Welcome to Biz Buzz, a monthly dispatch of interesting business news in the VC.



Twin Palms Health and Beauty Boutique opened at 35 S. Oak St. in Ventura. The day spa offers a variety of services, including professional massage therapy, skin care, makeup application, spray tanning, waxing and much more. … Saloon BBQ Co. recently opened at 456 E. Main St. in Ventura, and is gradually introducing new items and offers. The restaurant is currently offering barbecue dishes and sandwiches and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as happy hour.  … Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened at 6100 Telegraph Road in Ventura. The restaurant offers an assortment of barbecued meats, sandwiches and meat plates, as well as sides and desserts. Catering and online orders are available. … Gallery 1880 has opened at 1880 E. Main St. in Ventura, displaying different mediums in exhibits, offering art classes with live models, poetry readings and more. Visit gallery1880.com for more information. … Nirvana Café opened at 2323 Roosevelt Blvd. in Oxnard. The grand opening was held in conjunction with the First annual local Business Expo… The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and a selection of drinks, including locally roasted coffee, espresso, chai and much more. … Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice opened an additional office at 202 Canada St. in Ojai. The new office will continue to offer professional home health and hospice care and will be open from Tuesday to Saturday. … Whole Foods Market at The Collection at RiverPark has scheduled its grand opening for June 19. This will be the second Whole Foods in Ventura County. The store will offer locally grown, healthy and natural food to West Ventura County. … Retail Therapy will open at 8 N. Fir St. in Ventura. The men’s and women’s          clothing boutique store offers shoppers USA-made clothing, accessories and organic body products that are exclusive, eco-friendly and reflect the cultural style of the surrounding areas. The grand opening will be held on June 29, 3-7p.m. Food, drinks and music provided. … New gallery OVA Arts will open on July 2 at 108B N. Signal St. in Ojai. The contemporary crafts and fine arts gallery will be focused on mid- to high-end art and will provide both emerging and established local artists with an exciting and cost-effective venue to display and sell their work as well as opportunities to offer classes, workshops and host special events.

Jenessa Nye & Matthew Rothman of Retail Therapy



Paradise Pantry, cafe/wine and cheese store, has relocated to 218 E. Main St. in Ventura. The grand reopening is on June 15. … Two Trees Cafe, located at 7822 Telegraph Road in Ventura, has recently expanded its menu to include dinner service, along with breakfast and lunch. The restaurant has included a selection of sandwiches, burgers, steak, chicken, seafood and Mexican dishes on its dinner menu. … Ventura Fitness Studio (V-FIT) at 4561 Market St. in Ventura is now offering AIReal yoga, which uses a looped hammock that swivels freely on a single point allowing for a deeper stretch, correct alignment and safe performance of inversions without compression of the spine. … On June 18, National Public Radio station KCLU will expand its audience to include northern Santa Barbara County, southern San Luis Obispo County and Santa Maria. The award-winning station will air local news, traffic reports and weather forecasts in addition to syndicated programs from NPR, Public Radio International and BBC.


And the award goes to …

Laura Todis was recognized as Ventura County’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. Todis is a science teacher at Fillmore’s Sierra High School and is being honored for her passion for teaching and her leadership role within the community in environmental projects. She is now eligible for the 2014 California Teacher of the Year. … The Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation named Lisa Harvill as May’s Teacher of the Month. Harvill is a fifth-grade teacher at Ventura’s Poinsettia Elementary who has been teaching for more than 16 years and serves as the technology liaison and is involved with the school’s newspaper and Gifted and Talented Education projects. … Ventura County Public Works Agency (VCPWA) awarded Angela Bonfiglio Allen, an environmental planner who works with the Watershed Protection District, and Andy Flores, a water service worker IV with the Water and Sanitation Department, were honored as the two Employees of the Year among five other nominees also in the running from all five Public Works divisions. … Acclaimed presidential biographer and White House correspondent Lou Cannon was recently awarded an honorary doctorate degree by California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI). He was presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the highest degree CSUCI can bestow. Cannon continues to lecture and write about politics throughout the country while serving as a political columnist as editor-at-large for State Net Capitol Journal. … Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks, named Westlake High School student Lily Wang as the 2013 winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition. Wang will travel to Washington, D.C., on June 26 to meet Brownley and show her artwork, “Strawberry Summer,” which will be displayed in the United States Capitol Building for a year. … Rose Sutton received the 2013 Women’s Opportunity Award from the local service club for business women, Soroptimist International (SI) of Ventura. The $1,500 award is presented to women who are heads of households and are in need of advancing their skills or education to improve their employment status. Sutton, a widow and a mother, has been rebuilding her life with help from RAIN and Project Understanding while obtaining paralegal certification and working. …
The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) recently announced the CSSSA California Arts Scholars for the 2013 summer session. The Ventura County Arts Council will host a recognition reception for the 13 Ventura County applicants who were accepted into the prestigious four-week, pre-college program. The event will be on Tuesday, June 18, 6-8 p.m., at the Camarillo Ranch House. … The Wharf was one of only four businesses to receive the prestigious Hamilton Carhartt Retailer of Excellence Award 2012 from apparel company Carhartt. The company presents the award to its top-selling retail partners that exhibit the highest mark of excellence in promoting the Carhartt brand.


