SUP­PLY­ING MAN­TECA FARM­ERS

Man­teca Feed & Sup­ply opened in 1946 One founder, Edythe Sealey, now 103

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - By GLENN KAHL

It was a part­ner­ship that brought feed and farm sup­plies to Man­teca area farm­ers in 1946 with the open­ing of Man­teca Feed & Sup­ply.

“Cur­ley” Sealey and Char­lie Bates started de­liv­er­ing feed and sup­plies to area farm­ers with their large red and white check­ered flatbed de­liv­ery trucks with the open­ing of Man­teca Feed & Sup­ply on North Main Street 72 years ago.

Sealey and his wife Edythe along with their four chil­dren left the Sealey fam­ily farm near Cen­tral City, Ne­braska in 1942 to set­tle in Man­teca. With a love of farm­ing and live­stock, he be­lieved a feed store would be a great ad­di­tion to Man­teca.

Edythe, 103, now re­sides in the Bethany Home As­sisted Liv­ing fa­cil­ity known as Beth­haven in Ripon. She raised their four chil­dren Donna, Don­ald, Dar­win “Cooney” and Dar­lene. Char­lie and Edna Bates joined the Sealys in the feed store with their two sons Leonard and Bob.

The feed store was first opened on North Main Street, just a block north of Yosemite

Av­enue, in a build­ing shared with Os­car Bre­it­en­bucher’s Joaquin Tire Shop which later be­came the site of the West­ern Auto Store on the west side of Main Street. Son Don Bre­it­en­bucher was 9 years old at the time and would hang out around his dad’s shop and sweep the floors in those early days. He was later men­tored by his dad to run the shop fol­lowed by his son David.

Man­teca Feed then moved across Main Street to an­other build­ing that was once the home of Bob­son Clean­ers and shared a park­ing lot with Mike’s Mar­ket owned by the Pic­cinini fam­ily. Mike Pic­cinini went on to found Save Mart mar­kets and be­come the firm’s CEO years later.

It was Cur­ley’s sense of hu­mor and Char­lie’s friend­li­ness that was cred­ited with break­ing the ice with the area farm­ers and dairy­men who weren’t fa­mil­iar with the Pu­rina brand that Cur­ley had used in Ne­braska. They were hes­i­tant in try­ing Pu­rina for the first time on their ranches and dairy farms. Pu­rina was yet to be in­tro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia but Cur­ley and Char­lie would change that as they ac­quired a fran­chise for all of San Joaquin County.

They soon re­ceived their first ship­ment of Pu­rina feed to be de­liv­ered in Cal­i­for­nia shipped by rail­car. To prove their prod­uct, they brought a calf into the store with the feed­ing and growth of the calf recorded on a chart on the wall of the feed store. Cur­ley con­tin­u­ally cred­ited the com­mu­nity dairies in­clud­ing the Du­tras, Borges and Car­dozas op­er­a­tions for help­ing their busi­ness to flour­ish.

The first hired hand to join the feed store was Russ My­ers who helped with the ever-ex­pand­ing work load of the store along with Vera Mor­ris work­ing as their book­keeper. Calves, baby chicks and rab­bits were added to the in­ven­tory af­ter Man­teca Feed re­lo­cated down the street into the Peer­less build­ing at the cor­ner of North and Main streets. In their early years in Man­teca, feed ship­ments had to be picked up daily at the Stock­ton rai­l­yard by a fleet of Man­teca Feed trucks em­bla­zoned with Pu­rina’s red and white checker­board lo­gos quickly rec­og­nized on Man­teca streets and county roads.

Cur­ley and Char­lie wore red and white check­ered shirts, hats and ties to work in their store. Pu­rina built a mill in Stock­ton two years later so that feed no longer had to be shipped by rail.

The Sealeys had moved to Man­teca just af­ter the in­va­sion of Pearl Har­bor. Hous­ing was dif­fi­cult to find. They sended up set­tling in a place on Al­mond Av­enue near Cen­ter Street, just north of West Yosemite Av­enue. They shared the neigh­bor­hood with fam­i­lies that made up the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity: The Longs, the Swifts, the Ho­grefes, the Luck­ens, the Ir­wins, the Hilde­brands, the Hafleys and the Bres­hears all liv­ing in their new neigh­bor­hood.

It was a fam­ily neigh­bor­hood of new first-name friends where they en­joyed cof­fee to­gether at each other’s homes, played horse­shoes, shared tele­phone party-lines with many of the chil­dren en­joy­ing life-long friend­ships through­out their school years and adult­hood.

