When did you start working here?
I was bagging when I started at 18 years old. Then after a few years, they started taking me seriously. They thought I was just a kid at first. After about five years, I became a manager.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen?
It was always very busy before all these new places arrived. There were a few other small places. Then they expanded the freeway. Back then it was just Newport Boulevard, and people would stop by when they went to the beach. But now people find the easy way to shop for everything in one place.
Who are your customers now?
All the neighbors and our regulars come to us, generation after generation. The way you treat people, and our high quality—that’s what makes regulars keep coming back.
Is the business still family owned?
Yes, Peggy Penjoyan is the original owner. She’s the sweetest lady. I love her. She’s a great person. When I was 22 or 23, the family realized how happy I was to be here. They treated me very well.
So why retire now?
I’m getting old. I don’t want to plateau or bottom out. I want to be strong and healthy and able to do things when I leave. I told Peggy I would leave on my birthday when I turn 62 (this month). The owners don’t believe me. They still think I’m not leaving.
Do you have a plan for retirement?
I get up at 5 every day to be here by 6:30, six days a week. I’m looking forward to getting up whenever I want. I’ll work out, have coffee with friends without pressure. I want to build a retreat outside the little town I’m from in Jalisco. I’ll garden and maybe raise a couple of animals. I grew up on a farm. I’ll raise a chicken and some nice veggies, see if I can get used to it.