Everybody’s business

Stationery not stationary
That huge gap downtown on Broadway is what used to be Sierra Stationers. The new owners of the hometown stationery store have decided to move the business and sell only to commercial customers.

“We are changing the focus of the business,” said Rick Linton, who, with his wife, Janet, bought the business a little over a month ago. As of June 1, Sierra Stationers was back in action at 554 Rio Lindo Ave. It will be taking orders and delivering office supplies and furniture to business customers.

Pete Dow, who bought the business in 1960, has nothing but praise for the Lintons—“very fine, local people.” (Rick Linton used to be a partner in the old Shop-n-Save and Food 4 Less; Janet was in agricultural sales and property management.) But he acknowledged it’s still hard to see the downtown store empty. “It kind of tears you apart to be a part of something for 40 years and see it shut down and moved elsewhere.”

Dow co-owned Sierra Stationers with his wife, Jo Anne. The business dates to 1938 and once included stores in Redding and Oroville, the latter shutting down shortly after the dam was completed.

Dropping the retail end of things is a business decision Dow understands. Sierra Stationers was doing an admirable job of competing with the big-box retailers, but times have certainly changed for owners of small businesses.

Do you Kopy?
Jeff Dow, who for 25 years worked with his parents at Sierra Stationers, had parted ways with the business shortly before it closed. He’s already set up shop in Mr. Kopy, on Main Street.

Dow said owner Don Kidd called him up with an idea he’d had for some time: an office supply store area inside the copy shop. “I thought it was a great idea,” said Dow, who “took a three-month business plan and squeezed it into 13 days” when he learned downtown Chico would be without a stationery store.

Besides the supplies Downtown School and Office Supply will have in stock, customers can order office products (printer toner and all that) and get them by the next day. It will even deliver, in a converted PT Cruiser. “A couple of wholesalers gave us the big-box prices,” Dow said.

The new shop area is accented by “Pink Floyd,” a huge, pink flamingo kite hanging from the ceiling. Dow is going for a bird theme in the “colorful and vibrant” store.

Oh tell, motel
The Marriott people are submitting building plans for the already-approved motels to be located along Highway 99 near Cal Skate. There will actually be two different types of accommodations there, including the fancier Residence Inn.

Marriott is on Fortune’s list of the best 100 companies to work for in America. It already has 2,600 “lodging properties.” (They also own the Ritz-Carlton and Ramada International brands, plus some golf courses. And remember the old Great America theme parks? Those were cool. Marriott unloaded them to other owners in 1985.)