By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Market closes doors
A family built and operated store that stood the test of 61 years ended last week with empty shelves hastened by a half-off sale at Richland Market.

Just about everyone who came in to shop one last time shared the same sentiment of sadness to see an end to a great Ceres business.

"I think it sucks," said Gary Weese, who has been shopping at Richland for 20 years. "This has been an everyday routine for me, to come in and get what I need. I know where the aisles are at. Now I have to get into a whole another store and get acquainted . I'll probably end up at Save Mart."

Nicole Berndt, his daughter, came along with her father and remembers going to the store since she was a young girl.

"It's sad to see this happen," she said.

At the front of the store, clerk Anthony Bradford, 22, was solemn as he rang up purchases. He was contemplating what to do next now that his job was over.

"It's upsetting," said Bradford. "Pretty much all the regular customers feel bad for us. A lot them come in here every day so they're friends with a lot of us."

Bradford said he will be going to "apply everywhere and go back to school for sure." This is the second layoff for Bradford, the first being that of Office Max.

The store's closure leaves 35 employees without a job.

"It's sad," said Phil de la Porte, who was picking over the leftover stock. "It's family owned. It's a great family, too. They've done a ton for the schools over the years. It's the way of family businesses."

The closure presents a problem for Jerry Bryant, who found the store convenient to access since he is limited to his mobility chair.

"I think Ceres should have done a little more to keep it," commented Bryant, who shopped at Richland for 30 years. "It's going to send a lot of people out of town. This shopping center is dead."

Greg Mull, owner of Exotic Birds and Pets next door to Richland Market, disagreed. Mull said he was sorry to see the store close and expects it to affect sales that came from foot traffic generated by the market.

"Richland (closing) is definitely not going to help our business," said Mull. "The pet store is a destination store but especially with a lot of the foot traffic that Richland draws contributes to our business and I don't think we're the only one in the center that's going to feel the same way. It's definitely not a good thing. Hopefully it rallies support with people here in Ceres to bring some traffic into this shopping center."

The store was managed in recent years by Nick Pallios, whose father, Gus Pallios, and uncle John Pallios started Richland Market in 1951 at the southwest corner of Richland and Evans in Ceres. Their brother, George, entered the market operation in 1955 after finishing college. The Pallios brothers moved their store in 1960 to a larger building on Whitmore Avenue, which is now Richland Ace Hardware. The market was moved to its current site inside the Richland Shopping Center in 1971 and was refurbished in the late 1980s.

Nick Pallios has not said what will happen to the empty store but Dollar General company officials have been seen visiting the store, said one clerk.