•1944 / camp
"While we were in Camp, my folks would worry about their store. Some other people were supposed to keep it going, but when we came back it was closed."
"The store was completely empty except for the counter, the shelves and the reach-in case. Then one day when we came back from school we could see a big stack of cartons through the window...we were so excited." [ben sakoguchi]
Ben Sakoguchi "Postcards from Camp" acrylic on canvas 1999 - 2001 (George holding Helen, Robert, Benji, Mary, Teruko)
Excerpt from an Interview with George Sakoguchi in 1976:
"Even after we started our business for a few weeks we didn't sell. The first day's sale was about five dollars. On the weekend we only sold about ten dollars a day so we got disgusted. With a ten dollar sale we'd never make it.
I was going to go back and pick oranges or potatoes somewhere out in the field, for that's what most of the Japanese had done. But this man, Mr. Melcher, from Smart & Final, explained it takes time to get your business back.
He said, 'Don't quit right now, because if you quit, all your years of business before the war will be lost. Wait for people to come back to you.' He told me to stick it out with my business. I just kept on, and finally after a month or so, we started selling fifteen, twenty, twenty-five dollars a day, and built our customers back to where we could make just enough to live off of."