Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Somersville Towne Center to host monthly Antioch Chamber Mixer Thursday, June 28

Monday, June 25th, 2018


They will be highlighting our new tenant, Huckleberry Kitchen, a Lafayette business managed by Futures Explored  and staffed by adults with developmental disabilities.

will be highlighting our new tenant, Huckleberry Kitchen, a Lafayette-based business managed by Futures Explored
and staffed by adults with developmental disabilities.

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Antioch city manager announces hiring of new economic development director

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Kwame Reed from his LinkedIn profile.

Antioch City Manager Ron Bernal announced the hiring of Kwame Reed as Antioch’s new Economic Development Director. Currently the Senior Analyst for Economic Development in Brentwood, California, Reed will start his new role with Antioch on July 2, 2018.

Reed brings over 20 years of professional experience in local and regional government agencies, with roles that include planning, redevelopment, affordable housing, project management and economic development. He is the 2018-19 Chairman of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

“Quality jobs, redeveloping underperforming properties and a vibrant downtown are important to our community, said City Manager Ron Bernal stated. “This newly created position shows just how serious the City Council is about economic development. Kwame is familiar with our region and its unique opportunities and challenges. His strong interpersonal skills will be key to retaining and attracting businesses and employers. Kwame and our Economic Development Project Manager Lizeht Zepeda will make a powerhouse team.”

His starting salary will be $140,448, according to Nickie Mastay, Antioch’s Administrative Services Director.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Reed has served in his current position since 2004. During part of that time, from 2008 to 2013, he owned a portrait photography business. Prior to his time with Brentwood, Reed worked for the City of Oakley as an associate planner from 2002-2004, a planner for the San Joaquin County Regional Rail Commission/ACE Train from 1999-2002 and a planner for the San Joaquin Council of Governments where he got his start in 1995.

He graduated in 1995 with a degree City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Reed has been married for 21 years, is the father of three, two boys age 19 and 14, and a daughter who is 12. He enjoys watching them play golf and basketball.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Free Business Development Incentives Workshop for Antioch businesses Tuesday night

Monday, June 18th, 2018

A free one-hour workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 19th at 6:30 p.m. at the Antioch Community Center. This workshop will help local businesses understand and find incentives for their business retention and expansion efforts.

Location: Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way

Date & Time: June 19, 2018   6:30-8:00pm

This workshop will discuss incentives that help local businesses to access over 100 local, state, federal and private subsidies and expense reduction programs that provide millions in savings that directly impact local businesses.

Antioch businesses may qualify for and access these programs with no out of pocket cost and will have an opportunity to estimate their savings and begin the process of procuring their savings at this workshop. Participating businesses may slash operating costs by 3-10% without significant changes to operations.

Typical business activities targeted for incentives are:

·      New employee hiring

·      New and existing employee training

·      Retention of existing employees

·      Innovation and implementation of new technologies

·      Reduction in facility and operations expenses

·      New startups in Antioch (formed within past five years)

·      Existing companies relocating to Antioch

The City of Antioch is partnering with Optimum Business Solutions, LLC, a Better Business Bureau A+ member and local Antioch resident and CEO, Daniel Herzberg will be conducting the workshop.

Seating is limited, so please arrive early to secure your space. This is open to any business in Antioch, please register on Eventbrite: https://tinyurl.com/y7esm3ub

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Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill searches for a great chef

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill building has a new look. Photo by Allen Payton

Help us find a great chef for our restaurant. Please share.

Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill – Antioch’s newest waterfront dining location, expected to open later this summer at the former Humphrey’s location – is seeking an experienced and passionate Chef de Cuisine to lead our culinary team. You will be working directly with our Executive Chef to create new menu items as well as be responsible for the day to day operation of our kitchen.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY:

Individual must possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities and must be able to demonstrate that they can perform the essential functions of the position.
1. A GREAT ATTITUDE

2. Excellent interpersonal skills with subordinates and superiors

3. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment is required.

4. Ability to effectively problem solve

5. Ability to ensure perform proper food prep and presentation, no short cuts

6. Ability to hire quality employees as well as train, support, motivate and develop employees

7. Dependability and follow through.

8. Knowledge of food and beverage operations and equipment is required.

9. Flexible schedule,

10. Dependable transportation

11. Certain physical requirements including standing for long periods, tolerance of extreme temperatures, ability to lift / push / pull 50 lbs, ability to properly and safely use all kitchen tools and equipment

12. Maintain a professional demeanor with superiors, subordinates, peers, vendors and guests at all times. Lead by example setting a high standard for yourself and others.

