Shoppers say goodbye to Fresno market that's closing after 93 years in business

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016
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Louie Kee Market has been a Chinatown and west Fresno institution for almost a century.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An iconic west Fresno store will close its doors for good after 93 years in business. Louie Kee Market has been a Chinatown and west Fresno institution for almost a century. Sherman Louie, 87, has helped make the neighborhood a better place.

"How many kids from the neighborhood did you give a job to?" an Action News reporter asked.

"Oh, hundreds, hundreds," he replied.

Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church pastor Booker Lewis worked here as did his four siblings. He said the store's credit system was a blessing.

"They were doing job development before job development was popular," he said. "Many of our families would not have eaten on certain days if it were not for the benevolence and the kindness of the Louie family."

Employees and customers alike talked of the warmth they always felt as soon as they walked through the door.

"It's like coming to work with your family beside you and knowing everybody," clerk Juan Reyes said.

O.D. Cummings dropped by for an emotional goodbye to members of the Louie family. He's especially close to Sherman.

"I say he could be either my brother or my dad but I love him so much," he exclaimed.

Shoppers have been enjoying the 50 percent off prices but the store closure will leave a big void in their life.

"I don't know what I am going to in terms of the convenience and the pricing and the cordiality," Depriest Keenan of Fresno said.

A photo from 1962 was taken with a woman in an Old Hamm's Beer ad. Vera Burgess returned from the Bay Area to snap a new one with Louie.

"She came back," Sherman said. "She saw it."

The shelves may be empty at Louie Kee Market but the memories will never fade.

"So, what are you going to do now?" an Action News reporter asked Sherman.

"Get a TV job," he replied, smiling.