Biz Beat

Children’s clothing boutique opening in downtown Modesto

Jack and Jane Kids is a new business on J street in Modesto. Opening day is Wednesday.
Jack and Jane Kids is a new business on J street in Modesto. Opening day is Wednesday.

It’s nice to see some of the good things happening in Modesto’s downtown these days. Although a number of storefronts and offices remain empty, others are getting new life.

That includes the spot at 1321 J St., which now houses Jack and Jane Kids, which is set for a grand opening Wednesday.

According to owner Sylvia Skochenko, the store features clothes for newborns to age 14. Brands include Guess, Carter, Oshkosh, Bonnie Jean, Hello Kitty and Papyrus.

Skochenko is a mother of four and a registered nurse. Though she has worked in health care for more than 15 years, she said, she’s always had a passion for fashion and creativity.

“I have traveled the world and have been inspired by the many cultures I have seen,” she said in an email. “European fashion has particularly fascinated me.”

The business is a family affair – Skochenko’s husband, Scott, is her business partner. His background in business and accounting seems like a good complement to Sylvia’s fashion sense.

When Sylvia called me about her store, it made me think about that adage “everything old is new again.” I remember a couple of children’s clothing stores downtown. One was Hammaway’s; the name of the other, which I believe was located near Valley Sporting Goods, escapes me. Even my mom, who I believe knows just about everything, remembers the store but not the name. I am hoping one of my readers can help me with that.

But my point is that the revitalization of downtown seems to be a return to the locally owned store, where the owners and the staff know their customers and service is paramount. I sure hope the trend continues.

Jack and Jane Kids is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 209-422-3944 or go to

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT – On a sadder note, a longtime Modesto restaurant has shut its doors once again. My longtime boss and now friend – and source – Mark Vasché pointed out that the former Lyons restaurant on McHenry Avenue is again for lease.

Since its incarnation as Lyons, the restaurant has opened a few times, most recently as The Lion Sports Bar and Grill. It’s been renovated several times, but nobody has made a go of it. It’s a prime location on one of Modesto’s busiest streets; hopefully someone will make the Lion roar once again.

▪ A longtime Northern San Joaquin Valley beverage distributor has a new owner.

According to a news release I received a few days ago, beverage wholesalers DBI Beverage Inc. and Valley Wide Beverage Co. acquired distribution rights and related assets of Cencal Beverage Co. LLC of Ceres.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to the release, La Vergne, Tenn.-based DBI will service customers in its new territory out of Cencal’s Ceres location; Fresno-based Valley Wide will service customers in its newly acquired territory from its distribution site in Fresno.

DBI and its affiliates also have California beer distribution operations in Stockton, Chico, Napa, Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, Truckee and Ukiah. With the acquisition of Cencal, the group will distribute “an estimated 29 million cases of beverage products annually and employ approximately 1,100 associates,” the news release said. “Valley Wide will now distribute an estimated 8 million cases of beverage product annually out of Fresno with a team of approximately 275 associates.”

Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Patty Guerra: 209-578-2343,, @PattyGuerra