The story of Chaves Market begins with a young man who had a vision, a vision to transform the experience of the Portuguese immigrant in America. Through his creation of a single storefront, Manuel Chaves would succeed in helping to rewrite the narrative of Portuguese immigrants in Fall River from a story of homesickness and hardship to one that demonstrated cultural acceptance, economic success, and the preservation of the traditions of the old world.
Manuel Chaves immigrated to Fall River in 1954 from São Miguel, Açores, at the young age of 18. Like many others, he immigrated to escape the political and economic turmoil present in Portugal and the Açores during this time. Upon arriving, Manuel worked at Darwood Manufacturing where he met his wife, Maria de Conçeicão Chaves, who is also a native of São Miguel, Açores.
While working full time at the factory, Manuel worked part-time at a small convenience store on Columbia Street. In 1957, the shop-owner grew ill, allowing Manuel to rent the space where he made and sold chouriço, morçela, and torresmos. These Azorean style delicacies grew in popularity with the influx of Azorean immigrants in the late 1960s, pushing the Chaves couple to expand their business.
In 1966, Manuel bought the Old Silver Dollar Café, where Chaves Market currently stands and there have been four expansions to the store since then. Manuel also took pride in beautifying the business’ land and parking lot by giving the store a glazed brick exterior, mosaic sidewalks, and planting trees and flowers along the perimeter of the lot. This commitment to beautifying his property demonstrated the dedication Manuel also had to beautifying his community. He truly believed in the value of the community and of the Portuguese people and worked to create a business and presence that was representative of that. Manuel was one of the first to recognize the cultural potential of the Columbia street area and the entrepreneur encouraged other Portuguese immigrants in the neighborhood to follow suit, creating the cultural business district we have today.
His dedication to his people and his community left a lasting impression on his wife and sons, who since Manuel’s passing in 1986, have worked tirelessly to keep his legacy alive.
Today, the Chaves family is proud to take on the challenge of continuing to weave our old world traditions into this increasingly modern age. Through the launch of this online marketplace, we hope to make it even easier to keep traditional Portuguese foods on your family's table. We invite you to browse our website and explore our menu of in-house prepared foods, fresh fish, and imported specialty items.