A Fresno couple's enthusiasm for board games and hosting game parties served as the launching point for a new game store in northeast Fresno.
"It was always a longtime joke with our friends that we should run a game store," said Jennifer Ward, who with her husband Scott Martin opened Crazy Squirrel Game Store (www.crazysquirrelgamestore.com) three weeks ago.
"Some people have bookcases in their living rooms, but we have maybe 200 board games and role-playing games in our bookcase," she said. "We're hard-core gamers."
Their shop at 464 E. Bullard Ave., east of Fresno Street, has a showroom of strategy board games, role-playing and miniatures and card games, and a separate game room with tables where gamers can gather for fun and competition.
The store hosts themed game nights almost every night of the week, drawing one to two dozen gamers or more to try out new games or play old favorites with new people.
Ward, a former assistant managing editor at The Fresno Bee, described the game room as "a community center" for gamers and newcomers.
"There's nothing we carry that you can't buy online," Ward said. "But we've got a fantastic group of gamers coming in every night. ... That's our 'value-added.' "
That sense of community applies to other game stores -- such as Gamers! in Clovis, the Game Preserve in Fresno's Tower District and Hobbytown USA in northwest Fresno -- which often refer customers to one another for specialty products, Martin and Ward said. Fellow owners locally and around the state also offered advice as the couple prepared to open.
New clinic opens wide
The nonprofit health group Clinica Sierra Vista has established a new dental center to serve low-income residents in southwest Fresno.
The Elm Dental Center opened Oct. 25 at 2756 S. Elm Ave. next to Clinica Sierra Vista's Elm Community Health Center. It houses two dentists, a hygienist and other staff and has X-ray equipment, electronic records systems and a classroom.
The clinic was built and equipped at a cost of about $2.6 million through a federal stimulus grant from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It accepts Medi-Cal, most private insurance and HMO plans, and offers a sliding-fee scale for customers who don't have insurance.
Shi Nails and Spa opened in the newest portion of the Shops at River Park a little over a week ago. The spa, which does manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing, is next to Planet Hair.
It joins other spa and nail businesses in the area, including its River Park neighbor Amenities Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa and Queenbee Nails & Spa, across Blackstone Avenue in the Universal Park center.