In the competitive birthday party industry, Clovis entrepreneur Anneka Hall is offering something new: a mobile video game theater.
Loaded inside a 26-foot, air-conditioned trailer are video game consoles, four 46-inch LCD televisions and comfortable seating for up to 16 people.
Hall launched her new business called Game N Go -- gamengo party.com -- earlier this month and interest has been growing. She debuted the trailer at a school carnival and at GameStop store for the premiere of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."
"It was awesome for them because they could have 16 people playing the game at one time," Hall said.
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Hall realizes her competition includes bounce houses, laser tag and girl-themed party stores. But she said Game N Go is simple. She hauls the trailer to the party location, opens the 8-foot-wide door, and flips on the portable generator.
Boys are more interested in the game trailer than girls, she said.
"I have a daughter and she likes the sing-along games," Hall said. "But it's the boys who really like it."
The Game N Go trailer rents for $199 the first hour and $100 for each additional hour.
A Los Angeles architect has moved to Tulare and opened a business called Hortus Tulare.
Omar G. Siller sells to architects, landscape architects and interior designers, as well as the general public. His designs and products include structures for the garden, such as low French wattle fencing and teepees designed for sweet peas and other plants to climb up.
Other offerings include large garden gates, copper fireplaces, imported copper tools and hand-carved paving stones.
Hortus is Latin for garden. Siller's designs can be seen on his Web site at hortustulare.com.
Siller said he chose to leave Los Angeles and open the business in Tulare, where he has family.
Family to family
Two Visalia-based business owners -- John Anderson and Lyle Meendering -- have created a Web site devoted to helping families connect with each other. The site -- connecting2families.com -- allows families to find other families that share similar interests, beliefs, hobbies or life experiences.
The site was launched in September and is free to sign up. Families fill out a profile and the site will provide users with a list of possible matches based on their information.
Users also can explore the site and connect with families who share similar circumstances, such as a child with autism.
"We have received a lot of positive feedback about the site," Anderson said.
Eventually, the site's creators will sell advertising. But for the moment, they are working on boosting the number of users. So far, about 200 families have signed up.