Joaquin Modesto Soto, better known as “Jack” was born in Adelaida in 1886. His father, Yrculano Soto, was born in Monterey and later settled near Adelaida where he raised cattle and goats butchering them right there on the ranch. Jack’s mother was Delores Grijalva.
Jack was a talented musician who played guitar, violin and piano. In 1910 he married Agnes (Aggie) Irene Magetti, eldest daughter of Louis Maggetti and Lala (Lyla) Galbraith, and they had four children: Margaret (Dolly), Joaquin Yrculano (Pico), Lila (named for her grandmother Lala), and Betty. Jack worked for George Hearst but, in 1915, he went to work for Edward Asebez (his brother’s wife’s brother) at the Hitchcock and Asabez Meat Market which was located at the corner of Bridge Street and Proctor Lane where the telephone company is today. Asebez bought his partner out and, in 1917, Soto bought Asebez out and became the sole owner of the market. Jack added groceries to the store and changed its name to Cambria Meat Market and Grocery.
Before 1930, the market was moved to its present location on Main Street. Then, in 1937, Roland Houtz, a local contractor, was hired to tear down the existing store and construct a new one in its place. This is the structure which presently exists on Main Street in Cambria’s East Village. During the construction the market was temporarily located across the street in what had been Randall’s drug store and today is Linn’s Restaurant.
In 1929 Margaret Soto left home to attend nursing school in San Francisco. In 1942 she joined the Navy serving in California, New Caledonia and New Zealand. She retired in 1964 as a Lieutenant Commander.
As a boy, Pico worked in the store but, in the 1930s, he left to attend Heald Business College in San Francisco after which he returned to the store. In 1941 Pico married Dee Scorup. Dee graduated from Weaver State College and then attended the University of Utah where she received a masters degree in business at the age of 20. She then moved to Berkeley, California where she became a school teacher and then to Cambria where she taught at Coast Union High School in the late 1930s. During WWII Pico and Dee lived in San Luis Obispo where he worked as a butcher at Bay’s Market and she worked for a building and loan company.
They had two daughters: Karen and Janet. After his parents died, Pico sold the business to Karen and her husband, Curt Snow in 1977. Dee retired from teaching in the 1970s and died in 1981. Pico died in 1987.
In 1991, the store was sold to Norman and Penelope Goodin who still own the property. They sold the business to Priscilla Zaninovich in 1993 who sold it to Jim and Judy Burley and Bill and Marsha Banks in 1995. In 2016, then owners Bob and Lucy Smith sold the business to Andre and Marcela Ponce, Joe Vergara and Joleen Tafoya.
Lila left Cambria in 1933 to attend nursing school in San Francisco. She joined the Army in 1942 and served in California, Oregon and England. She left the Army on 1945 at the end of WWII to attend obstetrics school in New Jersey and then returned to San Francisco. In 1949 she went back into the Army where she served in Japan, England and Germany before retiring as a major in 1966. After that Margaret and Lila lived together in a house in Cambria.
Betty worked in the store as a child. After graduating from Coast Union High School she worked for Lockheed in Burbank, Woolworth’s and the County of San Luis Obispo. In 1947 she married Howard Williams and they had three children: Susan, Michael and Lila Jean.