A flurry of new businesses are opening in Fresno and Clovis.
They’re all over the map – geographically and in terms of what they sell. There’s a new game and comic book store, a thrift shop with a familiar name, a new boutique coming to Clovis and a florist/home decor shop that sells flowers displayed in stiletto heels. Yet others are more specialized, like a downtown music store and kitchens that can be rented.
Here’s what’s new and different in the shopping world.
Funko Pops and games
This is the company’s second store, the first one is at 5412 N. Blackstone Ave. in Fresno.
The comic book and board game seller recently moved its Clovis store at Sierra Vista Mall to a larger space in the Bonanza Center. The new space allows them to stay open longer to accommodate more board game players and they have more room to stock new stuff. There is also an entire wall devoted to the popular vinyl figures made by Funko.
“People can’t get enough of these,” said Darrick Oyama, one of Legends’ owners. “They aren’t too expensive and they are fun to collect.”
Along with carrying collectibles, the new store also sells new and vintage video games, graphic T-shirts, card games, model kits, and hundreds of comic books. They also have room for up to 40 board game players.
Oyama allows players to come in with their own board games or they can try out a new one from the store’s game board shelf.
And don’t be surprised if you see a line of people outside the store on Wednesday mornings. That’s the day comic book companies issue their new releases. The store opens extra early at 9 a.m. to handle the rush.
Flowers and home decor
You can tell when you walk in the door of the newly opened #InLove Flower Shop and Home Decor on West Shaw Avenue that it isn’t your typical floral shop.
For starters, giant letters spelling “Love” change colors on the wall. The shop also sells some unusual creations, like a display of flowers in a stiletto heel. Costing $69, it’s turning out to be one of its more popular orders. Yes, it’s an actual shoe, lined with plastic so it can store water. The flowers are pushed into green foam inside the shoe.
You can also get flowers in heart-shaped boxes and other unique displays.
“We want to offer the clients something different,” said Jorge Flores, who owns the shop with his husband David Huxley.
The shop also sells home decor imported from Mexico. There are paintings of hummingbirds and colorful metal dragonflies that can be hung on the wall. Lamps for kids’ rooms are made from PVC pipe with cutouts in the shapes of pink unicorns or butterflies.
“Mexican people, they have a lot of talent,” Flores said. “We want to support this talent.”
The shop is a career change for Flores, who was the manager at Los Amigos restaurant for years. He decided he wanted to be his own boss and opened the business.
Vintage and home decor
Melissa Steward is an unapologetic picker. At an early age, Steward learned from her grandparents how fun and valuable it can be to pick through vintage items at estate and garage sales. She’s so good at it that she has taken those skills and turned them into a business.
She is the owner of Steward Estate Sales and her latest venture is Decades, a business that sells new and vintage home decor items and clothing. Steward has been selling her inventory online and at events.
But as her customer base grew, she decided to open her 2,500-square-foot Clovis warehouse every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting March 2.
The warehouse is brimming with farmhouse style items, antiques, clothing, and new items like Rae Dunn ceramics.
“People have just lost their minds about Rae Dunn, it sells very well,” she said.
Along with the new stuff, you will find an ice box from the turn of the century, a rustic egg carrier, a primitive ladder and vintage screen doors.
The Fresno DAV Charities of Central California – otherwise known as the DAV thrift shop – has moved to a new location.
The thrift shop recently reopened next to Lumber Liquidators at Fresno Street and Shaw Avenue. Now it has about 7,800 square feet of all your typical thrift shop departments, like men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, furniture, toys. luggage and housewares.
One thing that makes this shop different is the sportswear corner. There is clothing from all sorts of sports teams, including a few San Francisco Giants T-shirts and some Fresno State clothing.
Veterans get 30 percent off purchases daily, and seniors get 15 percent off on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“Our purpose is to give back to Central Valley veterans,” said business manager Jordan Escovedo.
Money from the shop and other fundraisers goes to veteran programs, like a mental health program, living centers, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and “Segs 4 Vets.” That program provides Segway scooters to veterans who are paraplegic.
The store is also accepting donations. Toys are in demand and the store also frequently gets requests for gently-used canes or walkers, he said.
The store’s former location at McKinley Avenue and First Street has closed. Escovedo said they wanted to move to a neighborhood with fewer break-ins and less vandalism. The downtown DAV is still open at 701 Van Ness Ave.
Music and instruments
People always ask pawn shop owner Leon Alchian Jr. if he plays a musical instrument. After all, his downtown store, Majestic Jewelry and Loan Co., used to be jam-packed with musical instruments. But his answer was always the same: “The only thing I play is the radio.”
Alchian likes telling that joke and he also likes making money. That’s why he created the Majestic Music & More store, right next door to his other store at 1922 Tulare St. near Chukchansi Park.
“It was just getting way too overcrowded in here,” said Alchian, the third-generation owner of Majestic Jewelry and Loan Co. “Now we have all the musical instruments in one store and the jewelry, firearms and handbags in the other store. And its working out well.”
The new store’s white walls are lined with electric and acoustic guitars. There are also drum kits, disc jockey equipment, and even a sound room. If you are looking for a vintage or special edition guitar, chances are you will find it here.
There is a Gretsch Sunburst guitar that sells for $4,995. He recently sold a Gibson Les Paul guitar for about $800 to one of the musicians from Bob Seger’s band that recently played at the Save Mart Center.
Alchian admits he likes spending time in the new store, calling the original store his hard core money maker.
“This is more of a fun store,” he said. “You can’t help but enjoy looking at all of these instruments.”
Kitchens for rent
A new business near downtown Fresno lets you rent kitchens and the equipment in them. Pro-Culinary Commercial Kitchens opened recently, geared toward culinary professionals. That includes caterers, food truck owners and home-based businesses that may be just getting their start.
The kitchens can be rented for large jobs. The business is also a certified commissary where food trucks can prepare food they sell on their trucks.
It also has a tasting room that can seat 40 people, like potential clients who want to taste the food.
Pro-Culinary also has equipment that can be rented by caterers who don’t have a kitchen at their job site. That includes portable propane commercial ovens on wheels, chafing dishes, plates and silverware.
The business also functions as a “culinary incubator,” said Mike Cook, who founded the business with Matthew McComas.
“We help navigate all the potholes and the red tape one might find,” Cook said.
Prices for rentals vary and some fees are membership based.