Signs advertising retail space around San Ramon have been hanging in some places for countless months and even years.
I remember when "3 Day Blinds" closed in the Marketplace about 5 years ago. That space, next to Nob Hill, has been vacant ever since... until now.
Only weeks ago, a brand new toy store opened its doors. This new business venture, called Learning Express, rose up in trying economic times and is just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Learning Express is not simply a smaller version of chain toy stores. Instead, their target market is educational toys for inquisitive minds, including science experiments you make yourself to cool outdoor toys you can't find elsewhere.
Plus, they give back to our local schools by hosting fundraisers where a portion of the store's profit is donated back to our kids.
This past week, remodeling began in the old Marie Callender's restaurant site on San Ramon Valley Boulevard. Scraping off and then painting the exterior was under way for the new Southern restaurant, Clementine's, that is slated to open in February. In fact, Marie Callender's was only closed for a short time before their retail space was swooped up by the owners of the "Country Waffles" chain.
Fat Maddie's Grill, located at 2005 Crow Canyon Place, opened less than a year ago in a restaurant space that had seen other restaurants come and go from El Balazo to a short lived chili spot. However, Fat Maddie's packs them in, especially for the lunchtime crowd during the work week, yet further proof that new businesses can find their own niche in a tight economy.
It's exciting to see new businesses appearing and taking a chance in our community. It's up to us, as community members, to see to it that these new local businesses flourish by becoming first time or repeat customers.