Years ago, Martin Dominguez, 46, aspired to be a business owner. He now owns two, but it took that first business to introduce him to the second one.
Dominguez spent seven years working at the former Weyerhaeuser box plant near Lacey, but he also spent Saturdays at Paco’s Tacos — a business that was opened by a friend in about 2002 — wanting to learn more about running a business.
He learned the business and then bought it in 2009, turning it into more than just a “taqueria,” or a place that simply serves tacos. Dominguez wanted it to be a place for dinner, too, he said.
Dominguez, originally from El Paso, Texas, introduced Tex-Mex ingredients and added a wet burrito, chicken fajitas and a California-style burrito stuffed with french fries, among other items.
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There’s also the Cowboy burrito with carne asada steak, and the Seahawks burrito with chicken, carnitas pork, grilled onions, rice, beans and avocado.
It hasn’t all been easy, he said. The recession was a challenge, but Dominguez vowed to avoid layoffs.
“We kept going, we kept plugging away and we survived it,” he said. “As of late, things are picking up.”
Meanwhile, Peggy Scott, the former longtime owner of Oskar’s, has sold the business only to see it close months later.
Still hearing from old customers urging her to open it again, and familiar with Martin because she eats at Paco’s Tacos, the two hatched a plan to reopen Oskar’s. They also worked out this arrangement: Dominguez will run the business, while Scott works there and lends her expertise about recipes and the food.
The business reopened in March and is back to serving its well-known potato salad, sauerkraut, a selection of German meats and a breaded pork loin, otherwise known as schnitzel.
But even a new-old business can have a hiccup or two.
Oskar’s was known for selling German bread, but its previous supplier decided to end that relationship. Dominguez was undeterred, though, deciding that he could bake the bread and pretzel’s at Paco’s and bring it to Oskar’s.
He’s also applied for a liquor license to sell beer and wine, and Oktoberfest at Oskar’s is set for the end of September.
“If I follow the same business model, I can’t fail,” Dominguez said.
Paco’s Tacos and Oskar’s German Deli LLC
Owner: Martin Dominguez.
Locations: Paco’s Tacos is at 4520 Lacey Boulevard SE, Lacey. Oskar’s German Deli is in Lacey Market Square, which is anchored by Fred Meyer. Oskar’s is across the parking lot from the store and next to Great Clips.
Years in business: Dominguez bought Paco’s Tacos in 2009 and relaunched Oskar’s, with Peggy Scott, in March.
Employees: Mostly family, plus one employee at Paco’s Tacos. Scott works at Oskar’s, something she wanted to do before she retires, she has said.
Online:Both businesses are on Facebook.
Hours: Paco’s Tacos is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Oskar’s is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Advice to business owners: You have to be committed and be prepared to hustle, Dominguez said.
Did you know? Dominguez grew up in El Paso, Texas, and became a musician, playing guitar and singing at places throughout the area. He later decided he needed to get serious with his life and raise a family, so a prior family connection brought him to Lacey. He’s also worked as a certified nursing assistant and at the former Weyerhaeuser box plant on Union Mills Road. The plant today is owned by International Paper.