Moving up

Susan Smith

Susan Smith has been appointed the new president/CEO of the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau. Smith has more than 25 years of expertise in sales, tourism, destination marketing and management. She officially began her duties on June 1. … Marke Rafeh and Chip Ehrhardt have been appointed to the Easter Seals Southern California Disability Services (ESSC) board of directors. Both have previously served on the board of ESSC; currently, Rafeh is the vice president of Century 21 Hilltop and Ehrhardt is the executive vice president and general manager of Gold Coast Broadcasting and director of sales for Rincon Broadcasting and LC Media. … Attorney Eric A. Hirschberg has joined Ventura law firm Ferguson Case Orr Paterson LLP to practice family law. Hirschberg is a graduate of Pepperdine University of Law, where he founded the Pepperdine Family Law Society. He was admitted into the California Bar in 2009. … Port of Hueneme CEO and Port Director Kristin Decas was appointed by U.S. Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood to serve on the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC). The two-year position on NFAC will allow Decas and other committee members to provide recommendations and support for freight-related policies.


Moving on

Kris Bennett, Ventura district director for Aspiranet for 17 years, announced her retirement, which was effective May 31. Aspiranet is a leading social services agency, and Bennett significantly helped the local division expand its services in providing foster homes to children, adoption, behavioral health, family and community and transitional-age youth services to more than 1,000 Ventura County children and families each year.


In the name of charity

Gene Haas Foundation Director Peter Zierhut (far right)
presents a grant check to Casa Pacifica staff.

The Gene Haas Foundation recently announced $200,000 in additional grant recipients, bringing total donations to Ventura County nonprofits in 2013 to $249,000. The grants benefit organizations that focus on youth development and educational scholarship and that serve the neediest. … Republic Services of Oxnard (RSO) and the city of Oxnard sponsored the second annual Poker, Food and Wine Event hosted by Community Among Friends (CAF). CAF was founded by RSO’s operations manager, Gus Sanchez. All proceeds from the event will benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ventura County, The Salvation Army of Oxnard/Port Hueneme, FOOD Share of Ventura County, Gull Wings Children’s Museum and the National Association Against Child Cruelty. … Morgan Stanley awarded a $50,000 grant to FOOD Share. The grant will fund its School Pantry Program, a child hunger initiative that helps ensure that low-income families have a readily accessible source of health and nutritious food to prepare at home . … Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) has launched a “100,000” meal campaign in partnership with FOOD Share of Ventura County and leading restaurant loyalty program MOGL. VCCU debit and credit card users get 10 percent cash back on every check from thousands of participating MOGL restaurants statewide, and for every $20 spent on food and drinks, MOGL will donate one meal to FOOD Share. Visit vccu.mogl.com. …The Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) was awarded a $25,000 grant by Citi Foundation. The funds will be used for predevelopment costs for CEDC’s affordable housing project (Bridgeview Apartments) in Ventura, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2014. The [b]McCune Foundation[b] awarded $346,000 in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties for community organizing and social justice initiatives. Sixteen groups were approved for grants that will fund salaries for community organizers, trainings and other program expenses. The deadline for grant application is July 12. For more informnation, visit www.mccunefoundation.org. … The Collection at RiverPark will host 10 concert series, every Saturday (6-8p.m.), to support the arts, beginning on June 22. The proceeds from the live Rock 4 a Cause concerts will benefit Ventura County high school music programs through the Ventura County Arts Council. For reservations or information, visit TheCollectionRP.com



The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation recently awarded $50,000 in college scholarships to high school seniors in Ventura County who have demonstrated leadership qualities throughout high school. The recipients received scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 each. Award-winning actress Melissa Joan Hart was the evening’s keynote speaker.



Environmental sciences and planning consulting firm Rincon Consultants of Ventura was recently presented with the Outstanding Planning: Focused Issue award at the American Planning Association Central Coast Section Planning awards. The award was for the firm’s work on the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District Open Space, Trails and Greenways Planning Study…The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC) completed its planned acquisition of the new Valley View Preserve, the most visible part of the northern backdrop of the city of Ojai. OVLC was able to raise $700,000. A ribbon cutting ceremony and an inaugural hike are planned for June 15 at 9 a.m., and a community celebration on June 23 at 3 p.m. For more information, go to OVLC.org



The Billy Clower Dance Studio in Ventura will celebrate 60 years of show business with “Heart & Soul” on June 22 at 7 p.m. and June 23 at 2p.m. … In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ventura City Hall, the City of Ventura is inviting the public to participate in donating items throughout June for the making of the centennial time capsule, which is expected to be opened by a future generation in 2113. The city will also host various festivities in July to celebrate the centennial, including the 38th annual Fourth of July Street Fair, whose theme will be “Ventura City Hall Centennial: 1913-2013.” For more information, visit cityofventura.net/cityhallcentennial



Clark Design/Build of California is inviting all subcontractors/suppliers/tradesmen to meet for possible employment opportunity for the VCMC Hospital Replacement Wing construction project. The event will be hosted at the Ventura Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 1050 Schooner Drive, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 6.