Biz Beat

Endzone shop a must for Raiders fans

I attended the Oakland Raiders game against the Detroit Lions at the Coliseum and one thing is clear -- you gotta have your silver and black gear. From the makeshift tailgate sites along the frontage roads to the stadium parking lots, it as all things Raiders all the time. From skull-and-crossbones flags to official NFL team jerseys, members of the Raiders Nation displayed their excellent commitment. For those not similarly outfitted, Raiders fans or not, it would be a long day.

That's where Dwight Simpson Sr. comes in. He and wife Kameelah Simpson are the new owners of Modesto's Silver and Black Endzone, which opened in 2002. The pro sports shop specializing in Raiders merchandise is in a small strip shopping center at 950 Oakdale Road, Suite L, just north of Scenic Drive. Tucked away in a row of shops behind the KFC outlet, the husband-and-wife team have stocked up on clothing, collectibles and other Raiders gear.

Fans will find a large selection of team jerseys, T-shirts, sweat shirts, jackets, hats and more. The shop also carries a variety of items to deck out vehicles: flags, stickers, magnetized emblems and such. For those who want to carry over their team spirit to home and office, the Simpsons also stock polo shirts, banners, coffee mugs, key chains, belt buckles, money clips and novelties. And if that's not enough, their store also has autographed helmets, footballs, photos and other collectibles.

Silver and Black Endzone will add Warriors basketball merchandise when the NBA gets going and bring back Oakland A's items next baseball season. It has a VIP customer discount program, which includes mail alerts on sale items and updates on new merchandise.

Another store extra: A couple of limos carry about 40 fans to home games. The $75 per person fee covers the transportation and tailgating costs, but tickets aren't included. It'll be a full day, leaving from the shop at 7 a.m. and returning about 12 hours later. But with all that new Raiders' gear to wear and display, the more time fans have to flaunt it the better -- because blending in just isn't good enough. Face paint, please.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 529-9175 or go to

What is it: The Blvd Cafe & Grill at 2717 Coffee Road, Suite A, in Modesto. It's in the Western Plaza shopping center. Phone, 526-3380.

What it does: The Blvd Cafe & Grill offers a variety of traditional American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Items on the breakfast menu include fresh fruit bowls, muffins, pas-tries and bagels. Lunch and dinner specials include salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. Specialty items include the California wrap, teriyaki mushroom bacon cheeseburger and breakfast wrap. The Blvd Cafe & Grill also serves espresso drinks, including the coffee crush (a shot of espresso with ice cream or nonfat yogurt and choice of syrup).

Who runs it: Stephen and Erin Lawler, a husband-wife team, are first-time business owners. The Blvd Cafe & Grill opened in mid-July. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

What makes it special: The Blvd Cafe & Grill focuses on creating a family-friendly atmosphere. It has a kids' menu, and each young patron gets a toy.

What is it: Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe at 3401 Dale Road, Suite 508, in Modesto's Vintage Faire Mall. Phone, 526-0054. Web site,

What it does: Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe offers a variety of gelato, Italian panini sandwiches and crepes. Gelato is an extra-rich Italian ice cream. Flavors include Swiss chocolate couverture, white chocolate raspberry, strawberry cheesecake, cookies and cream, and peanut butter chocolate chunk. Some signature crepes include the Californian (cheese, mushrooms, artichokes, onions and black beans) and Strawberry Royale (fresh strawberries, banana, nuts, chocolate or nutella sauce). Sorbettos, nonfat, nondairy drinks similar to frozen smoothies, also are available.

Who runs it: Roger Cottman is the franchisee. Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe has been in operation since 2004 and has more than 20 U.S. outlets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

What makes it special: Melt Gelato & Crepe Cafe offers a menu with a European flair.

Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, Business Editor, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or