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Oceanside man beats homelessness, runs thriving business

Shoppers who drift into 101 Marketplace on Coast Highway in Oceanside are greeted by rows of shelves filled with odds and ends, toys, jewelry, historical items and more.

On the back wall are the best-sellers — stacks of vinyl records that customers love to browse.

Among them all is Roy Cisneros, 34, who opened the store in 2020. It was his dream to own a store in his hometown, but that dream seemed distant at times.

Cisneros said he and his wife and five children spent nearly three years trying to pay for meals and hotel rooms and sleeping in the car.

“I’m ridiculously optimistic,” Cisneros said. “But it’s incredibly frustrating because you want to have a normal life as much as possible.”

Now, Cisneros owns a 101 Marketplace and his family has a place to call home.

It wasn’t easy to get there. He worked three jobs, up to 135 hours each week, just so he could afford his family to sleep in hotels in Oceanside.

After years of experiencing homelessness and not qualifying for any type of assistance due to his work status, he finally saved enough to buy a trailer for his family to live in.

Around the same time in 2020, the pandemic hit local businesses, causing vacancies and lowering rental rates across the county.

Cisneros, no longer paying $100 a night for a hotel room, decided to take a chance and follow his dream. He used his remaining savings to purchase and open a store in the heart of downtown Oceanside.

“After I took over the shop, I had no money. Nothing. I was heartbroken,” Cisneros said. “I literally had a few yards worth of stock. We threw it all out. I got free couches to throw in the store. It looked devastating.”

Years of work helped the store get to where it is today.

“It’s come a long way,” Cisneros said. “People will say, ‘Is it the same store?’

To this day, Cisneros said the scratched floors and mix-match shelving units can be traced back to the first day he opened the business with no money for improvements. Nearly two years after opening, he said, the business is thriving with many patrons and locals who love what the store has to offer.

Cisneros aims to expand his business further into the technological age. He wants to buy a warehouse and take his business online.

“I never want to retire,” Cisneros said. “I want something I can do until the day I die.”

Most of all, Cisneros looks forward to buying a home for his family one day.

The fall into homelessness came after a series of unfortunate events for Cisneros and his family.

He was working as a product photographer when all his equipment was stolen. After losing his job, he could not afford to pay the rent for his apartment, resulting in him and his family being evicted from their home.

While working up to three jobs, he still struggled to find housing. Although he could afford a few apartments in the city, no one would rent to him because of the previous eviction.

At one point, Cisneros even offered to pay the first six months for an apartment, but the owner again refused him.

“Even when I tried to talk to them, they wouldn’t rent to me because of the previous eviction. The only thing I had was hotels,” Cisneros said. “It was a disaster. Most people, when you lose your home, you have family to go back to. I didn’t really have that.”

He tried to apply for government assistance, but the income from his multiple jobs was too high to qualify, despite the fact that he used a large portion of it for hotel and food expenses.

When he tried to look for homeless programs and services, he was told over and over that he would have to quit his job to qualify.

“None of the options I saw in the city seemed to fit,” Cisneros said. “It didn’t make sense. It seemed really upside down.”

Cisneros was eventually able to buy his trailer and start his business without any help.

Reflecting on his journey, Cisneros said people deserve second chances. Whether it’s people like him who were evicted and are looking for another place to live or people released from prison looking for steady work — Cisneros wants to support those people refuse to accept.

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Oceanside man beats homelessness, runs thriving business Source link Oceanside man beats homelessness, runs thriving business

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