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Richland Market closing
Richland Market, a mainstay of Ceres life for over 60 years, is closing its doors this month.

"It was not an easy decision but with competition being so fierce we tried to stay open as long as possible," said Nick Pallios, who inherited the Ceres store operation from his father and uncles who founded it in 1951. "Volume has gone down."

The store will close as soon as its stock of groceries is off the shelves, said Pallios, who estimated closing the week of Oct. 14-20.

A total of 35 employees were given the hard news.

"We're a union operation. Our employees get good pay and benefits and hopefully our employees can come up with another union workplace where they can continue with their insurance and retirement."

Also losing their jobs are the four members of the Pallios family who run the corporate office.

At its peak, Richland Market had seven stores in Ceres, Modesto, Turlock, and Oakdale. In 2005, the company began to downsize when the economy began hitting small businesses.

"The conventional grocery store is going to have its issue," said Pallios. "Consumers have changed their buying trends."

Nick's father, Gus Pallios, and uncle John Pallios started Richland Market in 1951 at the southwest corner of Richland and Evans in Ceres. 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.

The brothers opened a store in Turlock in 1965 and later stores in Modesto and Oakdale. After a 2005 downsize, two stores remained in operation in Modesto - at Carpenter and Kansas, and Yosemite and Claus in Modesto. Those stores were sold to the CostLess Foods chain.

The Pallios family was known as hard working merchants who supported community causes, most recently including the Ceres Relay for Life.

"Thinking back to when I was in high school and college, the Pallios brothers ... always supported the community even up until today," said Paul Caruso. "They were always involved in sponsorships and donations, extremely generous to our community for decades."

Nick Pallios issued a brief media statement that said, in part: "Gus, John, and George ran their business with high standards of respect, dignity, and appreciation for the customer. Richland Market and the Pallios families would like to thank its loyal customers, vendors, employees, and friends they have had the pleasure of serving for the past 61 years."

Nick Pallios said he is not sure of the impact the store's closure will have on the tenants in the center. He said all the businesses in the center have their own strong clientele.

The Pallios family owns and operates the Richland Shopping Center and will be attempting to pursue a new tenant.

"This location is competing with Hatch Road and Mitchell Road for tenants."

Tenants in the center include Exotic Birds & Pets, Family Pizza, Footnotes Dance Studio, Southern Exposure, Supermom's Frozen Yogurt and Richland Ace Hardware.