Category archives for: Business

Tractor Supply’s first customer is a 3-year-old


Three-year-old Dawson Schuler of Ramona became Tractor Supply Company’s first customer, with assistance from his great-aunt, Carole Wylie, who had some pull as she was the architect who designed the store’s building at Main and Hunter streets.
Wylie, also of Ramona and a former chair of the Ramona Design Review Board, knew how much Dawson loves tractors and was aware that Tractor Supply Company carries toys.

Albertsons celebrates remodel with samples, activities, donations


Albertsons celebrated the completion of its two-month remodeling project with a grand re-opening that included a ribbon cutting, free samples, in-store activities and donations.

Brian Swartwood, store director, presented $1,000 donations to the Ramona Food and Clothes Closet, Ramona Senior Center, and Ramona High School for its band and cheer programs. Ramona High Principal Christopher King suggested the donation be split between cheer and band, Swartwood said. Both high school groups entertained in front of the store with music and cheers.

Third-generation Ramonan stages Health & Wellness Expo Saturday

Third-generation Ramonan Marcie Laws will stage a Health and Wellness Expo featuring everything from organic and natural foods to face painting and firefighters at Ramona Town Hall on Saturday, Aug. 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Laws, owner/operator of Mirabella Care, is a senior care provider and personal assistant.
“Through my work, I am interested in providing organic and natural foods and products to my clients and child, as well as other services that promote overall health and wellness,” she said.
The expo will showcase vendors that provide health and wellness goods and services such as organic foods, natural and green cleaning products, fitness experts, weight loss solutions, medicine alternatives, natural pet products, medical professionals and gluten-free products.
A guest speaker will discuss healthy eating choices and how it affects overall wellness, CrossFit Brand X will provide demonstrations, Dr. Richard Turpin’s Chiropractic Clinic will offer free spinal evaluations, and Ramona Fire Department will provide information about fire prevention during the drought and how to clear vegetation from property and yards to make them less of a fire hazard. The department also will have a fire truck at the expo, said Laws.
Face painting for the children also is planned.
Admission is $1.
The first 300 people attending will receive a goodie bag with coupons from local businesses as well as treats and samples.
“What’s exciting for me is that I was born and raised here, and some of the participating vendors are people I literally went to elementary school with,” noted Laws. “Now we all have young kids and aging parents, and are interested in making sure they have healthy choices available right here in Ramona. As a senior care provider, I also think these vendors and topics are very important as we age. I also love the opportunity to support and promote small local business and remind people to shop Ramona.”
Town Hall is at 729 Main St.

Ramona Albertsons to celebrate Grand Re-Opening Aug. 13 with food, games, giveaways

The Ramona Albertsons team is busy making final adjustments, like adding plenty of new products, as the 1459 Main St. store location prepares for its grand re-opening set for Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m.
“Come with an appetite as there’ll be a variety of vendors on hand to entice customers,” Lilia M. Rodriguez, public affairs manager, said in her announcement. “The Ramona Albertsons team is also planning to host in-store games and grocery bag giveaways, too.”
The store’s recent remodeling offers a new lay-out and more food choices, notes Brian Swartwood, Ramona store director.
“Our store is sporting a new look inside and out,” said Swartwood. “We’ve added over 1,000 new items within the center store area as well as the home, health and beauty departments.”
Top on the list of improvements is an expanded selection of hot foods in the Service Deli. Whether it’s to pick up a Dietz and Watson “Grab and Go” sandwich and premium meats or cheeses and a healthy snack combo, guests won’t be able to walk past the deli without adding some new items to their cart, the announcement states.
The Produce Department boasts a new organic section, along with fresh cut fruits and vegetable offerings.
Guests in a party planning mode will find a greater selection of premium meats, chicken, kabobs and meal solutions in the Butcher Block. And Albertsons offers U.S.D.A. Choice Beef.
The Liquor Department has also been updated with 24 feet of space for new beer varieties and 16 additional feet exclusively for local craft beers.
Not to be left out, the Bakery Department team has added a new freezer case filled with an assortment of confections in all shapes and sizes. Plus, the new 10-foot cake case features pre-made children’s and high end celebration cakes.
Additional internal upgrades include a new customer service center, renovated bathroom facilities and new associate-staffed express lanes.
Local and national vendors scheduled to provide in-store food samplings on grand opening day include Dietz & Watson Hot Dog cart, T & J Sausage Company, Canasta Tortilla Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, among others.
Albertsons was built upon the foundation of giving back to the communities it serves and will continue the tradition with this grand opening. In celebration, Swartwood and his team will pledge donations to Ramona High School, Ramona Senior Center and the Ramona Food and Clothes Closet.
The Ramona Albertsons/Sav-On Pharmacy store is open Monday through Sunday, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pharmacy hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Neighbors air issues about solar plants in Ramona


As the owners of the solar facility at Warnock Road and Ramona Street indicate they want to be a better neighbor, the company proposing a solar plant on Creelman Lane is not gaining any fans.

