Just The Point: There's no people like Winters people

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A Winters Express op-ed column

By Richard Kleeberg Special to the Express Perhaps the best thing about Winters is the people who own and operate our local businesses. I want to share some stories about how well my wife, Ellie, and I have been treated in our 15 years in Winters. On my way home from work one day I bought a take-out lunch at Ficelle’s. When I got home, I discovered that the small dessert was missing. Although disappointed, I just let it go. But minutes later, standing at my front door was Marianne Washabaugh, one of Ficelle’s owner/founders. She drove to my house to deliver the dessert. Jamell and Carla Wroten, owners of Steady Eddy’s, have treated us like friends for years. Twice I have forgotten to bring my wallet, and Jamel told me I could pay on my next visit. Carla has delivered coffee to our door. They are such a joy to see and talk to, and their staff treats us like royalty. Gino Mediati, manager of Ace Hardware, has always been available to help. When I bought a 10-foot ladder, I asked Gino if he could deliver it. Gino said yes, but he then apologized, apparently concerned that I might be upset that he needed 45 minutes before he could provide the free delivery. Don Jordan (Don Jordan Construction) has done at least ten great projects for us, some of them major. One day, a different contractor was doing some work in our kitchen, and broke his specialized saw. I called Don, and even though it was not his project, he came by just 20 minutes later with his own saw and helped us finish. Wade and Kathy Cowan (Wade’s Construction) have done two major remodels for us, both superbly. One evening, during a kitchen remodel, we discovered a gas leak from the valve where our old oven had been disconnected. It was a Friday night – well after 10 p.m. I called Wade and asked for help. Wade and Kathy were at our house minutes later. He fixed the gas leak then went back home to get a new valve to replace the defective one. Amazing! Is there any other city where the mayor fixes your gas leak – working until midnight – on a Friday evening? Edward Andersen (Winters Eyecare) twice saw me when I thought I had a contact lens stuck in one eye, even though I was not one of his regular patients. And Ana Maria Antoniu, DMD, who I had never met, fixed a broken temporary crown for me just an hour after I called, which saved me a long trip to Sacramento. Marty Powell (Powell’s Countertops) has done three wonderful projects for us. But my favorite memory is when we showed him a very small carved wood table base, and he made a lovely top for it from leftover Corian counters. And he wouldn’t let us pay him. At El Pueblo Taqueria the owners Baldomero and Elia Arce have always greeted us warmly, and taken good care of us. When I have visited Pisani’s Auto Service, I have been grateful for the immediate assistance they have given me to unlock a trunk, replace a broken belt or get a new battery installed quickly. And at Bella Boutique we always feel like we are visiting an old friend when we stop by to chat with the owner Becky Rivas. And there is also the Buckhorn’s John Pickerel. He may be the busiest man in town, always running from one meeting to another. But when he sees us downtown, he still finds 10 minutes to join us. There are so many more I could mention – John, Joe and Bianca at Ace Hardware; Alexis, Sofi, Heather, Joy and Rachael at Steady Eddy’s; John and Karen at Lorenzo’s Market; Karianne at First Northern Bank – Winters is just filled with wonderful people who treat us well!

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