CVS/pharmacy has finished its transformation of the 32 Longs Drugs stores in the central San Joaquin Valley.
The last store in Fresno to be converted was at Fig Garden Village, finished a little more than a week ago.
The changes mark the end of the longtime California-based chain that Rhode Island-based CVS bought last year.
CVS has entered an extremely competitive drug store market, taking on Rite Aid, Walgreens and local pharmacies.
Like the other companies, CVS plans to build more stores in Fresno, likely at busy intersections. Spokesman Mike DeAngelis declined to give details about where the company wants to open stores.
The company recently opened the newly constructed CVS at Fresno Street and Shaw Avenue.
As part of the transformation, the stores kept 98% of the Longs employees and some top-selling brands carried by Longs.
The company's target-shoppers are women and the average woman is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, so the shelf heights were lowered from 72 inches to 60 inches. Other changes included adding carpet, expanding the photo department, adding magnifiers so shoppers can read fine print on over-the-counter medications, and carrying the CVS rewards card.
The card can be used at kiosks that dispense coupons.
Raising her Voice
Voice teacher Debi Ruud has moved her studio more times than she can remember, but this time she plans to stay for good.
Ruud is moving The Voice Shop from Blackstone and Dakota avenues to the Tower District at 1296 N. Wishon Ave.
Ruud -- a veteran singer in Fresno -- has taught voice for 13 years and has seen a steady growth in business over the last several years.
She has added two other voice teachers and is training a third. The Voice Shop sees about 75 students per week.
"We have students ranging in age from 82 years old to 6 years old," Ruud said.
Ruud's new location, near Charlotte's Bakery, is 1,800 square feet and allows Ruud to add musical instrument lessons, recording capability, workshops and small showcases.
One of her new vocal instructors will provide lessons in Spanish.
Ruud is part of an active music-instruction scene in Fresno that includes California Arts Academy and Fresno School of Music.
The Voice Shop (thevoiceshop.com) plans to open its new location in December.
A real plus (size)
Retail sales are down and the economy is in the tank, right? Not at Urban Ornaments in Clovis, where Teresa Pries is embarking on her third expansion in two years.
Pries started the business in a tiny 200-square-foot space in Old Town, selling mostly purses and jewelry.
Business was so good that she expanded last May into an adjoining storefront, adding jeans, dresses and other items. Now, she's expanding again -- adding plus-size clothing to her lineup.
She found a supplier for plus-size jeans, and says the demand for the larger sizes is strong.
The addition, called The Next Door, an Urban Ornaments Co., will have a grand opening from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 19 at 614 5th St.