Vicky Tate, a Creelman Lane resident, said the neighbors’ efforts with San Diego Gas & Electric is moving backward. SDG&E wants to build a 4 to 5 megawatt solar energy facility on approximately 17.5 acres of its property at the northwest corner of Creelman Lane and Ashley Road. The utility has a substation at the end of Creelman Lane, a dirt road, and neighbors are asking that the road be paved because the SDG&E trucks create a lot of dust.

Sempra second-quarter earnings show improvement over last year

San Diego-based Sempra Energy today reported second quarter earnings of $269 million, or $1.08 per diluted share, compared to $245 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, in the same time period last year.

Sempra’s earnings in the first six months of 2014 were $516 million, or $2.07 per diluted share, compared with earnings of $423 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, during the first six months of 2013.

Ramona Real Estate Association welcomes new officers


Ramona Real Estate Association installed its new officers and directors during its breakfast meeting on Tuesday. From left are President Sally Westbrook, president; Kimberly Swartz, director; Teresa Hobbs, secretary; Deb Espinosa, treasurer; and Marci Morgan, director. Not pictured are Mark Garrow, vice president, and Chris Jensen, director.

Proposed changes affect homestays, farmers’ markets, microbreweries

Proposed amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance that include changes related to agricultural areas are available for public review and comments until Aug. 11.

County Planning and Development Services released the California Environmental Quality Act public review of the zoning ordinance on June 26. It is available at and in Ramona Library, 1275 Main St.

Compromise opens door for resident ownership at Oak Tree Ranch

Oak Tree Ranch.FEATURE

A compromise between County of San Diego staff and the Caster family that owns Oak Tree Ranch will allow units to be converted to resident ownership.

San Diego County supervisors in May expressed support for converting 119 Oak Tree Ranch units off Black Canyon Road to resident ownership, but they were unwilling to override county counsel’s advice that approval of the proposal violates state law. Instead, they continued the hearing so Oak Tree representatives could provide a new map that covers only the 199 unit spaces and not the entire 255 spaces allowed in a 1965 zoning variance.

Creative Vine blends creativity with dining and wine

“Create, Dine and Wine with Friends!” is the slogan of a new business in town known as The Creative Vine, an enterprise that intertwines social gatherings with the sensory delights of food, drink and creativity.
Calling upon her 30 years of experience in event planning, Ramona resident and Creative Vine owner Barbara Blankenbaker coordinates with local chef Kitty Brisendine of Something Delicious and a variety of resident artisans to offer intimate get-togethers where guests participate in a creative activity while enjoying food and wine at one of Ramona’s wineries.
“This has been a wonderful experience, bringing together so many local resources as well as designing fun events,” commented Blankenbaker, who came up with the idea after being invited to “paint and sip” classes outside of Ramona. “The events were always down the hill, on a weeknight and usually just farther than I wanted to drive. Also, they were more like art classes where participants were invited to bring their own food and wine and everyone painted the same picture. I thought there has to be a way to do this closer to home and to provide a wider scope of activities.”
Part of Blankenbaker’s business plan is to keep things as local as possible. “Our venues are all in and around Ramona, many of the artisans are either from Ramona or a neighboring area, and even the food from Something Delicious always includes produce from local farm stands.”
The Creative Vine’s inaugural event was a sold out affair at Turtle Rock Ridge Winery and featured the creation of a small multimedia painting that could be turned into a greeting card. Subsequent events have included personalized wine glasses, home accent pieces from wine barrel staves, stamped jewelry making and customized barbeue rubs.
“The Barbecue rub event was a great idea,” shared participant Julie McCall, who has attended four other Creative Vine events. “It got the husbands or boyfriends involved and besides, who doesn’t like barbecue? The Highland Hills Winery was a beautiful backdrop for learning about different barbecue techniques, creating customized rubs, sipping wine, eating good food and watching the sun set.”
“The positive feedback after each event has been wonderful,” said Blankenbaker. “I have a handful of guests, men and women, who come every time. People enjoy getting together with friends old and new, sharing scrumptious food and incredible wines in new and beautiful settings.”
What has been her biggest challenge in getting this venture off the ground? “The weather,” laughed Blankenbaker. “Once the occasion is planned and calendared, it will go on.”
A spring event at the Vineyard Grant James began with a mad scramble to clean out a storage barn on the property when one of this year’s rare rainstorms blew through.
“It all worked out, though,” said Blankenbaker. “We were nice and cozy with heaters inside the barn, the food and wine were just as delicious as ever, and the activity, painting wine glasses led by Lorri and Candy, owners of Rusty Scraps located at Affordable Treasures was a wonderful way to spend a rainy day.”
Working for concert promoters most of her adult life and growing up in Connecticut with a mother who took her three daughters to visit the art world of New York City made the birth of The Creative Vine a perfect blending of Blankenbaker’s life experiences.
“My goal is to introduce others to exceptional local artists, delicious culinary treats and to the burgeoning wine business of the area,” she said. “We are a small community with a lot to offer!”