"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins."
-- Jim Stovall
I often ask people to show some small-business love. I'm definitely not anti-big store and chains, but I do adore chatting with an owner from behind the counter, sending friends to a swell little shop I just discovered or recommending a place with great customer service.
I patronize a number of small-but-mighty shops regularly, including Lamothe Cleaners, which has been in Antioch since the 1950s. Owner Tom Lamothe (1860 A St.; 925-757-5940) is super personable and an ongoing contributor to the arts in schools.
I also dig -- aka am addicted to -- Mike's Pastry in the same Antioch shopping center as Lamothe. I've been delighting in these pastries my entire life.
Aldo's Shoe Repair (5421 Lone Tree Way, Brentwood) is also tops with me for its quality service and fantastic prices, as is Antioch Optician (Lone Tree Way) for the tiny-but-great staff that works really hard to fit everyone's budgets. Then, of course, there's the most iconic of East County places -- the New Mecca. Need I say more, except "order up"? (324 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg, 925-432-7433.)
I know there are loads of fantastic small shops out there. I encourage everyone to talk them up but mostly give them your business. It's great for the stores, the consumers and our community. I recently asked some folks what was their favorite. Here are just a few: A-1 Transmission: 2504 Devpar Court, Antioch, 925-754-9967: "I needed a transmission on a car several ago, and they had the best price and service. Since then, I use them for all mechanical needs. It's a family-run shop." -- Diane Gibson-Gray Antioch Florist, 3698 Delta Fair Blvd., 925-757-3525: "Cara Grahman is the owner. She and her staff create incredible arrangements that last longer than any other flowers I receive. The designs are always delightful, and the service is incredible." -- Jackie Hooke Bush Motors BMW, 650 Garcia Ave., Pittsburg, 925- 432-9737: "(They) just fixed my car. They're fair, honest, reliable and affordable." -- Kris Fox Delta Vacuum and Sewing Center, 1868 A St., Antioch, 925-757-4981: "Great work and incredible customer service." -- Tricia Campbell (Two Antioch High grads/brothers have run this shop since the 1970s.) Doreen's School of Dance: 520 W. Third St., Antioch, 925-757-8981: "Wonderful family, which has always given back to the community," said Linda Brucato-Gnipp, while Laurie Koch added: "I took lessons there for 17 years and loved it. They give scholarships every year to high school graduates." Gary's Variety Shop: 107 G St., Antioch, 925-207-8897: "I love (Gary Reiman's) store for the crazy, rabbit-hole atmosphere that makes (it) a go-to (spot) for one-of-the-kind items ... It's a fun place to go." -- Katie Cook Hardy Nix Jewelers: 3600 Delta Fair Blvd., 925-757-7100: "Not only do they engage in my inner magpie, but their service is exceptional. Whether you need fine work or a battery replaced, they can handle it on a drop-in basis. They are also a great source for those last-minute gifts or the perfect item for that special someone." -- Jacquelyn Higgins (This is another business that has been family-run in Antioch for decades.) Heavenly Cheesecakes: 3101 Balfour Road, Brentwood, 925-684-4107: "This is a rather new business, and my husband loves cheesecake. Owner Shellie Hirsch shaved her head in support of her sister-in-law, who is battling breast cancer. So, we should show her some support and enjoy her fabulous cheesecakes." -- Kelly Goulart Sawadee, 1884 A St., 925-706-8373: "This is our absolute favorite place in town. (It) is family-owned and operated, and the food is excellent. We have been going there for several years now and have had excellent meals there every time." -- Victoria Sheridan Stewart-Molander Appliances, 808 G St., 925-757-0616: "Their prices are competitive with big-box stores, and they know their products. Its customer service and installation are top of the line." -- Linda Vargas (This is yet another longtime Antioch business.) Wilson's Dance Studio, 1187 Railroad Lane, Pittsburg, 925-207-6097: "Hannah Wilson, the owner, is amazing. The studio provides a fun, safe, positive and family-like atmosphere. The prices are very reasonable, and the dancers are given high-quality instruction. I could go on and on ..." -- Tammy Owensby
A few other notable businesses that earned repeated shout-outs included Pantell's Music Box (G Street in Antioch; established in 1950), Al's Donuts (Lone Tree Way, Antioch) and Bridgehead Café (18th Street, Antioch).
Contact Trine Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org.