Biz Beat

May 31, 2014

Business Beat: Elephant Bar closes, but there is brighter news ahead

The Elephant Bar in Modesto will close, but a Turlock business is expanding and two food processors are interested in the city’s industrial park.

Biz Beat

Latest news from the Modesto-area business scene

More bad news this week.

I heard from a couple of people who work there that the Elephant Bar Restaurant, on Dale Road near Vintage Faire Mall, will close in the next couple of weeks.

A manager at the local restaurant said she was not authorized to speak about the matter, but I reached Leslie Liberatore, public relations spokeswoman for Elephant Bar, via email, and she confirmed the closure.

“Modesto will be closing mid-June,” she said. The closure will affect 69 employees.

“The reason for the closure is there simply isn’t enough traffic at that location to support the business.” Liberatore said.

Elephant Bar apparently has had a rough time of it in recent years. A Santa Barbara location closed last year, and The Record newspaper of Stockton reported that the restaurant there will close by mid-June due to a lack of business.

Elephant Bar opened in Modesto 10 years ago, in a building occupied by Coco’s for 25 years.

The Costa Mesa-based restaurant started in 1980 and grew from there, focusing on “bold Asian flavor,” according to its website.

In brighter news, the former Del Taco restaurant on East F Street in Oakdale is showing signs of life. A reader noticed there is construction going on at the site and asked about it. I called the city and learned that a Wendy’s is going in there. Construction is moving quickly; the company just got its building permit last week. If I learn when it will open, I will put that in a future column.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat

Orchard Supply Hardware, which recently completed a renovation to its Oakdale Road site, celebrated its reopening on Saturday with festivities and a $2,000 donation to the Modesto Garden Club. According to a press release, the money will go to help the horticulture program at Davis High School. The greenhouse at Davis recently was rebuilt and updated.

U.S. Cold Storage in Turlock is expanding. Documents filed with the city show that operators of the distribution plant are seeking to add 118,957 square feet of storage space. U.S. Cold Storage moved into the Turlock Regional Industrial Park, then known as the Westside Industrial Specific Plan, in summer 2008.

More things are happening at TRIP, as city officials renamed it, thinking that WISP wouldn’t be as effective in attracting industry. Two more food processors are in talks to move into the industrial park. The city hasn’t yet given the names of the businesses, pending finalization of negotiations.

That, along with the mysterious Project XX in Patterson, offers promise to an area that sure could use the jobs. As reported by my colleague J.N. Sbranti, Project XX will be double the size of the massive Amazon Distribution Center, which opened last year in the Keystone Business Park.

Hopefully, soon we will know what is behind these developments. It’s sure more fun to report on those than closures like the Elephant Bar.

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