A longtime fireplace installer has opened his own store selling fireplaces, grills and waterfalls.
Tom Bludau worked for Ponderosa Hearth and Home in Clovis before deciding to start his own business recently.
After a home show this spring, it became clear customers wanted to touch and see the products, so Bludau and his wife, Sheila, opened the Agape Fireplace Sales & Service store at 6125 N. Blackstone Ave., north of Bullard Avenue in Fresno.
The store sells fireplaces, including gas inserts and wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and fire pits.
The store also sells grills, including large outdoor barbecue islands surrounded by stone that feature cupboards, granite countertops and sinks that Bludau installs.
The couple has been opening the store in phases, adding indoor/outdoor waterfalls. They plan to start selling spas soon.
Agape joins a handful of other retailers that sell similar products, including Ponderosa, Central Distributing and Homecrafters Spas & BBQ.
A new nest for Well Egg
For more than a year, Amar Hussein of Kerman has operated his business-consulting firm, Well Egg Inc., as a mobile enterprise relying on his smartphone and computer.
Now, Well Egg (www.wellegg.com) has a physical nest near Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Its new office at 1968 N. Gateway Blvd. opened in mid-June, Hussein said.
Hussein, 30, was raised in Detroit and has a business degree from Central Michigan University. He spent three years with Deloitte Consulting, a nationwide firm, before starting his own business. He moved to the Fresno area two years ago because other family members have businesses throughout the county.
Well Egg joins a host of other local and national firms offering business consulting services in Fresno. Hussein said that in addition to his own expertise in business applications and supply-chain quality management, the company offers bookkeeping and data management services and hires other consultants who specialize in other fields as independent contractors to serve clients.
The Fresno office has a staff of two besides Hussein, who also plans a Well Egg location in Detroit.
The California Raisin Marketing Board has moved downtown after more than 25 years at its previous location near Shields Avenue and First Street.
The marketing board's new home is 2445 Capitol St., next to the Fresno Convention Center's Exhibit Hall.
Board spokesman Larry Blagg said the new location is convenient for the raisin industry's processors and most of the growers.
The board -- a grower-funded group that promotes raisins -- employs 24 people.