After more than 30 years, downtown Modesto's J.S. West Bargain Annex has closed.
But fear not, bargain shoppers, it's being reborn.
J.S. West closed the store March 1. But the owner of Turlock's Sofa Factory took it over and will bring it back as the Furniture Bargain Annex on Thursday.
J.S. West Vice President Jill Benson said the slowing economy and closure of the company's new furniture store forced the shutdown. Their new furniture shop, which closed about seven years ago, used to feed its inventory to the annex.
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"We had to make a very difficult decision after so many years in the community with the Bargain Annex," she said. "We really didn't expect the store could survive this long after closing the big store. Ultimately, we had to make the business decision to close it."
Instead of letting the Bargain Annex disappear, Ruben Alberto, owner of Alberto's Sofa Factory, has stepped in to reopen it. Alberto was a 30-year upholstery supplier for the Bargain Annex. When he learned the store was closing he decided to take it over to help market his company's couches and custom-made offerings.
The shop still will offer consignment goods.
Alberto said the store will feature more sofas and living room furnishings than before, but there will be items for the entire home as well.
The new Furniture Bargain Annex, 721 Eighth St., opens at 9 a.m. Thursday. It will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Oakdale residents have a new place to work out. Downtown Fitness opened in the heart of the city in October. Since then, the business, open 24 hours, has been carving out its niche.
Owner Pamela Thomas, who has owned the building for 20 years, started the gym after a previous tenant backed out of a plan to open a fitness center.
After investing in tenant improvements to bring the nearly 100-year-old site up to code, Thomas decided to open it herself.
"I became a gym owner sort of by default," she said.
"You know, we seem to be serving a different clientele," she added. "It's really mostly normal people who just want to stay in shape. I want to be really family friendly."
She said being open 24 hours has attracted a wide range of people.
The 5,000-square-foot center offers an assortment of cardio and weight equipment, a personal training room, flat-screen TVs and a boot camp class.
Month-to-month or yearly enrollment is available. The center has more than 300 members.
Thomas plans to install a tanning bed in the next few weeks and would like to add a hydro-massage bed.
"As far as I'm concerned, I am here to stay," she said. "Frankly, I work for cheap, so this is not going anywhere. I know the landlord and she's given a good break in the rent."
Visit Downtown Fitness at 231 E. F St. or call 847-8888. ...
And finally, Oakdale's The Empty Nest has moved, but not far.
The vintage furniture and gift shop moved at the start of last month to a spot just three doors down.
Now at 116 N. Third Ave., the store is the same size as the previous location but has a better configuration, said co-owner Gwen Schmitt.
"It gives us a much homier feel," she said.
In business for four years, Schmitt and longtime best friend and co-owner Jeannette Lawrence sell vintage and new furniture, gift items and other specialty pieces. Call 847-9300 for more information.
Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Marijke Rowland at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; 578-2284; or firstname.lastname@example.org.