13. Food safety certification (Training provided)

14. Harassment Training Certification (Training Provided)

15. Basic computer knowledge including, email, internet, Word and Excel

16. Ability to read, write and speak English

17. Good Math Skills

18. Ability to understand and properly execute recipes

19. Ability to perform basic cleaning and sanitation practices

20. Ability to handle a knife and other sharp objects with extreme caution and skill

21. Ability to handle food safely

22. Ability to convert measurements

23. Ability to work as a team player and communicate with co-workers effectively

We are looking for someone with at least three years’ experience as a sous chef / chef de cuisine in an upscale environment with extensive experience working with a wide variety of seafood. This is a working management position and requires availability on weekends and holidays. Must be able to place food orders, write back of house schedules, set pars and production and process fresh meats and seafoods. Our ideal candidate will excel working in a team environment. Our top priority is coaching and developing hourly team member to increase skill set and execution of menu items.

Email resume to contactus@zephyrgrill.com for consideration.

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Payton Perspective: Let’s look toward a brighter future and offer constructive input for Antioch’s rebranding effort

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Aspire, Achieve and Acquire in Antioch to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

If you haven’t heard already, the City of Antioch hired a consulting firm to help rebrand the city, in an effort to overcome the negative views and stereotypes that others outside and even some of our own residents inside Antioch have of our community.

For full disclosure, I formed an advertising, marketing and branding agency, last year, and brought on a team of five other local business owners who are professionals in branding, graphic design, websites and social media, and event planning. We put in a bid, but it was not accepted.

While I was critical of one of the five “Big Ideas” by the consultant mentioned in their proposal to the city, I’ve been willing to give them a chance and spent two hours with them, a week ago Friday, sharing my concerns and ideas, and an overview of the assets we have in the community, as well as some of Antioch’s rich history, upon which I believe they can build a new brand.

Rich History

First, I told them that a bit about our rich history. Antioch is the oldest city in the county, having been established as Smith’s Landing in 1849, renamed Antioch in 1851 at the July 4th picnic, and then incorporated in 1872. The number one reason the city was formed was for public safety. I have a copy of the incorporation papers in my office declaring that.

Clean & Safe

Second, I shared that the city needs to focus on two things, initially – clean and safe. That’s the same thing I learned that cities focused on, specifically with their downtowns, back when I was on the council from 1994-998. So, this is nothing new. It just needs to happen and quicker.

I pointed out the obvious, that we must get our crime under control – which according to Chief Brooks’ latest reports is happening – we won’t be able to attract the kind of businesses and employers to our city, nor will the upscale homes be built in the Sand Creek area, which are needed for Antioch’s long-term economic and financial success. In order to accomplish that the City Council must regain faith with the public and get us the 22 more sworn police officers we were promised if we passed Measure C and be honest with us by using the correct base figure of 89 officers, which were in the budget and on the force, before the measure was passed, for a total of 111 officers, not the 82 officers we had after it passed for a total of 104.

We need the council to direct City Manager Ron Bernal and Chief Brooks to “hire more cops, faster” and “a cop a week is all we ask.”

The city council and staff also need to crack down on the litter, including the shopping centers and require them to keep it picked up. People, please put your trash in the trash can and remind others to do the same. Also, keep your yard clean and maintained and show some pride of place, please.

Finally, the city council and staff must work with the county and local churches and charities to solve the homeless problem. We need them to get Supervisors Glover and Burgis who represent portions of our city, to bring more services out here to Antioch and East County where the need has grown over the past several years, instead of continuing to focus so much of the resources on West County.

City’s Assets

Third, I pointed out that we have a lot of assets that other cities don’t have. We have the river and waterfront, with access to the deep-water channel that serves the Port of Stockton. That port is currently doing $2 billion in annual business. According to the late, former Pittsburg Economic Development Director, Brad Nail, Antioch has a greater potential for a deep-water port than Pittsburg has. We need to build one in the Wilbur Avenue corridor to create the well-paying, industrial jobs for our residents.

That also allows for recreation, with boating on the river, with the marina and two boat launches. I shared that we need to develop a big boat berth marina either at G Street or at the old Tommy’s Harbor near Rodgers Point and The Red Caboose on Fulton Shipyard Road, on the east end of downtown, to attract boaters with money who will stop and enjoy lunch and shopping during a day on the Delta.

We also have our historic, downtown Rivertown which has so much potential. I suggested to them the idea of creating a Pier 39-type boardwalk on the water, running along the waterfront from the fishing pier next to the Riverview Lodge all the way to E Street, near the Old Lumber Company Building, to help attract more people to downtown. Plus, the renaming of L Street to Marina Way and A and West Second Streets to Rivertown Drive and West Rivertown Drive for permanent marketing of Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown (as has been in the city’s plans since the 1996 Economic Development Plan was adopted), especially now that Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill is getting ready to open at the former Humphrey’s location. That’s the best location on the Delta for dining.

We also have the rail line running through the north side of our city, bringing goods and people in and out of our city from the Port of Oakland, across the country. We need to take greater advantage of that.

