Gravel graduates; a look to the past

Chico’s PRO Aggregates celebrates new landscape showroom; Chico Chamber of Commerce turns 110

I was told recently that I write a lot about restaurants and food in this space. In retrospect, I suppose that’s true. For one, I happen to love good food. And two, there’s a lot happening in the restaurant scene here in Chico. But clearly there’s movement in other sectors as well, so here we go.

Take PRO Aggregate. The decade-old gravel recycling and trucking business (PRO stands for Plains Recycling Operation) has turned a new leaf, and last week held a ribbon-cutting for its new landscape showroom. To reflect its new focus, the business changed its name to PRO Aggregate Stone Center & Landscape Supply. Owner Chelsea Garner was on hand to detail how her business has evolved over the years to meet customers’ needs (view the video on PRO Aggregate Inc.’s Facebook page).

Over the past few years, PRO Aggregate brought in new, drought-tolerant offerings of rocks, sands and other materials and then, during the recent winter rains, had to switch gears, jumping into emergency response mode in helping with the Oroville Dam disaster.

Throughout the month of May, the company is holding sales on supplies like bark and flagstone. Check out the new showroom—in a renovated hog barn—at 3668 Hicks Lane or log onto for more info.

Happy 110th Way back in 1907, when the streets of downtown Chico were still dirt and Annie Bidwell resided in her namesake mansion, the Chico Chamber of Commerce was born.

Interestingly, 1907 also marked the first publishing of a city directory, complete with the names and occupations of all 3,500 residents. An excerpt from the introduction: “Chico is known as the ‘City of Roses,’ and countless varieties of this lovely flower bloom twelve months of the year in the open air.” Chico Sanitarium was located at Eighth Avenue and The Esplanade and advertised “elecro Turkish massage therapy.”

Clearly a lot has changed since then, and we can thank the chamber for its work attracting businesses here and keeping them happy enough to stay put.

Beat the heat In Chico, there’s a ton of fun to be had in the outdoors, but when the thermostat begins to tick past the century mark, it’s time to head inside. For families, Cinemark offers its Summer Movie Clubhouse, a series of 10 kids’ films, for $1 per person per movie. If you expect to see more than a few, you can opt for the whole package for $5 per person. The first showing is The LEGO Batman Movie June 14-15. Go to for more info.

One food item for ya A few weeks ago I announced that Christian Steinbach (of Christian Michaels Ristorante) had bought Forcella Italian Bistro and was working on an overhaul. Turns out, as of this week, Forcella is no more. But fear not. The space on Mangrove Avenue will be revamped and reopened as the new site of Steinbach’s California Pasta Productions. Stay tuned for updates.