DÉJÀ VU. Once known for wide open gambling, El Cerrito now has a couple of Internet sweepstakes businesses. They offer services like Internet access or faxing, and the chance to play on-line games for cash prizes. Business plans seem to be finely tuned to make the enterprises appear legal. The start of a new trend? We’ll see. But remember, the house always wins.
BIZ UPDATE. El Cerrito Martial Arts moved a block to a prominent corner spot at Stockton and San Pablo.
The best guesstimate is that El Cerrito Natural Grocery’s new Annex will open by June. A big delay now is waiting for PG&E to connect power and the utility has no date on when that issue can be resolved. Does any reader have some clout with PG&E that can help expedite the hookup? With the solar arrays that virtually cover the roofs of the buildings sunshine should eventually be generating a lot of their electricity.
It’s gone! The Hacienda bit the dust, or created some, just days ago. The landmark building at Macdonald and San Pablo is being demolished to make way for additional parking at the Grocery Outlet, which is what will become of the long-abandoned Lucky store.
Across the street, Planet Fitness opened their full service, low cost fitness center on schedule. Between Planet Fitness and Grocery Outlet this Richmond intersection will be vastly improved going from two deserted stores to two thriving enterprises.
Welcome “Sonny”! Sirak Tegbaru opens his new State Farm insurance agency for business on March 1st at 10810 San Pablo Avenue, Suite 40 (across from Nibs). Then mark April 27th on your calendar for his gala grand opening celebration at 11 a.m. Along with food and music, those vintage Big Scissors of the Chamber will make their ribbon cutting appearance.
CATCHING UP. Recalling some of the flack I took for supporting the El Cerrito sales tax hike three years ago I notice the rate in neighboring Albany will be 9.5% beginning April 1st, the same as El Cerrito’s. We will no longer share the highest rate in the area with Union City.
The Small Business Administration launched a new Web site aggregating information about the Affordable Care Act (the new health care law). Find answers to all your questions at www.sba.gov/healthcare.
Soroptimist International of El Cerrito, an Associate Member of the Chamber, calls attention to its fourth annual speaker series: “Every Woman Has a Story…Women in the Media.” On March 3rd, meet Elayne Savage, Ph.D., an internationally recognized author known as “Queen of Rejection.”
Then on March 24th, Andrea Torrice and Paloma Pavel, Ph.D., speak. The location is Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley. For tickets call Barbara Lanier at (510) 527-8796.
Visit Velocity Lock & Key, 10058 San Pablo Ave., and meet Haley, the new canine and VP in charge of client relations.
Finally, kudos to Mouton’s Catering for a very tasty lunch at our February meeting. If you missed out, attend this month’s Chamber of Commerce meeting at the El Cerrito Royale (March 19th at noon) and bon appetit! Guest speaker: Frank Biafore from Playland Not-at-the-Beach to talk about joining El Cerrito's Relay For Life. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org