One of Manteca’s best kept secrets is that downtown is still viable by a long shot.
Too often when we try to address negatives such as traffic and the homeless it overshadows the good news.
And this is not just a Pollyanna take.
Downtown has seven financial institutions — Golden Valley Credit Union, Chase, Bank of America, Financial Center Credit Union, Wells Fargo Bank, Guaranty Bank, and Oak Valley Community Bank. There are only five free-standing bank branch offices elsewhere in Manteca.
Talk to the branch managers. If downtown was a hell hole and unsafe for their customers they would not remain downtown. Equally important is that two of those financial branches — Oak Valley and Golden Valley — opted to build new locations in downtown over the past 12 years instead of simply taking over an existing financial institution.
Now compare that to other successful downtowns in the 209 region and over the Altamont Pass that people like to use as a yardstick to measure central Manteca’s relative health.
Banks are much more methodical about where they locate than someone opening a boutique or a restaurant. Downtown Manteca has the relative safety, the traffic, and location that the financial institutions desire.
Also underscoring Manteca’s viability are merchants such as J&J Printing, Century Furniture, GK Music, Tipton’s, German Glas Werks, Manteca Bedquarters, assorted ethnic markets and restaurants, American Furniture and more that have 10 to 40 plus years under their belt of doing business in downtown.
They’ve weathered everything from cruising gridlock, recessions, the shift to strip shopping centers, big box retailers, online retail to traffic and homeless issues and they’re still going.
It’ because of two things: At the end of the day, downtown Manteca is not a hell hole and the merchants mentioned provide goods and services that people want.
It is why Leo DeGroot didn’t hesitate to invest in creating the new business complex on the northwest corner of Main and North streets where Oak Valley Community Bank is located.
And let’s not forget nice touches such as the murals, the Tidewater Bikeway, the mini plazas on Maple Avenue and in front of the Legion Hall as well as the Tidewater-style street fixtures from street lights to traffic signals along the tree-lined streets.
There is little doubt Manteca needs to take it to the next level.
That said Manteca has a lot to offer. There are unique stores you won’t find anywhere else in Manteca. Maple Avenue is flourishing. There’s the library and events at adjoining Library Park such as the Manteca Chamber of Commerce’s Music & Market in Manteca every Tuesday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. until the end of July.
Next time you are on Main Street or Yosemite Avenue and half a little time, pull over, get out and check out some of the shops. You might just find a stunning stained glass creation, a unique offering for dinner, bakery delights you’ve never tired, talented music teachers, party stores, three furniture merchants, and a host of other options.
There are enough people that believe downtown Manteca is a good place to go to keep seven financial institutions viable as well as numerous other commerce enterprises.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org