Biz Beat

Historic Knights Ferry store, bar reopens

The general store in Knights Ferry has reopened.
The general store in Knights Ferry has reopened.

Andrew Basmajian wants the Knights Ferry General Store and Saloon to be a lot of things: A grocery store for the locals. A convenience store for tourists. A bar and a restaurant and a performance venue.

First, though, the business Basmajian runs with his wife, sister and mother is one very important thing: It’s open.

The family, longtime residents of the area, took over the store, which had been shuttered for about a year, Basmajian said. They wanted to get it open in time for the Memorial Day holiday, and they accomplished that. But it remains a work in progress, and the grand opening is set for the July Fourth weekend.

In the meantime, Basmajian and his family want to add organic produce, fresh local dairy and other items to the store. They want to get the kitchen running for the grill and expand the stage in the bar.

“We’re going to have baked goods, too,” Basmajian said, showing me around the business last week. He said the community reception has been great. That’s evident on the store’s Facebook page, where one fan wrote: “I honestly teared up to find out the store reopened! I grew up in this store!”

The history of the 1852 building is evident. A line on the doorjamb – about hip-high – marks the spot where the floodwaters of 1955 rose. A somewhat more recent development is the ceiling above the bar: It’s lined with hundreds of baseball caps. There were more when Basmajian and his family took over the business, but they sorted through them and kept their favorites.

The ceiling – and the rest of the General Store and Saloon – is ready for new history and memories.

The store is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After July 4, the restaurant and grill will be open Thursday through Tuesday. Find the business on Facebook.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT: Dewz in downtown Modesto is expanding its wine shop. The restaurant opened the shop when it moved to its present location in 2008, but it didn’t have regular hours or events.

That changed last week, said Stan Azevedo, marketing adviser for Dewz. The store is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.

“We’re going to be doing regular wine tastings and beer tastings,” Azevedo said. They also have started a wine club, whose members will be the first invited to events.

Perhaps most enticing, Dewz wine shop will host a “wine whining” hour. This is a takeoff on happy hour, Azevedo said, where “People can come in, have a glass of wine and whine about their day.”

Sounds right up my alley.

Dewz, 1505 J St., Modesto. Call 209-549-1101.

▪ When I wrote last year about Jimmy John’s opening in Modesto, I mentioned that John Gauthier, co-owner of the deli, planned to open a location in Turlock. We now know where it is: at the corner of Geer Road and Monte Vista Avenue, in the site formerly occupied by a Radio Shack near Michael’s.

No word yet on an opening date, but I will keep you posted.