When Elgin opened A Toucha Class in 1979, Stockton Boulevard, once historic Highway 99, had become a neglected thoroughfare. There were great old neighborhoods surrounding him and he knew it wouldn’t be neglected forever.
Initially operating as a sports bar, restaurant and night club, he paid HBO for the rights to show professional fights – Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler—this was before cable TV. There was live entertainment. Local and big name greats like Buddy Ace, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Heartsman and live comedy every Sunday night. “Our generation appreciated live entertainment – they couldn’t get enough – so Thursday through Saturday nights there was a mature crowd who came out. People considered it a neighborhood bar that appealed to everyone.” Elgin noted.
“There are good memories along the Boulevard. Back when I worked at the Sacramento County Hospital, now the Med Center, we would go to work early and watch the Coca Cola bottles on the conveyor belt. The Rendezvous, a restaurant and nightclub at Stockton and Broadway, was one our friendly competitors. Stockton Boulevard is probably one of the safest places you can go – it’s patrolled by four different agencies – City, County, CHP and Med Center. I promoted my place as being safe. The security measures I took made people feel secure. Regardless of what color people are, business owners are here to make money and be successful. Everyone was welcome.”
When approached about serving on the Partnership board, he knew it was doable. For Elgin it’s about the continued pursuit of the mission to revitalize Stockton Boulevard. “With all the positive things happening on the Boulevard, we don’t want to leave the job half done. It’s for the benefit of the entire neighborhood and the city. It takes dedicated people. I’ve been involved for such a long period of time I wanted to raise my level of contribution. I’m already at the meetings, so if there’s a need for me to serve than I’ll be there. .”
Side note: A Toucha Class was a soul food restaurant serving Southern cuisine—oxtails, short ribs, fried chicken, fresh fish, chitterlings and hot water cornbread. Tiger Woods and his dad ate here when they were in town to play in The Raley’s Gold Rush Classic golf tournament. The current owner, Val James, operates A Toucha Class/Play Makers and embraces all of Elgin’s philosophies to deliver good entertainment, good food and good memories to everyone.