Goodbyes, hellos

A few closures and several exciting openings in the business community

Over the past few weeks, it seems like almost every corner of Chico is changing, whether it’s a new business moving in or an old one leaving. Here’s some of the shake-up in the business community:

No more Monks The closure of downtown’s Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro came as a shock to me and, it seems, the rest of Chico. When a friend of mine told me it was gone, I stared at her in disbelief. “Surely they’re just closed for the holidays,” I said. Not so. A sign on the restaurant in early January noted that it would be closed for a few days, but it never reopened. I can’t find Monks’ Facebook page anymore and the phone number is no longer in service.

The real rub for local patrons is that Monks’ gift cards were being sold at Costco in late 2015 and are no longer usable. There’s good news, though—I talked to Costco customer service last week and they are giving cash refunds for the gift cards, or you can get Costco Cash.

If you or one of your friends ended up with $50 to Monks under your Christmas tree, rest assured that you can take the cards back and score a lot of $1.50 hot dogs and sodas at Costco.

Swirl no more U-Swirl on Mangrove Avenue is no longer in business, at least in Chico. The chain yogurt shop’s departure comes on the heels of Brain Freeze’s closure on the north side of town.

Now open Panera Bread and Noodles and Co. have opened their doors in the Chico Mall parking lot. Now you can officially get your carb-load on.

Almendra Winery and Distillery also kicks off its grand opening in Durham this Friday, Jan. 29, with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. Locally owned by Carol and Berton Bertagna, the winery has already started bottling and eight wines are currently available. Distilled spirits are expected to be available in March.

Another new business on the block is European Wax Center. I have to admit, I was a tad hesitant about the place. But three days before our company photos, I realized my eyebrows needed some help. I popped in about 10 minutes before closing (8 p.m.!) and was pleasantly surprised.

The atmosphere doesn’t feel like a strip mall at all—they are in the Safeway shopping center on Mangrove—and the service was impeccable. Plus, I no longer look like Bert from Sesame Street, and it was nearly pain-free, all thanks to Kendra.