When Brandon Graspointner was in elementary school, he helped hand french fries out the drive-through window of a McDonald's his family owned.
Now at age 26, Graspointner has embarked on his own venture, opening the fifth of 16 planned Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurants in the Central Valley.
The newest Qdoba restaurant opened Tuesday on the northeast corner of West Shaw and North Marks avenues in Fresno. The four other locations are in Atwater, Clovis, Modesto and Turlock.
The restaurant specializes in made-to-order burritos and tacos and is known for its variety of sauces, which include warm three-cheese queso, poblano pesto, roasted chile corn salsa and the fiery habañero salsa.
"The freshness of the product is what I like," said Graspointner who graduated from Xavier University in 2006 with a business degree.
The restaurant's queso burrito got Graspointner hooked on the chain as a college student. He found himself eating at the restaurant almost every night for a week straight, he said.
Graspointner plans to open one or two more Fresno restaurants and two in Visalia.
Qdoba joins other casual chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill.
On its own feet
Say goodbye to Good Feet and hello to Feet R Us.
The five locally owned Good Feet Stores have been renamed and no longer are part of the national franchise.
Larry Schneider operated the specialty footwear retailer for 10 years with stores in Fresno, Merced, Visalia, Bakersfield and Seaside. The stores are known for custom-fit arch supports and comfort shoes.
But a changing marketplace and the desire for independence drove Schneider to go out on his own.
As part of the franchise, Schneider was restricted from buying competitor's products.
"There is nothing wrong with their products, but there has been an explosion in this industry over the last several years, and now we can offer our customers a lot more," Schneider said.
Schneider will keep operating all five stores and is looking at opening a sixth store in Santa Barbara.
Jewelry goes glam
Fresno jewelry maker Nicole Mazziliano has reached several milestones in her 10-year career. And now she has reached another one.
Mazziliano's jewelry is featured in Glamour magazine's app for the iPad. Her $65 leather and crystal wrist cuff was selected by the magazine's editors as one of 14 "must-have" festive accessories in the December issue.
Mazziliano met with the magazine's accessories director in New York last summer and they liked her work.
"She said she loved what I was doing and said we have to get you in the magazine," Mazziliano said.