First String Sports is consolidating its two area stores and warehouse into one new location in north Fresno.
The local sporting goods store -- a popular spot for equipment and team uniforms -- has moved into a 20,000-square-foot space at 6616 N. Blackstone Ave., just south of Herndon Avenue.
First String Sports had two stores: one in Clovis and the other in Fresno. It has closed the Clovis store and will soon shut down the Fresno store that is across the street from the new location.
Although the company launched in 1996 with the goal of expanding and opening new stores, running two local stores, along with juggling uniform sales and keeping a warehouse, became a challenge.
"Our leases were coming up, so we decided it would be easier if we did everything in one building that was also centrally located," said Jerry Luna, who runs the store along with his brother Phil. "And this new building is big enough for all our needs."
Along with selling sporting equipment and uniforms, the company also does embroidery work and sells trophies.
Luna said the new building also has room for growth. There is about 5,000 square feet that Luna says could be used for batting cages and training for multiple sports.
"We want to be able to delve into providing some things that we have not been able to do before," Luna said.
More gambling room
The 500 Club Casino is up and running in its new location.
The newly expanded casino, restaurant and bar opened this summer at the northeast corner of Shaw and Willow avenues in Clovis.
The existing 500 Club remains open as a restaurant and bar at Fifth Street and Clovis Avenue. The cardroom there is being remodeled into a banquet room.
The move to the new location allowed the business to expand from six tables of poker, baccarat and other card games to 18 tables. After a lengthy approval process with the city, the 500 Club got the OK last year in an arrangement that will bring more money to the city.
The new location's restaurant features everything from pho to steak and lobster, along with other Asian and American dishes.
It also features a bar with an 80-inch TV broadcasting major sporting events, along with 35 other TVs showing all types of games.
The 500 Club is hosting tailgate-style events for Fresno State football games, offering customers free shuttle rides to the games.
The casino looks quite different than the previous location, in part because it hired an interior designer who worked for casino magnate Steve Wynn, said the 500 Club's casino manager, Ryan Frazier.
"We went out of our way and spent some money and tried to do it right," he said.
The casino is open 24 hours, but cannot serve alcohol from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Robert Rodriguez and Bethany Clough contributed to Word on the Street. It was compiled by Clough. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @BethanyClough on Tw