Biz Beat

Little Jewel gets bigger; new rides from Modesto to SFO, Amazon goes solar

Joanne Miller enters The Little Jewel in downtown Modesto on Tuesday. The business has recently expanded to include additional space on K Street.
Joanne Miller enters The Little Jewel in downtown Modesto on Tuesday. The business has recently expanded to include additional space on K Street.

The Little Jewel isn’t so little anymore.

The downtown boutique, which opened last year, has expanded into a new space in the same building, while retaining its original K Street address.

Manager Carol Squires, who relocated from an earlier business on Kansas Avenue, said downtown has been a great location.

“You get people from the city, from the county, from AT&T,” she said. “They love to take walks. I love the people downtown.”

The boutique features new, vintage and upcycled items. Squires said she is working with other artists in a “creative associates” arrangement. Among the people who contribute to the store are artists who work in wood, metal, paint and other media. And Joann Miller, now 83, who takes vintage and other clothing pieces and augments them in addition to making her own pieces.

Squires said she has been having fun working with clients and artists to reimagine everything from furniture to fixtures. There was one minor setback – someone broke through the glass front door last week and made off with money “and even my lunch,” she said. But a quick call to Lowe’s resulted in new security doors, and Squires said her outlook on the future of downtown Modesto remains positive.

“We are getting new restaurants,” she said. “It’s so exciting.”

Indeed, I know of at least four new eating spots opening downtown in the next few months. More on those soon.

Find The Little Jewel at 1123 K St., Modesto.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat: Need a ride to the airport? Specifically, San Francisco International?

Central Valley Airporter has recently started offering daily service from Modesto through Manteca to SFO. The trips pick up at the DoubleTree hotel in downtown Modesto at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and at the Ramada Inn on Sisk Road 10 minutes later. After stops in Manteca, Tracy and Livermore, the van is scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International 2 hours and 15 minutes after departure from the DoubleTree. Return trips from SFO depart at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The fare is $60 each way. Reservations aren’t required, but if you reserve your spot online you can save $5.

For more information, go to or call 209-679-7777.

▪ And finally, Amazon is amping up – so to speak – its commitment to clean energy, and the distribution centers in our area are among the first to be affected.

Earlier this month, the Internet retail giant announced plans to instal solar panels on its fulfillment facilities around the world. The company will install large-scale solar systems on rooftops of more than 15 fulfillment centers in the U.S. this year and is planning to expand that to 50 centers globally by 2020.

Spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said in an email that the Patterson and Tracy centers will be among the first wave of participants.