We have Highway 4 widened to Antioch, and the section between Sand Creek Road and Balfour Road (of what used to be referred to as the Bypass) about to be completed.

Of course, we also now have the BART extension and station in Antioch. That opens up all kinds of economic development opportunity, surrounding and near the station.

We have empty commercial buildings for businesses to locate in and we have land, specifically the 200 acres that were set aside 20 years ago, this year, in the Laurel Road/Highway 4 interchange area for commercial development and employment. Slatten Ranch Road will bisect the property and connect Slatten Ranch Shopping Center and the Antioch BART Station to Laurel Road. That will begin construction once the homes on the other side of the freeway begin being built and paying the developer fee for the new road.

Another asset Antioch has is our immediate access to the adjacent, permanent, publicly owned open space of the East Bay Regional Park District with the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and soon the 900 acres of the Deer Valley open space where the Roddy Ranch Golf Course was located, and the surrounding new home development was planned.

Location & Transportation – The Jobs Highway

I also told the consultants that if you look at the map, Antioch is at the center of Northern California commerce. The only problem is we really can’t get there from here.

What we need is the connection out the back door to East County, which is the long-planned, four-lane Route 239 freeway between Brentwood and Tracy. Mayor Sean Wright refers to it as the “Jobs Highway” as it will connect us to Interstate 5, the lifeblood economic artery of the state. The total project, which has been referred to as the TriLink, also includes two lines of transit down the center, which will help connect the Antioch BART Station and the proposed Brentwood BART Station near Sand Creek Road, to Discovery Bay, Byron, Byron Airport, Mountain House, Tracy and back to Livermore and ultimately to the Pleasanton BART Station. The price for the TriLink is pegged at $1 billion.

But at the recent East County Transportation Summit two lower cost alternatives were discussed, including adding two lanes to the current Byron Highway/J-4 at a cost of just $200 million.

Branding –Aspire, Achieve, Acquire

Finally, I shared with the consultants some of my ideas for branding Antioch, that my team was going to pitch the city. First, I shared with them the acronym I used for my five-part economic development strategy, when running for city council in 1994 – B.R.E.A.D. for Business Retention, Expansion, Attraction & Development. The city needs to do what’s necessary to retain current businesses, allow them to expand, attract businesses to our city, and allow for the development of new businesses in our city. That puts bread on our tables, “bread” (the old slang word for money) in our pockets and “bread” in the city’s coffers with more sales and property tax revenue, to pay for more services.

I suggested we get away from the old city slogan, “Gateway to the Delta” because we want to be a place to come to, not somewhere to drive through or stop by on your way to somewhere else. I suggested we be known as the Jewel or Diamond of the Delta, and to become the Sausalito of the Delta.

I like alliteration, so I suggested using inspiring, uplifting, positive words to describe us beginning with the letter “A” of “Antioch Aspires” and “Antioch Achieves”. Or, Aspire in Antioch, Achieve in Antioch, Aquire in Antioch, as messages we can send to businesses we can attract to locate here. Antioch aspires for and desires to achieve greatness. If you want to locate a business here, you can acquire land or an existing building, aspire to and achieve greatness for your company.

I also thought of another word that begins with “A” that made me laugh, as it reminded me of that movie, The Big Lebowski, in which Jeff Bridges’ character is known as “The Dude” and had the saying “The Dude Abides”. That would be “Antioch Abides” or “Abide in Antioch”. Or maybe not. LOL

Actually, it’s because we can no longer abide the negative views of Antioch and the problems we face, that we must improve our city and rebrand it.

So, we need to let our people, the Bay Area and the rest of the world know that “you can aspire, acquire and achieve in Antioch to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams.”

That’s my input in an attempt to edify our community, focus on the positive and offer a future vision that I believe most of us want.

My encouragement to you is rather than be negative and point out all the things you don’t like about Antioch – while not being pollyannish and ignoring reality – please, focus on the kind of city you want Antioch to become and offer your constructive input to the consultants.

Residents are invited either to fill out a brief survey at https://tinyurl.com/antioch-brand or to email brandingantioch@ci.antioch.ca.us.

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Antioch Council votes 3-2 to allow recreational marijuana businesses in city

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

The two areas of Antioch where recreational marijuana related business will be allowed.

Two sections of town will be allowed to have any type of cannabis businesses including retail dispensaries, for now

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in spite of the overwhelming opposition from those who spoke against the item, the Antioch City Council voted 3-2 to approve a Cannabis Business Overlay District, allowing recreational marijuana related business in two sections of the city. Councilmembers Tony Tiscareno, who made the motion and Monica Wilson who seconded it, were joined by Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe to approve the ordinance. Mayor Sean Wright and Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, who was the most vocal opponent, voted against. Cannabis Business District Staff Report 05-22-18

The two areas where marijuana businesses could be allowed are in the Verne Roberts Circle area near Costco and the Wilbur Avenue corridor from A Street to the Antioch bridge. (See map above.) However, as Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs pointed out, “It does not permit, by right cannabis uses. Any cannabis business that wants to open in one of the shaded green areas would require a use permit from the city council and the council can deny.”

