Out & About

Break out that bankroll

The stock market isn’t in the best shape, so if you’re looking to invest, the smart money might be on land. Here are some of the properties (most of them commercial) and businesses that you can buy, if you have the dough.

This info is usually marketed to the folks with the big bucks, so when I call to inquire further—especially on the “blind ads” where the current owner isn’t named—I don’t have much luck. But one guy was really nice: Peter Siegel of San Ramon, who started California Businesses for Sale because he had a hard time selling a small business he started while attending UCLA. “We don’t care who sees it. It’s public information,” Siegel said cheerily, adding that the typical buyer is someone who is tired of working for others and wants to strike out on his or her own. The firm, with a site at www.CalifBizForSale.com, also offers financing for those looking to buy.

The Miller Mansion: Wow! This is the joint on The Esplanade that looks so swank people mistake it for a tourist site. You can own this mansion for only $1,285,000. The way home prices are going around here, that’s not too bad. It’s on three acres.

A call center: It’s at the airport (282 Convair Ave.), 22,450 square feet plus phone equipment and employee amenities such as bathrooms (always nice) and showers. This used to be Mike’s Mobile Windshield, and it can be yours for the low, low price of $1,250,000

119 Broadway: This group of retail storefronts is up for grabs for $659,000. They were built in 1925 and currently house Island Smoothies, the former Taste of India and second-floor suites.

Wholesale bakery: Picture a wholesale bakery, plus two retail stores, located in Chico and bringing in revenues of $1.1 million a year—with the owner 75 percent absent! Sweet deal, at only $295,000. It was founded in 1993, and “the owners have recently decided to pursue other business opportunities.” John Foley of the BTI Group, a merger and acquisition firm with a Roseville office, is in charge. But don’t call unless you’re serious. “Do I show you a million-dollar home if you have a $100,000 budget?” Foley told me, adding that if I try to find out who the seller is, it could jeopardize a “confidential transaction” and worry the employees.

Catering company: Three trucks, a commissary building and a rental house in Chico come with this business, at an asking price of $285,000 and bringing in $148,000 a year

Dairy Queen: It’s $129,000, "one of a kind in town. Busy intersection."