Meat lovers rejoice.


Humberto Muņoz, owner of Hesperia Quality Meats, has decided not to throw in the towel after a wave of customer support sent a message to Muņoz and his landlord.


"I could not believe all the support I got from the community after they read the article in the paper," Muņoz said, referencing an earlier story in the Hesperia Star. "Then my landlord decided to work with us instead of raising


the rent."


Muņoz and his wife, Carmen, decided to shut the 40-year-old market in December after the poor economy, bad health and a major rent increase added to his woes.


"The landlord is working a deal with me, so we should be able to stay in business for a while," Muņoz said. "He is going to allow us to pay overdue rent over a period of time, and he's not going to raise our rent."


The landlord has also decided to pick up the market's water and trash bill, which is approximately $140 a month for both, according to Muņoz.


"Many people appreciated my comment in the paper about Obama not being the source of our help," Muņoz said. "I still believe that it's going to take all of us helping each other during this bad economy."


Muņoz, who has owned the store for 25 years, is planning to lower prices, offer product specials and increase his advertising to build his customer base, which has not improved over the last few years.


"When people are losing their homes and property, and using food stamps for the first time, you know it's a bad time," Muņoz said. "It would be nice if the city, or people with power, would come up with rent control on commercial property."


Muņoz, who will end his four-decade tradition of having a large family Christmas celebration because of a lack of finances, said he is thankful for what he has and for the opportunity to start fresh.


"When people from Texas hear the news of our shop closing and call to encourage us, then you know it's time to give it another try," Muņoz said. "We're going to be OK."


For more information on the shop at 17144 Main St., call (760) 244-4141 or visit online at www.facebook.com/hesperia.qualitymeats.


Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.