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Selling groceries in neighborhoods
Owner Sunny Sunny inside his store on Park Avenue. - photo by HIME ROMERO
From the outside of the M&S Market on Park Avenue just across from Southside Park, it’s not hard to spot that the building came from an era long gone by.

Situated right in the middle of a residential area, the market is perfectly placed for local residents to walk to their neighborhood store rather than have to drive somewhere else – one of the reasons that owner Sonny Sonny and his brother purchased the location almost four years ago.

“I liked the fact that it was right across the street from a park, and that it’s right in the middle of a neighborhood,” Sunny said. “We get a lot of repeat customers, but we get outside customers who come in as well, and that’s always good for business.”

Despite being located right in the middle of what was once a hotbed of gang activity in Manteca, M&S Market has withstood the test of time and the influx of dozens of other options for residents to turn to when they need to pick up a can of corn or some dog food.

And the competition is literally getting tougher by the day.

Just up the street, the former Pak’n Save location recently converted over to become the flagship of their parent company – Safeway – is a major draw for those looking for something from the expanded deli or the new upscale offerings.

If its value that a shopper is looking for, Groceries for Less on Main Street recently opened and has been generating its fair share of business. It was just announced that the defunct Big Boy location on Yosemite Ave. will soon become a Grocery Outlet.

But Sunny isn’t worried too much about the outside factors.

“You get to know your customers that come in on a daily basis,” he said. “You know their name and you can talk to them – it’s different from what you find other places.”

Not far from Sunny’s business sits the other remaining long time neighborhood store that still resonates with nostalgia even you pass through the doors.

The rustic sign outside of  Pete’s Market – also situated right within a residential area – signifies the age of the one-time family owned and operated business that still contains the remnants of an old-time meat counter complete with the walk-in freezer.

While customers now can enjoy food served up from the counter, the convenience makes it a destination for those who live in the rustic neighborhoods just down the block and along what was once Highway 120.

Even with Save Mart locating just blocks away more than decades ago, Pete’s Market – while it has definitely aged – still manages to stay solvent through dedicated customers and friendly service.

“I love working here because I couldn’t have job where I just sit behind a counter and not socialize with the people that come in,” employee Aliesha Minteer said. “You get to know the people that come in by their first name and you develop a bond with them – it’s not just somebody else passing through.

“We get a lot of people that just walk here that have been coming here for years.”

M&S Market is located at 224 Park Avenue just across the street from the recently renovated Southside Park. Pete’s Market is located at 905 W. Yosemite Ave. next to Anderson’s Mower and Bike.