There are few places where individuals want to hop on a scale to check their weight in public, but Latif’s Restaurant was one of them.
For over 20 years a statuesque scale stood in the entryway of the downtown restaurant with patrons weighing themselves before and after their meals, yelping in surprise and encouraging their friends to hop on. However, unbeknownst to many, Latif’s was merely the gatekeeper of the scale, which was recently removed from the restaurant in order to accommodate customers with wheelchairs in the already narrow entryway.
“I have people coming after me, giving me a hard time, but we really have just been the caretakers,” explained Latif’s Owner Robert Stevens.
The scale’s true owner is E.L. “Duck” Allen, former proprietor of Boies Drugstore in downtown Turlock, where the scale originally stood since the 1930s. Upon graduating from pharmacy school he joined Boise Drugstore in the mid-1960s and took ownership of the scale upon becoming owner of the store in the 1980s.
“The scale was in my drug store for years and years and people hated to see it leave,” recalled Allen.
The iconic scale was moved when Boies Drugstore relocated away from downtown Turlock and Latif’s became host to the scale in the early 1990s. While the people stepping on the scale have changed over the years, Allen’s desire to keep it in the downtown Turlock has not waned.
“It’s been a fixture of downtown Turlock for many, many years,” said Allen. “It’s one of those sentimental things.”
At the behest of Allen, Latif’s bestowed the scale upon Minerva’s Furniture, the next gatekeeper of what is now a historical item.
“We were excited because growing up I remember walking into Boies Drugstore and jumping on the scale,” said Minerva’s Owner Fabiola Sanchez.
The owners of Minerva’s purchased the downtown Boies Drugstore property from Allen before moving to their present location on Market Street. The scale now stands in the entryway of the furniture store and serves as a reminder of the significance of the downtown community in Turlock and their longstanding relationship with Allen.
“Duck wanted it to stay downtown, he wanted it to be on display,” said Sanchez. “That was his wish and we plan to keep it.”