Everybody’s business

In the kitty
If you like cats, and you like old stuff, then you’ll love old cats. Just kidding. You’ll love the new PawPrints Quality Thrift Store, opening this week at 2610 Highway 32 in Chico.

The shop benefits the Chico Cat Coalition and Promotion of Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and will be open Wednesday through Saturdays from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

“We’ve got one mini storage room full of really nice items,” said Kathy Halloran, who was set to move the shop into its 500-square-foot space on July 6. “We’re starting small.”

PawPrints is seeking volunteers as well as tax-deductible donations. No clothes or large furniture items are needed, but they’d appreciate books, housewares, linens, collectibles, jewelry and toys.

Almond joy
For those of you who still look to me for almond news, be advised that the “objective” forecast is in—the one that bases yield on actual counts of nuts in the trees.

Released June 30 by the California Agricultural Statistics Service, the forecast for the 2005-06 crop year is 880 million meat pounds. While the average number of nuts “setting in” per tree is down 23.8 percent from 2004, those that are there have an average kernel weight that’s 23.4 percent higher than last year.

Bungalow looker
Recently, I took advantage of an open house in the Barber neighborhood off Park Avenue: two newly built bungalows at 130 W. 20th Street.

I was impressed. Craig Almaguer of Craig Construction Co. has designed and constructed a house, along with a smaller second-dwelling unit, in the style of the 1920s and ’30s. (But with more storage space. My house was built in 1934, and you’d think people didn’t have clothes back then.) The architectural details include Arts and Crafts-style nooks, and even the fence has a bungalow feel. Almaguer, who also did the landscaping, added stainless-steel appliances, Kohler fixtures, Berber carpet and stamped concrete floors and countertops.

The houses are so nice, in fact, that the smaller one looks a little odd fronting an alleyway with a discarded stove in it.

They’re being sold as a pair for $492,000.

Neither confirming nor denying
This time, the Trader Joe’s rumors are downright tantalizing.

I had become jaded due to years of false TJ’s talk being thrown my way. But this time, there’s a little something more believable, more specific about the idea that the tasty, affordable supermarket chain could come Chico’s way.

Jon Basalone, newly promoted this week to vice president of marketing, only whetted my appetite with his cryptic comments.

“We at Trader Joe’s really like the town of Chico,” said Basalone, who added that TJ’s won’t spill the beans on any new project until a lease is signed. When I told him what folks were saying they heard from sources at other TJ’s locations and at the city, he said such rumors are “usually a good indication” that a deal could be near. But then again, that might not be the case at all, he hastened to add.