Turlock resident Oscar Avila has been involved in the city’s grocery scene for the past 40 years, the last 21 of which he has spent at Cost Less Market on West Main Street. As store manager, he has helped the community find groceries while contributing to a thriving downtown economy. Along with being an active member of the business community, Avila prides himself in civic participation and attends every Turlock City Council meeting.
Q: You’ve worked at Cost Less Market for over 20 years – what changes have you seen on West Main Street and in the downtown area in that timespan?
A: The downtown area has come a long way in the last 20 years. It’s cleaned up a lot in the last 10 years, even. You see restaurants, shopping and furniture stores, and once they get this end of West Main Street redone like they say they’re going to, it should improve the area even more.
Q: The Cost Less team is known for supporting the Turlock Fire Department Local 2434’s pink t-shirt sales every October. Why is this such an important cause for you?
A: I lost my mom to cancer, and I lost my dad to cancer. When Frank Silveira asked me about wanting to buy pink t-shirts, I came aboard and told him that, in fact, I would have all of my employees buy shirts, too. Since we’ve started, about 95 percent of my employees wear the pink shirts every Monday and Friday from October to December.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: Well, to do something for 40 years you have to love your job. I love seeing third or fourth generation family members shop in the store – you get to know mothers, their daughters, their grandmothers. I’ve gotten to know our customers quite well. A lot of people have been shopping with me on the west side.
Q: When you’re not working at Cost Less, what do you like to do in Turlock for fun?
A: I enjoy doing yard work, and enjoy going out to dinner. We like to try everybody in town and support the businesses that buy from us.
Q: What is the last book, movie or TV show that captivated you?
A: “Pitch Perfect 3.” It was really entertaining, I was surprised. Usually sequels don’t always come out as good as the first ones.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: When I was a freshman in high school, I would come down to the Turlock Journal office at night to help my cousin and sports editor at the time, Frank Godinez, look at the ticker tapes and help him make stories.