Everybody’s business

Sad news.

Sad news.

Photo By Tom Angel

Not-so-yummy developments
It seems as if the winter holidays are inevitably followed by a spate of small-business closures. In this case, it’s Aftershock, the CD shop at 318 Broadway, and Sunshine Imports, which sold clothing and supplies for smoking harmless tobacco at 334 Broadway. Also, as of Jan. 18, Craft Warehouse in the Chico Mall will close.

But most disappointing for Chico ice cream-lovers is the demise of Yummy’s Homemade Ice Cream & Deli at the corner of East and Floral avenues. Started in spring of 2002 by Ben and Lainie Johnson, the shop was an immediate town favorite, besting old-timer Shubert’s for the title of Best Dessert in the Chico News & Review’s readers’ poll in 2002 and again in 2003.

Change that channel
In a sudden shakeup at KHSL and KNVN TV, General Manager Tony Kiernan is out and John Stall is in.

Stall led the local Fox affiliate for nine years before resigning in March 2003 over what he called “philosophical” differences with the owners. He’d since been running a successful advertising and marketing company when Ralph Becker, CEO of Catamount Broadcasting, called him and ultimately offered him the job. “It’s an exciting challenge,” said Stall, who’s especially looking forward to working at stations with a news department—something he didn’t have at Fox. “These are two very strong channels, 12 and 24, with a great history.”

Kiernan had resigned after two years. Reached at home, he said, “No comment. Thank you for calling,” and then hung up.

The juice is loose?
Oregon is using California’s bad-on-business reputation to lure businesses—including an upstart Chico company—north.

Tim Bousquet, the former Chico Examiner muckraker who now resides just over our state’s northern border, forwarded us an article that ran in several Oregon newspapers. It turned out to be a Dec. 24 press release from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which talked about new funding by the state Economic and Community Development Department to convince specialty food manufacturers to abandon Northern California for Oregon. One state official called California “the poster child for an unfriendly business climate.”

Dennis Lindberg, quoted in the article, has promised to move his Mulberry Street Juice Company from Chico and employ up to 100 people making organic fruit and vegetable juices in Oregon instead.

Lindberg, who took some tracking down, has yet to actually produce the juice, but even with the product still in the development stage he said he’s already had several offers of venture capital from Oregon sources, including the state government. “We have areas of Oregon competing for us at this point,” said Lindberg. “I don’t want this to be a bash against California, but in Oregon the attitude has been, ‘How can I help you,’ and in California it’s, ‘What can you do for me?’ ” That, combined with tax incentives, lower workers’ compensation costs and other pluses stood in stark contrast to California, where, Lindberg said, “Everyone was gracious but nobody had money.”

Lindberg has lived in Chico for seven years and works in management and sales. He and his family will be moving to Medford in a few weeks. “It’s a little scary. We don’t know anybody up there,” he said.