Biz Beat: Oakdale retiree's hobby comes in 'handy'

pguerra@modbee.comMay 4, 2013 

    alternate text Patty Guerra
    Title: Breaking news editor
    Coverage areas: Breaking news, business
    Bio: Patty Guerra has been an editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 13 years. She has a journalism degree from Fresno State and previously worked at the Turlock Journal and Merced Sun-Star.
    Recent stories written by Patty
    On Twitter: @pattyguerra

— A couple of years ago, Linda Ellenwood retired as activities director at the Dale Commons assisted living community. She thought she would enjoy hanging out at the Oakdale ranch she runs with her husband. And she did — for two years.

"I didn't like not being around people," Ellenwood said. A reseller for 30 years, she decided to turn her hobby into a profession and opened Femme Bricouleuse about six weeks ago.

What is Femme Bricouleuse?

It's a question she gets a lot.

"My husband said, 'Nobody's going to know what that is!' " Ellenwood said with a laugh. It's French for "handy woman."

The store sells gifts, home décor and garden items, including the occasional plant. Ellenwood salvages and restores some items; others are new.

Thirty years ago, Ellenwood said, she had a store in Lafayette. After a career directing activities and planning events, she said, she wanted to get back into it full time.

"It's been fun," she said. "I've made so many new friends."

Femme Bricouleuse is at 150 E. E St., Oakdale. The store is open from10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Ellenwood is planning an open house to celebrate the store opening on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

A business website has named a former Modestan the most important woman younger than 30 in the tech sector.

Business Insider bestowed the honor on Libby Leffler, 28, a 2002 graduate of Modesto High School and a 2006 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Leffler served as Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sanberg's business lead for three years before assuming the post of strategic partner manager for the social network.

In its feature, the website cites this quote from "what people are saying" about Leffler:

"Libby is a rising star in the Silicon Valley. … There is no question that Libby is one of the most important women under 30 in tech — she is a complete rock star. I also find her to be hilarious and a very cool person."

And finally, just in time for the summer weather, Baskin-Robbins in Ripon is reopening.

The store, at 150 N. Wilma Ave., held a grand opening Saturday and is welcoming customers with its sweet, cold treats.

Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Patty Guerra at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; (209) 578-2343; or

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