A Quick Opinion: Winters is always changing

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charley Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

If you are looking to rent a commercial building in Winters, good luck. The same can be said about finding an affordable rental in town. As a downtown Winters property owner, these are trying times, but aren’t they always?

The sad news circulating this week is that Stan and Sheri Lester have decided to retire from the bakery business. I’m the eternal optimist, so I’m hoping that someone will step up and make a deal with the Lesters to keep the bakery open.

As we get older there comes a time where we just want to relax and take it easy. I reached that point four years ago when I retired from the Express, and Stan and Sheri have made the same decision.

Running a business is stressful, even if everyone thinks you have it made in the shade. It is easy to run someone else’s business, even if you have no clue as to what really goes on behind closed doors. A lot of people know more than the owners about how a business should be run.

Trust me on this one. Everyone has an idea of what the Winters Express should be reporting on, or not reporting on. Everyone knows what should or shouldn’t be on the Buckhorn menu and everyone has an idea about how we can keep Winters a small town.

I haven’t seen a lot of commercial buildings built in downtown Winters in my lifetime. Hotel Winters was one of the first buildings added to our downtown in almost 40 years. I watched as the Lorenzo’s built a new building on Main Street in the 1960s, moving their grocery store across the street.

Their grandfather started the California Market in 1939 where the Pizza Factory is now. When another grocery store went out of business on Grant Avenue the Lorenzo’s moved to their current location leaving their old buildings to be remodeled for new businesses.

Bank of America tore down a corner of downtown to add a new bank building that now sits empty (Eagle Drug) in the 1960s. Manuel Tortosa converted his gas station, tire recapping business and trailer park into what now houses Mazza Dental, Katherine’s Bookkeeping and Close Quarters, I think, in the early 1980s.

He added a building to house an auto parks business, where Lester Farms Bakery is today. The trailer park had small studio houses that were used by truck drivers and temporary housing for local workers. There are now several trailers housing seniors behind those commercial buildings.

The Lester Farms Bakery has been here for more than 30 years and was a nice addition to Winters. Stan is the typical business owner, he is worried more about his employees than himself. It is always a hard decision to close a business, but life goes on. Change isn’t good or bad, just different.

Grab a doughnut and have a good week.

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