What was originally Yost Bros. opened in November 1950, when Ten Bee Village became Tracy’s first shopping center.
Small indeed by today’s standards, Ten Bee Village nevertheless was a departure from the past, as it had parking in a lot located in front of the L-shaped building housing six retail establishments. And it was located “waaaaay out there” on West 10th Street, two blocks west of Central Avenue, then Tracy’s major retail street.
There was plenty of excitement around Tracy (population 8,440) on Friday, Nov. 17, 1950, when the new shopping complex had its grand opening.
There was a fashion show with local models displaying wear from Yost Bros., Greta’s Women’s Apparel, Kiddies Toggery and Paul’s Shoes, all stores in the center.
Other original businesses in Ten Bee Village — Yeomans Furniture and Esther M. Johnson Gifts — joined the clothing merchants in hosting open houses.
Ten Bee Village was developed by Stan and Barbara Yeomans in partnership with accountant Owen Vick. The Yeomans closed their furniture store on Central Avenue before opening their new one in Ten Bee Village.
Marvin Weitz was the general contractor for construction.
Yost Bros., which had a men’s and boys’ clothing store in Stockton for several generations, was branching out to a new town in locating the store where Richard’s is now. Actually, part of the present Richard’s was Esther Johnson’s gift shop, facing 10th street, and Greta’s women’s store, where Richard’s tuxedo department is now.
Manager of Yost Bros. was Tracy native Angelo “Pete” Davanis, who had worked for Yost Bros in Stockton while making a name for himself as “Tommy Tiger” at College of the Pacific football games. He also had a combo that played at local dances.
Pete managed the store until 1957, when Yost Bros. had had enough of Tracy and sold the business to him.
Pete, who renamed the store Pete Davanis, Clothier, was in the store regularly, along with Maureen Woodward, who handled many of the customers coming through the door.
Pete also hired high school students to work at the store and provide visibility to teenage customers. One of the first was Bill Giffen, an outstanding basketball and baseball player and student leader at Tracy High before graduating in 1953. Bill went to on to Santa Clara and its law school before becoming a superior court judge in Stockton. He is now retired.
In fact, Richard told me that Bill stopped by a couple of years ago “just to look around” the store — and to take a look at “the toilet that I had to clean.”
Another student who worked at Pete’s was Nick Eddy, the Tracy High football great who graduated in 1962 and later became an all-American halfback at Notre Dame.
And, of course, after Nick came one Richard Hughes, who worked there three years in high school and a year afterward.
“I always liked clothes, and when I started working for Pete, I knew I wanted to get into the clothing business some day,” Richard said. “And, obviously, I did.”
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.