Clovis News

Word on the Street: Fresno boutique opens third store

What started as a tiny retail clothing business in a spare bedroom is now a boutique on its third location in Fresno.

Lupe Oftedal started her business selling discounted designer clothes after seeing a demand from teens in a youth-mentoring program in which she participates.

"Kids were telling us about how they couldn't afford nicer clothes, and they were being teased," she said.

With a background in retail, Oftedal began buying the clothes in bulk at a discounted rate and selling them from her home at reduced prices.

The business quickly took over another bedroom and the living room, so Oftedal rented a 700-square-foot space at Hair Fetish Spa and Salon on Fulton Street, south of Olive avenue. The boutique, named BeBe O's, quickly outgrew the space.

She plans to move into a 2,500- square-foot store, likely this week, above the Babylon Club nearby on Fulton Street.

The boutique joins other clothing stores of various styles in the Tower District and across the Fresno area, including the recently opened Stella Laguna Beach.

Extreme makeover, RV style

Mitchell Brandon had a challenge when he bought a 45-site RV park in Three Rivers in Tulare County three years ago.

Formerly called Trailer Isle, Brandon changed the name of the camp eight miles from Sequoia National Park to Sequoia RV Ranch (www. His intent was to turn it into a weekend retreat or vacation destination.

But there was work to do first. Squatters had set up camp and had to be evicted from the site on the Kaweah River; a dozen abandoned cars were removed; and he hauled out more than three dozen 40-square-yard Dumpsters filled with junk.

The $1.3 million investment included an extensive makeover that featured new camp sites and water and sewer connections, renovation of the bathhouse and office and new roads, cable TV and wireless Internet service.

Brandon, a real estate broker from Southern California, sold rental property and invested all he had into the venture, but says it is working out fine. It has new clientele and a growing business base.

Boxed in

John Thayer was searching for a new business opportunity, so he selected ... boxes.

Thayer, 58, has become a distributor for Moving Boxes Plus, which is an alternative to U-Haul and other similar businesses. Instead of driving to pick up boxes, Thayer uses his new JT's Moving Boxes Plus to deliver empty boxes directly to businesses and homeowners.

The box venture supplements his pool-cleaning business, which has 50 customers in Fresno and Madera counties. "I'm all over Fresno, Clovis and Madera anyway," he said, so it is easy to add the box service to his routes.

Rates vary according to the size of the boxes, which range from specialty boxes for dishes and TV sets to the more generic.

He also supplies carton-sealing tape, packing supplies such as wrapping paper and bubble wrap, box cutters and permanent markers. Web site: www.discountmovingboxes