The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Making change; Clerk cultivates community in Midtown market
Jane Yakovlev with her skateboard. Photo by Jason Pierce | News Editor | [email protected]

Jane Yakovlev with her skateboard. Photo by Jason Pierce | News Editor | [email protected]



At the most urban community college campus in Sacramento, there’s a woman in the parking lot slipping out of the door of her car and hopping on her skateboard. She uses it to weave through the students who are on their phones and walking with their heads down to and from class.

Jane Yakovlev, 21, attends City College and majors in environmental science, but a big part of her life resides in the midtown Sacramento area because of her job and her hobbies. 

One day, Yakovlev and her boyfriend, Clay Wright, were going to the Pacific Market on P and 25th streets in midtown, and they saw a hiring sign. The market is their neighborhood grocery store, and they would go there all the time to get ice cream. 

“We ate at least one or two IT’s-ITs a day for a month straight,” Wright says of the chocolate-covered ice cream sandwich that stacks two oatmeal cookies on either side of a slab of ice cream.

When Wright saw the help wanted sign at the market, he told Yakovlev, “You should get a job here.”

The next day Yakovlev was filling out an application, and within a week, she was working behind the counter. Since then, she has made many friends with the people who come into the market.

Shay Fishman, 25, allowed her friendship with Yakovlev to blossom at the market. She is now her best friend, and they skateboard together. Fishman calls Yakovlev “Midtown Rihanna,” because when they are out dancing, Yakovlev sees many neighborhood friends, mostly people she knows from Pacific Market. 

Fishman spent too much time giggling by the counter with Yakovlev. Now she is banned from the market while Yakovlev is working because the owners looked at the surveillance cameras and noticed the amount of time the two spent talking.

“I don’t go to the market anymore,” Fishman says. “I’m not allowed there. Otherwise, I would kick it there with her all the time.” 

Like Fishman, there are many customers who enjoy Yakovlev’s company. She is known for letting people tell their stories and listening. This is probably why she makes friends so easily. Whenever Yakovlev goes out in midtown Sacramento, she sees people she knows. Both of her closest friends, Fishman and Wright, notice this when they get together to skateboard.

“I get influence and power from people themselves — and feeling their energy,” says Yakovlev. 

With so many friends, Yakovlev can’t always be doing what she thinks other people would want her to do. She goes to school, has a job and pursues hobbies that require solitude.
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“I love being around people,” Yakovlev says, “but when I find myself hanging out with people too consecutively — day after day — I need to also get my own time to unwind.”

Amid all her interests and duties,  Yakovlev finds balance through her emotions. She strives to create a harmony in her environment by making choices that moderate the tempo of her life. She practices patience as a technique for good communication, and she doesn’t consider this going above and beyond her duties at work. 

Reading books has helped Yakovlev better understand the world around her, ever since the beginning of her relationship with Wright when they began pursuing reading. 

“All of a sudden I got really into books,” Wright says.

A philosophy course at City College this semester is also adding to Yakovlev’s wisdom. She studies logical reasoning in the class, and she discusses her classroom knowledge with her closest friends. 

Yakovlev also uses logic while she’s working at the market. As a small woman, her job sometimes puts her in scary situations. To remain mellow when certain people use their size and unpredictable behavior to intimidate her, she reasons with them.

“I’m not going to get aggressive with you and tell you to leave,” says Yakovlev about problem customers. “Do your thing for a bit, but then you’ve got to go.”

Yakovlev’s boyfriend, the market owners and people from the neighborhood also help with her safety at work. Some regular customers have stayed in the store and chatted with Yakovlev while sketchy customers loiter in the market. 

Yakovlev thought at first that her job at Pacific Market would be temporary. Yet so many lessons learned and so many friendships made still keep her there.

 “It’s really refreshing,” Yakovlev says.


Travis Latta

Guest Writer

[email protected]

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