This Business Recognition Series is the brainchild of Jack Doherty — a man who knows whereof he speaks, having served on Lemon Grove’s inaugural city council in 1977.

When a community seeks to incorporate, a study is conducted to see if the community can generate enough revenue to pay for the services a city is expected to provide. How much revenue will come from property taxes? How much sales tax revenue can be expected from local merchants?

It is difficult for cities – especially small cities – to generate enough tax from its citizens to pay for city services. Cities need revenue from neighbors and the way cities get it is through sales tax.

Who collects sales tax?  Local businesses! That is why we say businesses are the life blood of any city. Businesses make cities possible. Businesses made incorporation possible in Lemon Grove.

Lemon Grove is celebrating its 40th year as a city. Businesses have come and gone, but many in Lemon Grove live on — often because they are run by families.

It is altogether proper that we recognize those businesses that helped make the incorporation of Lemon Grove possible and that are still in existence today.

Between September 5th and the end of June 2018, we’ll introduce you to businesses that deserve recognition for their longevity and contribution to the history of Lemon Grove. Check this page once a month to see the list grow.

Next up on February 6, 2018, the Lemon Grove Historical Society and the City of Lemon Grove salute the Lemon Grove Veterinary Hospital.

Doctor Robert Burns, DVM, examines small dog with child looking on

Dr. Robert Burns in 1955

Lemon Grove Honors:

Lemon Grove Veterinary Hospital

February 6, 2018

The Lemon Grove Veterinary Hospital, founded in 1955 by Dr. Robert Burns, has served the needs of Lemon Grove’s pet owners for over 60 years. Fido and Fluffy, the favorite pets of most Americans – and Lemon Grovers too – have been well cared for in the hands of Dr. Burns and now, Dr. Anil Bettegowda.

Dr. Anil Gowda of Bangalore, India, brings to Lemon Grove training as a vet from Bangalore and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University — the same institution where Dr. Burns earned his vet degree! History has come full circle.

Dr. Gowda’s interesting background in clinical research, close family ties, and agricultural heritage in an ancient land make him perfect for our small city, with its myriad family-run businesses of longstanding, many symbolizing immigrant success stories. He insures the tradition and standard of care of the Lemon Grove Veterinary Hospital will live on. 

Lemon Grove City Council Proclamation

Come to the Lemon Grove City Council meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 PM in the Community Center, 3140 School Lane, and witness Mayor Racquel Vasquez present a proclamation to some of our wonderful hometown businesses. The ceremony is at the head of the agenda right after the Pledge of Allegiance.

Past Honorees

Hunter's Nursery
Howard Hunter 1945

Howard Hunter in 1945


Hunter’s Nursery was founded in 1919 by Howard Hunter, and is run today by the fourth generation of the Hunter family. The nursery is the oldest, continuously operated business in Lemon Grove, and is the oldest family-run nursery in San Diego County. Originally named “Hunter’s Tree Nursery,” they are still located after ninety-eight years at 3110 Sweetwater Road, and deliver the same high-quality, attentive customer service, and huge variety of nursery products. On September 5, 2017, Mayor Rachael Vasquez recognized Hunter’s Nursery by proclaiming that date Hunter Nursery Day in the City of Lemon Grove.


Conrad's Mortuary
Conrad Mortuary - one of Lemon Grove's Historic Businesses

Conrad Mortuary, 1954



Conrad Mortuary was founded in 1954 at 7387 Broadway, and is among Lemon Grove’s oldest family businesses. Gary and Donna Conrad, and their son, Grant, were the second and third generations to run the business. On September 19, 2017 Mayor Raquel Vasquez presented the City’s proclamation to honor this remarkable company and family!



RCP Block and Brick Company
RCP Brick and Block Company - one of Lemon Grove's Historic Businesses

RCP Block and Brick of Lemon Grove


In 1947 with four employees and several “revolutionary concrete products,’ Marvin Finch and his partners opened the RCP Company.  Seventy years later a new generation of Finchs operates the RCP Block and Brick Company one of Lemon Grove’s oldest businesses. On October 3, 2017 Mayor Raquel Vasquez presented the City’s proclamation to honor the Finch Family and their contribution to the Lemon Grove community.


Dell Awards

Dell Awards



Founded in Lemon Grove in 1960 by two former WW II Navy electricians, Dell Lake and Ron East, the company grew from a small badge-making operation in Lake’s basement into the company known county-wide for its high quality commemorative and promotional products. Led today by Mike Telles who joined the business in 1976, Dell Awards is one of Lemon Grove’s oldest businesses. On November 7, 2017 Mayor Raquel Vasquez presented Dell Awards the City’s proclamation to honor this historic business and its contribution to the Lemon Grove community.



Lido's Fine Italian Fods

Elisabetta Simi – Lido’s Italian Food of Lemon Grove


Lido’s Fine Italian Foods was opened in 1955 and run by Nick and Antoinette Farella, who named the restaurant for Antoinette’s father, “Paulido” (Little Paulo) — or “Lido.” After 23 years of running Lido’s, the Farellas packed it in–but not before luring the Simi Family of Lucca, Italy  to the site in 1978. Today, 40 years later, Angelo and Vilma Simi are in their ‘eighties–and Lido’s is run by the second and third generations of Simis: Elisabetta, Marco and members of the Simi family. On December 5, 2017 Mayor Raquel Vasquez presented the City’s proclamation to honor this landmark Lemon Grove business known for its authentic old world family recipes and its contribution to the Lemon Grove community.


Marcos Jewelry & Watch Repair

Marcos and Concepcion Ortega

Marcos Jewelry was opened in 1987 on Broadway by Marcos Ortega of Chihuahua, Mexico, whose old-world skills in clock and watch repair and rebuilding, and eye for antique jewelry, made the shop an institution in Lemon Grove and environs. With his wife, Concepcion, Mr. Ortega built a reputation for caring customer service no matter how old or unusual the item needing repair. Theirs is a classic immigrant success story so typical of Lemon Grove and redolent of the family ties, cultural heritage and hard work that make this “mom and pop business” a treasured part of the local business community. With the Ortegas’ retirement coming up in January, 2018 the historical society sought to honor the business. On December 19th Mayor Raquel Vasquez presented the City’s proclamation to the couple and also welcomed their son and daughter-in-law, both 20 year veterans of the U. S. Marine Corps.