Everybody’s business

Get up from the dance floor
Club Sole, Chico’s only ballroom dance club, is closing.

“There is a huge market for it,” said co-owner Luke Scherba, of the genre that includes swing, Latin dance and other styles. “We had a pretty steady crowd.”

The patrons of Club Sole, which serves no alcohol, have been a diverse group, from teens and college students to older folks. “There was no set crowd that was our regulars. That was really cool,” Scherba said. When the patrons heard the club was in financial trouble (he said the rent was set to rise “several hundred dollars” after its nine-month lease expired), several offered to work for free or help them find a new place.

“We looked at several different facilities,” said Scherba (the others involved are Holly Shippen and Beau Scarborough), but none matched the Almond Orchard Shopping Center location in terms of price and the presence of a $25,000 wood dance floor. But Scherba decided it was time to shelve Sole for awhile. “What it comes down to is, I’m 21 and it’s not working now,” said Scherba, promising to come back in a few years with a stronger business plan and more support. The Web site www.danceclubsole.com will live on with updated song lists and more.

The last Friday-night dance (they draw nearly 200 people) will be June 27, and the next day will be the final dance marathon—a popular event that last time resulted in a couple dancing nonstop for nearly 10 hours.

Lucrative legwork?
Steve Kenny of Los Molinos has figured out a way to turn public records available to anyone for the asking into a marketing business: Pulse of the County.

“My slogan is, “If it’s new, you’ll know about it,’” said Kenny, who also has a consulting business called Lone Wolf Marketing.

He used to be in a “tip club,” where salespeople shared leads, but he soon found that he was the only one sharing, so he quit. Soon, other members “started calling me and saying, ‘Steve, can I get those leads?’”

Now, he charges $45 a month to deliver weekly, on Mondays, carefully sorted lists of new businesses in one of three counties: Butte, Shasta or Tehama. Considering the legwork involved and that Butte County charges $13 for fictitious business statements alone, and Kenny gets Chico and Oroville city licenses as well, the deal has already proven worthwhile for 40 subscribers.

Whoa, Wal-Mart
Earlier this month, the city Planning Commission decided that, when considering if Wal-Mart could divide two pieces of land for its nearly 100,000-square-foot expansion, it couldn’t legally weigh in on the impacts—traffic and otherwise—of the larger store, which would include a supermarket.

That development upset Brett Jolley, an attorney for Chico resident John Shannon. He said the city has to consider the “whole of the action,” meaning applying water quality laws and other standards to the project. Jolley’s client isn’t letting the matter rest, however, and on June 12 filed an appeal of the commission’s decision to OK the negative declaration that would let the project move forward.

The appeal will be heard by the City Council, probably in mid-July, said Senior Planner Patrick Murphy.