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Stan's encore

Stan Pascal reopens his market to supply his community with produce and friendship.



Stan Pascal had had enough. A long bout of hepatitis and his wife's death prompted the produce storeowner to close up his shop in West Los Angeles.

Or so he thought.

"The place was being sold, when I came to get the mail, the windows and the door were loaded with little notes that said 'Stan, where are you? We miss you, come back, don't leave and we love you.' This was not only for my produce, it was 'we miss you, Stan.'"

Those endearing words from customers brought him back on the job, with renewed energy.

You'll find Stan working six days and 70 hours a week, with a pre-dawn trip to the Los Angeles wholesale produce market to find the best fruits and vegetables. He works the cash register and supervises action at the compact store that's squeezed in between a Laundromat, Kosher Chinese restaurant and dry cleaners.

Walk into Stan's Produce Market and you'll head back in time, where customers are on a first-name basis, newborn babies are lovingly weighed on the produce scale and the owner offers liberal credit--taping customer receipts on the wall behind the cash register that they repay when they can.

Customers are ecstatic that their produce source--and dear friend--are back.

"When I walk in, I'm a name and come with a history," said Joanne Sacks, a long time customer and New York transplant. "I'm part of a community and I think that that's what Stan's produce really represents in Los Angeles."

Stan said now that he's back; he plans on staying on the job for as long as possible.

"If I can pick up a box of potatoes when I'm 85 years old, I'll still be here. This is my life!"


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