Cen­ter Street, where it crossed Al­mond, was known as the “dirt road” and ran be­hind the old Yosemite School and ex­tended west­ward to the South­ern Pa­cific Rail­road tracks. Pete’s Mar­ket at the cor­ner of Wal­nut and Yosemite av­enues was the neigh­bor­hood gro­cery store where the kids could buy penny can­dies.

Man­teca Feed would close its doors reg­u­larly on Fri­day after­noons in the Fall so that Cur­ley and Edythe could be at the Man­teca High School foot­ball games and watch their boys Don and Cooney play foot­ball.

The Sports­men’s Pa­rade was held an­nu­ally on Yosemite Av­enue with a Man­teca Feed float en­tered in with the Sealey’s daugh­ter Dar­lene and her lit­tle dog Tiny seated on the float. The dog was adorned in a dress and bon­net that Edythe had made out of Pu­rina feed sacks.

A cor­po­rate Pu­rina calf was named “Beautina” from Cur­ley’s con­test sub­mis­sion to be the of­fi­cial name on the Pu­rina Calf logo that was on much of the Pu­rina prod­ucts. The en­try beat out all other Pu­rina fran­chisees.

Man­teca Feed and Sup­ply found a large cus­tomer base in Tracy at Deuel Vo­ca­tional In­sti­tute where they would de­liver large amounts of Dog Chow to feed the thor­ough­bred ca­nines that were raised at the fa­cil­ity. The feed trucks had to be in­spected by armed se­cu­rity be­fore they could en­ter the fa­cil­ity.

Twenty-one years af­ter open­ing the feed store Cur­ley bought out his part­ner Char­lie. They con­tin­ued as friends for the rest of their lives. A new ser­vice sta­tion, planned for their lo­ca­tion at North and Main streets, made nec­es­sary to re­lo­cate the store once again with Cur­ley feel­ing a more ru­ral lo­ca­tion might serve their cus­tomers bet­ter in the fu­ture.

His wife Edythe ac­quired prop­erty from Frank Fiore of Cen­ter Plumb­ing on Lathrop Road that in­cluded a hay barn and a feed load­ing dock. Cur­ley would em­ploy a num­ber of lo­cal work­ers in­clud­ing Gil Behlen, Harold Spars and Bob Schar­mann and Nel­lie Richetta was their book­keeper un­til 1970.

The high school Fu­ture Farm­ers Pro­gram ben­e­fit­ted from Man­teca Feed be­ing ac­tively in­volved with Cur­ley meet­ing with par­ents and stu­dents and men­tor­ing them on how to care for var­i­ous live­stock that the stu­dents were rais­ing. He would also vac­ci­nate the an­i­mals for the stu­dents and his cus­tomers.

Cur­ley at­tended the San Joaquin County Fair ev­ery year and would suc­cess­fully “bid up” the stu­dents’ en­tries to en­able them to get bet­ter prices and was re­warded for his ef­forts with the FFA Honor­able Fa­ther Award at a Man­teca FFA ban­quet for his ded­i­ca­tion to the stu­dents.

One of the farm fam­i­lies he men­tored was that of Dr. Richard D.M. Yee and his son Randy who later be­came a med­i­cal doc­tor in his own right. Young Dr. Yee was Cur­ley’s physi­cian un­til he passed away. Sev­eral MHS stu­dents were em­ployed at the feed store in­clud­ing Dick Devine, John Bor­de­nave, Steve and Mark Schrimsher, Jerry Ta­cosa and David Cabr­era – his grand­son.

Cur­ley and Edythe re­tired in 1970 and leased the build­ing to the El­liott Flem­ing fam­ily that op­er­ated the busi­ness for sev­eral decades. Cur­ley Sealey and Char­lie Bates both passed on in 1985 while Edythe still owns the prop­erty and build­ings now leased to Old Mc­Gowan’s Feed that con­tin­ues to serve Man­teca with feed and pet sup­plies.

Photo con­trib­uted

Cur­ley Sealey and Char­lie Bates are seen with their first load of farm feed on one of their flat bed de­liv­ery trucks in 1946.

PEO­PLE

Photo con­trib­uted

Man­teca Feed & Seed opened its doors in 1946. “Cur­ley” Sealey and his friend Char­lie Bates went into busi­ness to­gether. Cur­ley’s wife Edythe is 103 and liv­ing in Ripon’s Bethany Home.

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