La Perla Tapatia began in 1980 as a 600-square-foot store in Patterson. Since then, the Mexican grocery, bakery and deli has added eight more stores spread throughout six Northern San Joaquin Valley cities.
The original store remained open, however, until Saturday, when it closed its doors on Las Palmas Avenue after losing its lease.
Lilia Bacon, director of administration for La Perla Tapatia, said the closure was sad because of the faithfulness of the store's clientele.
"The manager said there were people there who had been customers since it opened," Bacon said of the store. "They've been going there for more than 20 years."
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Bacon said La Perla Tapatia will work to put the store's four employees at other stores.
La Perla Tapatia, one of the largest Latino-owned businesses in the valley, is owned by the Villa family and employs about 270 people.
In addition to another store in Patterson, La Perla Tapatia has locations in Modesto, Ceres, Hughson, Riverbank and Turlock. In a press release, the company noted that it owns the buildings for its other stores, but not the original one in Patterson.
"It's something beyond our control," said Gabriel Villa, the chain's general manager and son of La Perla's founders. "We would have loved to have continued serving our loyal customers at our original store."
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
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Who runs it: Niles and Sandra Gregory, a husband-wife team, are the owners. Sandra has worked in the pet industry for 15 years. The Pet Shoppe has been open since 2001 and moved to its new location in September 2006. Hours for The Pet Shoppe are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and for the Pet Vet are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays only. Shampooches Spa is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached at 669-9633.
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