Biz Beat

Business bubbling up at Modesto’s Century Center

Bubble tea is pictured on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 30, 2015, at T4 on Oakdale Road in Modesto.
Bubble tea is pictured on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 30, 2015, at T4 on Oakdale Road in Modesto.

There’s something new brewing in Modesto, and it’s happening at one of the older shopping centers.

T4 Bubble Tea opened last month at Century Center at Oakdale Road and Orangeburg Avenue on the east side of town.

T4 took over the site long occupied by Starbucks before the coffee giant opened a new standalone shop at Scenic Drive and Oakdale, a few blocks to the south. Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink that has been growing in popularity in recent years, particularly in the Bay Area. The hip crowd here has embraced it, as well – my colleague Brian Clark tells me son Ethan is a big fan and has sent Dad in search of some while studying for finals.

The concoction, also known as bubble milk tea or boba tea, features tea with fruit or milk, to which small balls of tapioca or fruit are added.

Co-owner Jackie Tsu said customers have embraced T4 in its opening weeks.

“Everybody’s learning,” Tsu said. “We are introducing boba tea.”

What makes T4 special is that everything is hand-crafted, she said. Customers come in and order the kind of tea they want, the amount of ice, sweetness and other ingredients. Snacks also are offered.

“All our ingredients are fresh,” Tsu said. “We don’t have powdered tea.”

For the beginner, like me, Tsu suggested selecting green jasmine or Earl Grey tea, and going from there. “We have 12 different add-ons if you like to add on to your tea,” she said.

T4 already has several positive reviews on the Yelp website.

“I'm so happy that Modesto finally has a boba shop that is comparable to the Bay Area. The Earl Grey milk tea is absolutely delicious!” one customer raved. “The snacks come in little cute to-go boxes also. The basil popcorn chicken was very good.”

T4 is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Find it at 2401 E. Orangeburg Ave.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Just a few doors down from T4, the MB2 Indoor Kart racing track is taking shape.

As my colleague Jeff Jardine reported last summer, MB2 is moving into the former site of Gottschalks. At that time, a spokesman said the owners hoped to have the new business open by Christmastime. That didn’t happen, but it should be ready in a few weeks.

Krystal Morrice, event coordinator for MB2, said the company is aiming for an opening in early February. She suggested I check back later this month, and if I learn more, I will keep you posted.

As I have mentioned more than a couple of times, I worked at Gottschalks here and in Fresno while I was in college. It would be fun to ride a go-kart around where I used to wrap gifts and approve credit applications. A risk of a whole ’nother kind.

And finally, just before the year closed out, the Better Business Bureau sent me the list of the top 10 scams of 2015. It’s a familiar-sounding bunch:

▪ IRS tax scam

▪ Debt collection scam

▪ Sweepstakes/prizes/gifts scam

▪ Tech support ransom scam

▪ Government grant scam

▪ Advance fee loan scam

▪ Credit card scam

▪ Work from home scam

▪ Fake check/money order scam

▪ Lottery scam

All of these prey on people, either promising them great rewards or threatening some sort of legal action or peril for a loved one. According to the BBB, scammers snagged more than $100 million from victims in these scams. More information is available at

The best advice: If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. And if someone is calling you to ask for money, always double-check the circumstances.