Taken for Granted: This parting is not so sweet

Well that's the last straw! I've had it with the recession.

My 401(k) took a bath, the equity in my home tanked, friends and family members lost jobs, and now the ultimate hardship — my friend and chef de cuisine of fine doughnuts Jacque (Jack Yit) of the Star Doughnut Shop on Foothill Boulevard has sold his business. Jack has seen firsthand the effects of the economic downturn: fewer customers, many unemployed, choosing fewer items from his colorful trays.

Since no bailout or government takeover was in the offing, he has decided to sell; another of the countless small businesses in our community that are under the radar and deemed unworthy of the government aid doled out to those needy (or should I say greedy) giants of financial incompetence: AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc.

Those few readers who have been paying close attention may recall my July 2009 column describing the uniqueness of this small La Crescenta establishment, its charismatic owners and motley assemblage of customers. A pall has descended upon the crew of regulars who frequent the Star to sample its goodies, read their newspapers and discuss topics that on any given morning may cover the spectrum from NASCAR to NAFTA.

After 25 years of 14-hour days and seven-day weeks, the smiling faces of Jack and his lovely wife Lori will no longer grace the Star's counter.

Dedicated doughnut lovers are becoming a rare breed in a media environment saturated with weight-control warnings and healthy-eating silliness. It takes courage to fly in the face of the image consciousness with which we are continually bombarded.

Those less-than-brave souls who "crave" Jack's delicacies slink into the doughnut shop with a hood or newspaper over their heads, fearful that People magazine or the Weight Watchers patrol may be lurking to record their fall from grace.

On the other hand, we stalwart senior citizens who march proudly into harm's way, with belt loosened in anticipation of a tasty treat, are in the minority, and Medicare funding is definitely the better for it. Don't misunderstand me; childhood obesity is a legitimate problem, but an occasional jelly doughnut is only a minor contributor. Sitting for hours at a computer playing video games instead of romping on a ball field or basketball court is the true crux of the problem.

Over the years, Jack and Lori have gotten to know all their regulars, their line of work, their kids and their coffee and doughnut preferences. A visit to this oasis of friendliness has often been a highlight in each patron's otherwise busy day.

Jack gets emotional when discussing how much he will miss his many wonderful customers and the families he has befriended over the years. The Star's fan club includes many youngsters whom he and Lori have fussed over, gently teased and been privileged to witness grow into adulthood.

As he departs, Jack has asked me to express his sincere thanks for the patronage and kindness that his loyal customers have provided over the years.

Having fled the killing fields of Cambodia with their young family in 1980, Jack and his wife have worked hard to put their children through college and give them a piece of the American dream. After living under brutal repression in their native land, hard economic times have not daunted their optimism or love of America. They will move on to another venture, mindful of the opportunities our country has in the past and will in the future provide for them and their children.

But, while Jack and Lori will be missed, the Star will continue under its new owners, Jeff Ngo and his wife. Jack has assured all his customers that the shop is in good hands, and the quality and service that has been his forte will continue under his successor.

PAT GRANT has lived in Glendale for more than 30 years and was formerly a marketing manager for an insurance company. He may be reached at tfgranted@gmail.com.

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