Biz Beat

Restaurant, stores close their doors, car dealership goes solar

Turlock’s Smith Chevrolet has recently joined the ranks of businesses that use solar energy. JKB Energy recently installed a 268-kilowatt system at the dealership on Fulkerth Road.
Turlock’s Smith Chevrolet has recently joined the ranks of businesses that use solar energy. JKB Energy recently installed a 268-kilowatt system at the dealership on Fulkerth Road. Ali Cox & Co. Marketing

In general, it’s a lot more fun to write about businesses opening than closing. And I will tell you that in upcoming weeks, I will have exciting news about a variety of new businesses set for our area, including eateries that will be opening in downtown Modesto, Village One and Turlock.

However, today I catch up on a few places that have closed their doors.

The Freebirds World Burrito on Pelandale Avenue closed abruptly earlier this month. A sign on the site briefly told customers that they could visit the other Freebirds in town, on McHenry Avenue.

It’s unfortunate when a business closes, but it’s nice that people can still get their Freebirds fix – I am a fan of the grilled veggie burrito bowl.

When I visited last week, all signage was down and it looked like the place had been gutted already. If I hear of a new tenant moving in, I will let you know.

Dipping a bit into the past, the Dented Chef Too, which opened on Oakdale Road, closed its doors last summer. Longtime Modestans will recall the Dented Chef, which long occupied a space on 13th Street downtown. It closed in 2014 when owner Judi Rackley and her husband retired.

With Rackley’s blessing, Crown’s Creative Kitchens opened a Dented Chef Too in 2015. But after a couple of good months, the store foundered, staff told me. It didn’t carry all of the restaurant equipment that the original did, and some customers found it frustrating. On a positive note, business remains brisk at Crown’s.

And finally, Joyce Gandelman left me a message that she was shuttering Two Old Bags, a thrift store in Roseburg Square that she ran with a friend as a fundraiser for the Senior Law Project. The site was quickly occupied by a new thrift store, however.


Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

5.11 Tactical had its ground “breaching” in Manteca this week. As I reported last year, the company is expanding its warehouse operations in Northern California with a move from Modesto to its new digs.

At the same time, Dan Costa, who started 5.11 Tactical and ran it before selling it in 2007, is moving back into the Spyres Way facility he still owns. Costa, an entrepreneur with a variety of business interests, started First Tactical in 2015.

I couldn’t make it to the “breaching,” but the Manteca Bulletin reported the ceremony started with fireworks to celebrate the start of construction. The 404,000-square-foot distribution center is expected to open in October.


And finally, congratulations to Smith Chevrolet of Turlock, the latest to join the growing number of businesses using solar energy.

Last year, owners Lee and Larry Smith worked with JKB Energy to install a 268-kilowatt system at their Fulkerth Road dealership. According to a news release, the system is aimed at dropping Smith Chevrolet’s monthly electricity bill in half, and produce 91 percent of the energy used on site.

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