Everybody’s business

Oser’s main level

Oser’s main level

The big O
A landmark downtown building is getting a makeover.

Oser’s Department Store, at the corner of Main and Third streets, was built in 1889, with remodels in 1925, 1939 (after a fire) and 1958. Many longtime Chicoans remember buying their clothes there, and it’s listed as a historic building with the state of California.

Wayne Cook, who has restored several such structures in Chico, bought the building—which had housed Sports LTD for 22 years—in fall 2003. But he sold it, and by February 2005 it was jointly owned by Michael McCrady, who is a local real estate agent, and members of the Silacci and Eandi families, according to county assessor’s records.

The application was filed by Scott and Ellen Stephens of Vina and went before the city’s Development Review Committee on Oct. 14.

My calls to the Stephenses and McCrady were not returned by press time.

The proposal is to divide, with the help of architect John C. Anderson, the 15,200-square-foot building into four or five “retail lease spaces with partial lofts.” There will be at least four new doors along Third Street (see illustration, left.) They also want to return the second-level windows, which were sealed over years ago, to their original glory of eight bays overlooking downtown.

So, where does that leave Attic Treasures, the antique mall that moved in in February 2004?

Mary Nieland, who owns the shop with Jerry Brewster, says they hadn’t heard of these plans, but just renewed their lease and had been told they can stay “until we don’t want to lease it anymore.”

Movable feast
And here’s some news of another local landmark. Guzzetti’s Catering has been sold.

The buyer is Forest Ranch resident Jennifer Kimbrough Ostendorf, whom David Guzzetti praised as “an excellent cook” this week in an e-mail to friends and supporters.

He’ll work with her to help transition the company, which will retain the same name, employees and recipes. “I am honored about this and I look forward to moving on, at the same time missing my many repeat clients and my excellent staff,” Guzzetti wrote.

He also stuck in a plug for community radio station KZFR 90.1, whose twice-yearly pledge drive is in full swing. Give frequently and often.

Say Watts
Anthony Watts is at it again. Not only has he (with the help of his wife) produced a new baby in recent weeks, but the TV weatherman and school board member has released a few other projects worth noting.

One is the streaming video system for the City Council Chambers that allows city and school district meetings to be viewed live online. Very cool.

Also, Watts is installing digital solar-powered weather stations at Cohasset Elementary and Marsh Junior High schools, both with Web site interfaces.