Abbie Mast started designing children's clothing four years ago when her daughter, Sophia, was born.
They were living in Vietnam, where Mast's husband, Michael, worked for a dental company. When Sophia was old enough, Mast took her on trips to the local markets hunting for fabric.
That adventure turned into a business opportunity. They started a children's clothing line called Ga Ga Chic and shipped products all over the world before opening a store in Fresno last month.
Mast and her husband, who moved back to Fresno in 2007, opened Ga Ga Chic on Sept. 15 in Fig Garden Village between Posh and White House Black Market.
The store features their private label, geared toward girls from infant to size 7, and has clothing and accessories for boys and girls from other designers.
A design studio allows customers to bring in their child's favorite outfit and have a customized hair accessory made to match.
"I thought if I could get fabric and make stuff for my daughter, then let's see if we can get it into stores," said Abbie Mast, who continues to ship clothes to boutiques around the world.
Ga Ga Chic joins other children's clothing stores in Fresno. They include My Girl in Fashion Fair mall and Carmel Kids at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue.
Cage takes center stage
Hoping to tap the popularity of mixed martial arts, entrepreneur Dillon Adili recently opened Cage Apparel, a clothing and mixed martial arts equipment store in Fresno's Tower District.
"MMA has become a lifestyle, and the sport is growing really fast," Adili said. "And Fresno doesn't really have a store that sells this kind of thing."
The store, on the southeast corner of Van Ness and Olive avenues, sells clothing from TapouT and Affliction, two designers popular with mixed martial arts fans.
Adili also sells fighting equipment, including head guards, mouthpieces and shin guards.
The store is designed with the sports fan in mind. The inside resembles a fighting ring.
"When people walk in, I want them to feel like they are walking into a fighting cage," Adili said.
Caesar the VI
A Fresno couple has opened a new Little Caesars pizza franchise in the Pinedale area, bringing to six the number of restaurants they operate in Fresno, Clovis and Sanger.
The newest location at 7355 N. Blackstone Ave., just south of Alluvial Avenue, opened about four weeks ago and employs a crew of 13, most of whom live in the neighborhood, said Scott Hellam.
He and his wife, Shelly, owns the franchise under the company name F&H Pizza.
Scott Hellam formerly worked as a computer programmer, "but that was really a drudge," he said.
In the early 1990s, his wife's parents operated a Little Caesars franchise in Manteca, and the business appealed to the Hellams.
The couple moved to the Fresno/Clovis area in 1992 specifically to open their first Little Caesars franchise.