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Store owner: Manteca business-friendly
Matt Lewis, who dropped out of Delta College to open a new business in Manteca, shows off a circa 1913-30 Cushman smoker, one of the vintage and antique items in his new thrift store, Alluring Treasures,on Union Road in Manteca. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Matt Lewis surveyed several places in San Joaquin County before he made the final decision to open his new business in Manteca.

That was in April of this year, but he officially opened the doors of his Alluring Treasures thrift store in July in the neighborhood commerce center by the railroad tracks at 506 North Union Road.

Why Manteca and not, say, Lodi where he currently resides?

Quite simply, “Manteca is business friendly,” said Lewis who dropped out of San Joaquin Delta College where he was studying economics to get his business idea on the road pronto.

“I looked at a lot of locations and talked to five” prospective commercial landlords, he said.

“Two laughed at me,” he recalled with a wry smile.

He eventually dropped his business anchor in Manteca because “lease rates are cheaper here.”

Not only that, he said, compared to Lodi, which was his other final location choice, “Manteca at the time I was looking only had four thrift stores” that were potential competitors versus 12 in Lodi. And those included consignments, resales, and antique stores. The other advantage that he saw in Manteca was the population base which was 4,000 more than Lodi, Lewis explained. He also considered Manteca as a “more centralized location” for business visibility than Lodi.

“I like the traffic here on Union Road - there’s a lot of traffic - and we are surrounded by apartments and houses,” he added.

Alluring Treasures is not just a thrift store, though. Lewis said they also do consignments, “and we do have antiques. We also a lot of stuff on eBay” where they help people sell their items on eBay.

They also have a wish list where those who are looking for a specific item can come in and add that to a growing list of “want ads.”

Lewis said, “If we come across it, we’ll call you first” before that item is placed on the shelf in the store.

He is amazed at some of the things people are looking for, such as gingerbread ornaments. When someone put that on their wish list, Lewis recalled commenting, “we’ll never see that. But two, three days later, we got it!”

About 90 to 95 percent of the items they sell come from self-storage auctions. The rest are from “cleared up” homes that they do for two realty offices.

So far, he said, business has been good.

“We’ve been in the green every month since we opened on July 19,” said Lewis who worked as an RV service manager while going to school at the same time.

The lure of being one’s own boss was his other reason for quitting school and working for someone else.

“I dropped out of school to do this,” he said, although he admits “being your own boss has its ups and downs. When something goes wrong, you have to fix it but no one will get mad at  you other than yourself.”

Lewis has learned to like Manteca so much that he and his girlfriend are now shopping for a home in Manteca.