John Spevak: Bright Friday thoughts to the local businesses that serve Los Banos

November 23, 2012 

I realize today is Black Friday. But I'd rather not write a column on darkness or shopping madness. I'd rather continue yesterday's bright feelings and write about giving thanks.

I understand, however, that shopping and business are on many people's minds, so today I'll focus my thanks on local businesses.

I've been fortunate to have lived in Los Banos for 40 years. I have found it, by and large, a community of not only congenial residents but friendly businesses.

This goes back to the days of Gus Villalta's TV repair, Paul Giannone's grocery, Ben and Pat Patricio's market and Elge Mastrangelo's clothing store.

Los Banos is still blessed with friendly merchants who provide personal service to their customers. I value customer service, and I reciprocate with customer loyalty.

Like other long-time Los Banosans, I make it a point to invest in local businesses by patronizing them, rather than going out of town to bigger stores that advertise super sales. I find myself saving time and gasoline and getting a better experience.

So today I would like to give thanks to a few people who have made my life pleasant. I'll begin with local medical professionals and then move on to service providers and merchants, briefly explaining why I'm thankful for them.

Ron -- for excellent dentistry over the past four decades. Let me give one example Recently I chipped my tooth while eating lunch. At 1:30 I walked into his office and asked if he could help.

Ron invited me in, looked at my tooth, and filled in the chip -- a task which turned out to be (for him) a simple job. I was out the door in 20 minutes and made it to my 2 p.m. appointment on time.

Jason -- for exceptional medical practice. Along with his father John, Jason has provided me with patient care for 41 years. Like his dad, Jason is always willing to take the time to explain symptoms, diagnoses, prognoses, options and the latest medical research.

Clyde and Justin -- for keeping my cars running smoothly. These talented technicians have solved a wide variety of auto problems over the years caused by my cars' wheezes, clanks and rattles.

Mike and Jason -- for competent and upbeat tire service, along with a few laughs, in the shop I've been patronizing for decades. They've repaired and replaced tires damaged by boards, nails, junk metal and other inanimate road kill.

Sherry and Jim -- for helping a guy who knows nothing about jewelry provide useful gifts to his wife, always with smiles and laughter.

Cina and Miles -- for continuing excellent service in a family hardware store that's helped me for 40 years.

Joanne -- for good book sales and service, especially when ordering strange titles. She is among the few hearty independent booksellers left in America.

Leslie and Mike -- for matting and framing all kinds of prints, posters and photographs over the years; helping Sandy and me enjoy art and beauty in our home.

Larry and Patty -- for good food, conversation and service. It always feels comfortable in their restaurant, with home-cooking and down-home hospitality.

Roxanne -- for excellent waitressing for decades, always with speed and a smile.

Michael -- for providing a congenial place to hang out, eat tasty Southwestern food, and toast a few glasses of cheer.

These are some of the many Los Banos business men and women who have brightened my life over the many years I've lived in this community. There are many others I haven't mentioned in this column, whom I also greatly appreciate.

I trust that more and more Los Banosans will patronize their local businesses, like the ones I have mentioned, to experience superb service, while making sound investments in our community.

On another note: My (belated) condolences to the family of Joe Toscano. Joe was a great guy, not only a successful businessman but also a wonderful family man and contributor to the community.

His long tenure on the local school board is just one example of his dedication and service to his community which will be long remembered and appreciated. They don't make 'em like Joe any more.

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