Everybody’s business

Mind the Gap
The horrible news buzzed through Caper Acres playground: Baby Gap at the Chico Mall is closing.

Alas, it’s true. The store’s last day in Chico will be Feb. 23, and while no special sales have been announced, employees are promising that if you buy something and it later goes on sale, they’ll do a “price adjustment.”

Said employees have been told they’ll be “absorbed” into the regular Gap store in the mall.

I liked Baby Gap, but preferred the less-pricey duds at the related business, Old Slavey—oops, I meant Old Navy. (The Gap company, which also owns Banana Republic, has been criticized for its use of labor in developing countries.)

And there’s more…
Several other Chico businesses are also experiences changes and closures for various reasons.

Boyd’s Sew & Vac, currently located on Whitman Avenue, has seen tough times in recent years and is closing.

The building that held Dirk’s Automotive on Park Avenue was sold, so Dirk’s moved in with C & M Automotive on East Lassen. The Oroville location lives on.

Calls to the Maaco collision repair car-painting franchise on Park Avenue get messages referring Chicoans to the national number for the chain. Watch for more news on this business in the future; contact me if you know what I’m talking about and want to weigh in.

And the Jan. 21 death of James Balch at age 75 leaves patrons of Balch’s Cameras on East Avenue offering their sympathies and wondering where they’ll get old-school supplies such as photo paper, developing chemicals and the like.

Takin’ it to the street
My nerdy researcher dreams are slowly coming true.

It was July 2004 the last time I wrote about Street Knowledge, which sounds a little like a gang but is actually software developed by planning, GIS and real estate services firm Upstate CA. Thanks to a contract with the city of Gridley, they’d mapped that town using Web-based planning software. I wrote about how cool it was and how I wished they’d do the same thing for the entire county, specifically Chico. It would make my job a lot easier and keep me from bugging the people in the county assessor’s office when their computers are down.

With Street Knowledge you just plug in an address and find an assessor’s parcel number, or vice versa, or find zoning information, parcel maps and aerial photos. Recently, Kent Lundberg, principal of Chico-based Upstate CA, let me know the service had been updated, and that more parcels had been added elsewhere in the county.

Well, the bad news is Chico still isn’t on there. But the day I do that big expose on Toadtown, I’m set, baby.

It’s available online at www.upstate-ca.com/butte/butte_county.

Bust a nut
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited about the California Nut Festival, scheduled to shake Chico Feb. 18 to 25.

Presented by the Far West Heritage Association (the Chico Museum folks), the first-time event will promote tree nuts via activities ranging from a culinary camp and blossom tours to an “agri-bee” with agriculture-related spelling words and definitions.

For more information call 892-1525.