Gilroy Today 2013 03 Spring - Page 23

Mafalda ’ s is the little shop that could . In 1991 , Mafalda Frietas started with a small place on Westwood Drive ; today she has a large , colorful and expansive bridal shop on the corner of Fifth and Monterey . The shop has an amazing selection of wedding , bridesmaid , prom , quinceañera and evening gowns , as well as a large inventory of rental tuxedos .
Recently married and speaking only Portuguese , Mafalda moved to the US at 18 years of age . Her bridal shop today is the fulfillment of a childhood memory of a beautiful dress shop in Portugal . By most MBA business models , this place should not be a success … but it is … because it is a dream come true .
Mafalda came to Gilroy with strong roots in Portugal . Gilroy was small then and she says it still has a small-town feel . Over the years , many things have changed — but one thing stands out for Mafalda . After explaining that Gilroy is a good place to live and is very friendly she says with a tear in her eye “ It is my home !”
Pushing 93 , Sig Sanchez is remarkable . The body might move a little slower but the mind is as sharp as ever . He remembers things most of us never knew and offers analysis on issues before we knew they were an issue . Sitting down with Sig is a delight .
Sig has spent over 55 years in public service working though positions as a Gilroy city councilman , and mayor , Santa Clara County supervisor for District One , and finally a director on the Santa Clara Water District Board . One tribute to his leadership on the Water Board is that water issues are not issues locally today !
Sig was born and raised in Hollister and probably would have lived there if his wife Jane had not been from Gilroy . She wanted to live here , and after starting a family , Gilroy became home .
Sig reckons he was named Man of the Year by the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce because he has been around longer than most . At the same time he remembers those who had the courage and foresight to build the infrastructure that makes Gilroy and the county of Santa Clara such a great place to live .
Sig notes that Gilroy is a place where people do things together . There is a spirit in the town of fifty thousand that makes it still feel like a small town … just not as small as 3,600 when he was on the city council !