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



The Tavern has opened last month at 211 E. Santa Clara Street in Ventura, formerly Candlelight. It is a full service bar featuring live music in a cozy and warm environment. … The Sandbox Coffeehouse opened last month at 204 E. Thompson Blvd. in Ventura. It features coffee, tea and a variety of sweet treats by Siblings Bakery. It also showcases local music and art. … Peirano’s opened last month at 204 E. Main Street in Ventura, formerly Jonathon’s at Peirano’s. It features California cuisine presented by famous chef Robert Grenner. Grenner comes from Geoffreys in Malibu and was the executive chef of the Hollywood Bowl. It currently serves dinner and lunch service is to begin in May. … Sweet Stuff Confections will be opening April 14 at 451 E. Main St (old Sugar Bears Cup Cake Shack location). Flavors include cheesecake cupcake, red velvet cupcake and sweet potato pecan cupcake. …  Practitioners Jacalyn Booth (colon hydrotherapist), Alicia Morris Soto (lymphatic and myofascial release therapist) and Dawn Belden (certified thermographer) opened a new office at 115 Pirie Road, suite B, in Ojai. The three women will be offering state-of-the-art treatments and health solutions. For more information, call 814-1123.


The Sandbox Coffeehouse 


Moving up

Michele Gilmour, a marketing and communications specialist with extensive experience in the tourism industry, has filled the position of visitor services manager at the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau. Gilmour was a marketing specialist for the Channel Islands Harbor Department in Oxnard for 10 years, during which she opened and served as manager of the visitors center. … Cassie Undlin was recently named interm chief executive officer of the Gold Coast Health Plan. Undlin succeeds Dr. S.N. Charles Cho, who had been named the interim CEO in March but remains as the plan’s chief medical officer. Undlin brings with her 30 years of health care experience. … Terry GubatanSara Caputo and Nicholas Galuzevski have joined the Small Business Development Center of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties (SBDC). The three business advisers with expertise in developing cash flow, productivity, accounting and taxation are among the Economic Development Collaborative — Ventura County’s SBDC roster of approximately 30 advisers offering area businesses free one-on-one consulting and workshops to help their businesses grow. … Keith Sparks was recently hired as Mustang Marketing’s new communications coordinator.


Michele Gilmour



The Buffalo Exchange is recognizing the work of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s largest animal protection organization, and its international arm, Humane Society International (HSI), in helping to protect ocean animals in celebration of Earth Day. All proceeds from the sale of items offered for $1 each at your local Buffalo Exchange on April 21 will go to HSUS and HSI. Earth Day benefits at Buffalo Exchange stores have raised more than $345,000 for environmental causes since 1997.


Buffalo Exchange


In the name of charity

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Search and Rescue Team (SAR) recently received a donation of $7,000 from Seneca Resources, an oil company that conducts operations in the Sespe Mountains north of the city of Fillmore. SAR comprises 30 volunteers who respond to reports lost or overdue hikers and hunters in the back country … Homecomings Inc., a nonprofit of the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura, recently received a $5,000 grant and the donation of two boxes of books from U.S. Bank. The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura has served the needs of low-income residents since 1949. … California Lutheran University (CLU) has been honored for the second year in a row as a leader in volunteering, service learning and civic engagement by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education. CLU faculty members from all disciplines provide service learning opportunities as part of the effort to help students find their vocations. About 2,400 CLU students completed a total of 44,000 community service hours in the 2010-2011 year.



The Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County launched the online directory Ventura County Film411, venturacountyfilm411.org at the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 20. The directory aims to promote Ventura County as an ideal location for film, television and commercial production and to help the local economy grow. The searchable database has more than 350 categories — from aerial cinematography to workshops on film — for use by production companies and their support services.



Laurus College has opened a new campus in Oxnard, creating an educational opportunity for residents, and new jobs in the Ventura County area. The 15,510-square-foot facility on Lockwood Street opened its doors on Sept. 12, 2011. Currently, Laurus College’s Oxnard Campus has students in career-focused programs for 3D animation, computer networking, information technology, medical billing, professional business support and web design.


Laurus College


And the award goes to

Kathy Elliot, 11th- and 12th-grade teacher at Pacific High School in Ventura, was named teacher of the month on Feb. 15 by the Ventura Commerce and Education Foundation. Elliott has more than 25 years of teaching experience. … Magdalena Carriedo, a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, was awarded the Dwight Brydie Scholarship at the group’s 13th Annual Youth Conference, Jan. 18 in Long Beach, by the California Workforce Association. The $1,000 scholarship is named in memory of longtime California Employment Development Department employee Dwight Brydie and encourages educational and workforce advancement for youth planning to continue their education after high school. … Neal Andrews, a Ventura Councilman, was among 10 elected officials across the nation to be awarded the National Leadership Training Institute Gold Certificate as a Leadership Ambassador among American local elected municipal officials. The certificate was awarded at the Congress of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. …Rincon Consultants, Inc. a multiservice environmental sciences and planning consultancy based in Ventura, was recently named to the Inc. 500|5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, The Zweig Letter Hot Firm 2011 List, and the Pacific Coast Business Times Top 50 Fastest-Growing Companies. All awards were based on the company’s business growth in gross revenues from 2008 to 2010. … Diane Loring, executive director of Women Involved in Sports Evolution and owner of Spa by Diane Loring Inc., won a gold medal in ultra sparring and a bronze medal in third master poomsae/forms, at the 2012 U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships, Las Vegas. The U.S. Open Taekwondo Championships is the largest of all taekwondo tournaments put on in the U.S. and is open to competitors from all over the world.  More than 2,400 competitors signed up for the event.


Making changes…

Houweling’s Tomatoes of Oxnard is launching a new branding and marketing effort designed to boost consumer awareness and enhance brand imagery. At the heart of the positioning is linking Houweling’s tomato specialization and “craftsman’s care” to producing the best-tasting greenhouse tomatoes.




The Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County (WIB)is seeking nominations for its 2012 Annual WIB Awards. The selected winners will have shown exemplary commitment to advancing workforce development in Ventura County. The nomination deadline is April 13. Winners will be announced at the WIB Annual Meeting on June 28, at the Ventura County Office of Education, 5100 Adolfo Road, Camarillo.



The Community Recreation Department of Ventura is launching a Paragon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program specializing in bully prevention for kids ages 4-13. Classes will be held on Saturdays and will run through June. 

Biz Buzz appears the first Thursday of each month. Send news of openings, changes and other things of interest to Editorial@vcreporter.com by the 20th of the prior month to be considered.