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Produce stand reborn as modern market
New version adds taqueria, deli, more stuff
pic Oasis-mkt-1a
Malik Hauter works behind the counter Wednesday at the newly opened Oasis Market and Produce located at the corner of French Camp Road and Airport Way. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
FRENCH CAMP – Oasis Market and Produce is no mirage.

The one-time Sam’s Market is in a brand new building and over three times its former size. Now it’s a full-scaled mini market equipped with fast-food items, a taqueria and delicatessen.

Fresh produce is still available.

And coming soon: Espresso and hamburger grill.

Sal Hauter opened the 3,500-square-foot store on Jan. 6 several yards away from the familiar corner produce stand established well over a half century ago located at French Camp Road and Airport Way.

“It was sort of sad to see the old building go down,” he said on Wednesday.

 But the structure was also in disrepair and too close to the road. “The building would rattle when the big trucks drove by,” said Hauter, who is in the process of planning a grand opening.

He’s still awaiting the installation of the Oasis Market and Produce sign for the front of business.

Hauter, who lives next door with wife, Huda, and two children, Mohamed, 6, and Jasmine, 4, has owned the corner store since 2001. Oasis, incidentally, is a family-operated business, with locations also in Crows Landing, Hughson, Ceres, and Turlock.

  “I chose this place because it was the smallest (of the other Oasis Markets),” he said.

Hauter used to make his home in Manteca, traveling back and forth between Crows Landing and French Camp. But he recently made the latter his home, and was responsible for the makeover in the corner lot.

The process took seven years of planning. Included was the financing, getting the OK from the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, and construction.

“At times it was stressful,” Hauter said.

Yet he received words of encouragement from Michael Huggins, environmental program coordinator of the San Joaquin County Health Department.

In the end, Hauter was pleased to see his vision come true, with the entire corner transformed from a downtrodden structure to a new building with plenty of paved parking spaces – there’s room to add gas pumps, if needed – and further enhanced with the landscaping.

But despite the changes, Hauter still values customer service as No. 1.

His old customers are wowed by the changes while his new ones often want to come back.

“We’ve way surpassed our expectations, particularly given the tough economy,” Hauter said.

He’s even helped out by employing within the community.

“I believe that having my family here and being part of the community to be very important,” said Hauter, who is working tirelessly to get this new yet familiar business headed in the proper direction.

Oasis Market and Produce is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.