Those stalwart members of the business community have always been great to chat with over the years. It’s often their only income — never getting a weekly check from big business or from government.
In the early ‘60s it was Jack Lathrop who was writing about the happenings in such businesses as those owned by John and Eileen Mendoza of Mendoza’s Men’s Wear or Ted Poulos of the Manteca Drug Store, Jimmie Mah of Manteca Department Store, or about Gladys Brock at the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.
It was Friday afternoon and I needed a razor blade — just one — not a box of 50. So I walked into the local business office supply store known as Tipton’s on Yosemite and Maple avenues.
“Sure I can sell you just one,” Bea Bowlsby replied. “You don’t have to buy the whole box.” She turned, took a box from the shelf behind her and held it in front of me to take the one I wanted — of course they were all the same.
The same was true in the recent rush to pick up W-2 and 1099 forms, she added. “I can’t see people having to buy a pack of 25 when maybe they only have two employees,” she said.
Bea knows her clientele — knows her community — having been in business for 46 years at the same location. She worked side-by-side with the John Mendozas and the Jimmie Mahs of the downtown.
Meanwhile daughter Brenda is standing at the bridal gift counter where she maintains a gift registry for upcoming weddings. Always ready to share her political views and debate the current happenings, she is dedicated to her bridal registry business. “It’s generation to generation,” she said. Brenda has girls registered with her the same as their mothers were some 20 years ago.
Again, despite the current economy, she said she has new bridal and gift customers coming into the store from Tracy, Lodi, Stockton and Escalon.
The road house restaurant is located in the historical Odd Fellows Building on East Main Street next to Jimmie’s Burgess Baking Co., and has had some good reviews from its clientele. Rumor has it one of the first few days they were open business was so good they ran out of food.
The Bike Shop is expected to open on Stockton Street across from the fire department’s headquarters.
Sunday brunch only $9
Laurel and Isadore Fang said they have seen quite a following from the Del Webb community at their three Sundays they have been to date. The group returns later in the day to enjoy their happy hour at Isadore’s. They’re hoping Valentine’s Day Sunday will be a blowout.
Their French Dip sandwich was their best kept secret until I mentioned it in a recent story. Laurel said a young couple came during the dinner hour and went into the bar where they ordered just one French Dip between them — each eating half. They said they had read about it in the paper.
They liked it so much they ordered a second, sharing that one too, with glasses of wine. She said the next night they came back with a party of six — all enjoying the “prime rib” French Dips.
You might question their timing but it all came with definite planning that dates back at least four years. Diane said if they had to shell out the bucks to go now it would be a different story. Hawaii was mostly a given but their dream trip to Spain was paid and planned for long before now — chipping away at the costs year by year.
Diane said their biggest competition in selling sports plaques is the online website vendors who can sell often at a better price then they can provide. Thankfully many of the local teams and schools realize their sales tax monies stay in the community for emergency services. Diane said she has been told by customers they appreciate the yearbook and other school, and sport advertising dollars they provide — customers saying they want to keep their business in Manteca.
What I really enjoy though is watching the teamwork of the staff. They are quite a clean-cut bunch — always with smiles and looking to do something extra for you. It’s obviously in their character and in their work ethic that is so impressive. A couple of them told me it’s a good place to meet new friends.
Their first manager, Curtis, created a working family environment that I saw as second to none. He was recently transferred to a store in Rancho Cordova and it was obvious his staff didn’t want him to leave. He left behind quite a legacy. Just the mention of his name at the counter still brings an instant smile from staff members who were hired and who worked for him. I saw him show up in the Manteca store on his day off recently touching base with his former employees. Curtis once told me he was amazed that his workers socialized together after their work week — something he hadn’t seen at other stores.
But In ‘N Out has a family appreciation. Every year they have “family” picnics in Northern California and in Southern California for all their employees. It is a two day affair taking one half of the staffers each day — allowing the stores to remain open. In the past they have set them up for daylong parties at water slide parks.
Stoker’s Manteca Auto Parts
Dean had sold the business but had retained ownership of the building which is now vacant. There are many memories that surround the business which supported the community in its own right for decades. In fact it was right across the street at Bruno Checchi’s insurance office where so-called pillars of the community met each night after work at about 6 p.m. They had their own cocktail party while debating what was best for Manteca. Then owner of the Manteca Bulletin, George Murphy, Jr., was always a chief component to those give-and-take “planning” sessions.