Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bakersfield grows west toward a new "epicenter," the owners of Pyrenees Cafe benefit from customer and employee loyalty and a new sports radio program makes its debut

 * … GROWTH: The intersection of Panama Lane and Gosford Road is positioned to be the
"epicenter" of growth in the southwest and could eventually be as large a retail center as the Northwest Promenade. That's according to Vince Roche, a partner in the commercial brokerage firm Cushman and Wakefield, who was my guest on First Look with Scott Cox. Roche said that intersection, which just a few years ago was a sleepy little farming area, will provide the same kind of retail coverage that the Northwest Promenade does off Rosedale Highway. Roche also said that Total Wine, another larger wine retailer, is actively looking for locations in Bakersfield. And finally, Cushman and Wakefield has also branched into agricultural development and has hired Kevin Palla to head that operation.

 * … FOODIE:  If you want an example of the benefits of both customer and employee loyalty, look no further than Rod and Julie Crawford, co-owners of Pyrenees Cafe. Before buying Pyrenees, Julie was the long-timer manager of the popular Narducci's Cafe (right next door) until she was booted out in a dispute with owner Jimmy Narducci. What happened? More than 20 Narducci's employees (many of them with more than eight years at Narducci's) followed Rod and Julie next door to Pyrenees, where business is popping, and the customers followed. "We could not be happier," Julie told me. "When you treat people right, they are loyal."

 * … SPORTS RADIO: Bakersfield's newest all sports radio station, ESPN 1230 AM, has announced the launch of the Greg Kerr Show, weekdays from noon to 1 p.m.. Kerr is the dean of sports anchors in Bakersfield, having been the senior sports anchor for KBAK Channel 29 for over 20 years. The Greg Kerr Show will discuss local and national sports, feature great sports legends from the community, and engage the audience to call and share their opinions. ESPN Bakersfield 1230 AM is also the new home of The Jim Rome Show, weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

 * … CAR DEALERS: Not many of us have a memory like Stan Anderson, particularly when it comes to some of our long-gone car dealers. "Like Marilyn Kendig I can’t forget the Leo Meek Automobile jingle that we all heard so many times with the evening news," he wrote. "Another old time car dealer was Motor Center (not to be confused with Motor City).  Motor Center, which was located where the downtown GET terminal is today, sold all GM vehicles under one roof until GM decided to go to separate franchises. When they split Motor Center’s franchise up many of the brands went to managers from Motor Center. Adams took the Pontiac franchise, Gene Winer got Cadillac, and Bill Hawk got the Oldsmobile franchise. I’m not sure if Ed Fant who had the Buick dealership came from the Motor Center breakup. Before Highway 178 joined up with 24th Street, most all these dealers lined 24th Street."

 * … OVERHEARD: A local man is talking about spending the weekend on the Central Coast. "We were coming back on Highway 46 and I swear, as soon as we hit the Kern County line we hit fog. It was a total buzz kill."

 * ..,. MEMORY: J.J. Gianquinto posed this question for all you history buffs out there: (former sheriff "Charlie Dodge often told the story about a relatively prominent man in Bakersfield, initials GCR, who rode his horse into the lobby, and maybe the bar, of the old El Tejon Hotel.  Do you, or does anyone else, know who that person was?"

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