labels like Oberon and Bells, Village Trader’s beer collection is a delight for beer connoisseurs.
In addition to their unique and quality products, what sets Village Trader apart is their love for their community. When entering the market, either Ernie or long-time worker Tristan will be found talking with their customers, many of whom have become friends over the years. Located in the geographic center of several schools and churches, the deli has become a haven for local kids. Seeing his new deli becoming a local hangout spot, Ernie built an arcade in the back so the kids could enjoy food and have fun while waiting to be picked up from school. As COVID restrictions canceled graduation ceremonies across the Conejo Valley, Ernie joined the local effort to put on a drive-by celebration for local seniors, giving away free burritos to each graduate. Ernie loves his community, and he describes his deli as a “partnership” to make his community the best it can be.
Ernie’s mission is to build relationships with his customers, and the warmth behind this mission can be felt upon walking through the door. After greeting them, he treats his customers as new members of the mini-community he has built through the deli. Bringing the concept of an East Coast deli with a West Coast twist, Ernie’s Village Trader Market and Deli is preserving the classic art of using food as a community builder. Plus, customers have the happy opportunity of trying their deli classics and locally famous tacos. Be sure to ask Tristan for his #17 sandwich special.