In addition, the council can come back later and add more restrictions to the types of marijuana businesses that could be allowed.

For now, all types, including retail are allowed, in spite of the concerns expressed by Police Chief Tammany Brooks, who warned of increases in violent crime due to the presence of “large amounts of cash and large amounts of marijuana.”

“From a law enforcement standpoint, we have a difficult time, especially on the retail side of the cannabis business…it’s always been on the illegal context,” he stated. “We do see the negative consequences of marijuana and other drugs…we see this as a taxing business on our resources. If we bring businesses in that could increase violent crime, and we’re talking about a cash only business…we have pizza delivery drivers who get robbed for a little money…”

Following public comments which were all opposed to the ordinance, as well as council discussion, Ogorchock made a motion to ban all uses, but it died without a second.

Wright said he was willing to allow research and manufacturing, only and wanted a ban on retail. Tiscareno, whose been a supporter of allowing marijuana businesses in Antioch as a revenue source “to pay for more police,” since 2012, said he supported retail for medical marijuana. But his motion for the ordinance without limitations approves the retail sales of recreational marijuana, as well.

Both the city staff and Antioch Planning Commission recommended the council adopt the ordinance.  However, the commission only passed it on a 3-2 vote, because two members were absent during the night of their meeting. Usually, four votes of the seven members are required to approve a recommendation to the council or oppose a matter.

Please check back later for more details and updates to this story.

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State of the City: Mayor Wright, Chief Brooks report on achievements, future of Antioch

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Mayor Wright shared this satellite map of Antioch and the surrounding area during his remarks to show all the open space in and near Antioch, compared to the small Sand Creek area (just northeast of “West Hartley”) planned for new homes. Source: Google Maps

“We want this to be the place that people want to live, not move away from.” Mayor Sean Wright. Speaks of balanced, conservative development

By John Crowder

On Friday, May 11, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the City luncheon for 2018 at the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Park.  While attendees dined on a lunch buffet provided by Celia’s Mexican Restaurant, they heard from Chief of Police Tammany Brooks and Mayor Sean Wright in a presentation that lasted just over an hour.

Richard Pagano, CEO of the Antioch Chamber, welcomed everyone to the event, then introduced Chief Brooks.

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks offers his remarks. Photos by Antioch Chamber of Commerce

Chief Brooks: Department Using Technology to Prevent, Reduce Crime

Brooks began his presentation by providing an update on the latest crime statistics.  The data he presented included statistics for the past year and trend information for the last five years.

Brooks went beyond the simple reciting of statistics, however, providing details that he said were being used to help law enforcement take a more proactive approach to community policing.  He shared that the information he was providing could also be used by members of the public to take actions that would substantially reduce the likelihood that they would become victims of crime.

Brooks noted that violent crime was down 20% over the past year.  Digging deeper into the data, he explained that, of the ten criminal homicides that had occurred, eight involved criminal activity, one involved a robbery, and one involved a family dispute.

Two-thirds of robberies, Brooks said, occurred at night.  Of the aggravated assaults that took place, in three-fourths of the cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim.  While there was a significant reduction in residential burglaries, he noted that in one-third of these crimes, the house itself or a window to the residence had been left unlocked or open.

Newer key technology, according to Brooks, contributed to the fact that almost 80% of car thefts were of cars that were 10 years old or older.  He noted that in 90% of these crimes, the stolen vehicle was recovered.  Brooks attributed a portion of this success to the installation of cameras equipped with license plate readers.  He emphasized how his department was continuing to seek ways to leverage technology to fight, and prevent, crime.

Other highlights shared by Brooks were that crime has been in decline over the past five years, that the City has had a net gain of fourteen officers since the passage of Measure C, and that response times have been significantly reduced. (Editor’s Note: The City has only had a net increase of seven officers since Measure C was passed, using the correct figure of 89 sworn officers as the base, not 82 that the council and staff are using).

Future priorities for the police department include a focus on gang and drug enforcement, increased collaboration with neighboring law enforcement agencies, and continuing engagement by officers and staff with members of the community.

Community volunteers, according to Brooks, continue to make substantial contributions to reducing crime and blight.  He highlighted the Volunteers In Police Service, the Police Explorers, and made special mention of Antioch resident Tim McCall, who led an effort to raise funds for additional K-9’s, which Brooks called a “force multiplier.”

He concluded his remarks by saying, “Antioch is already a safer city,” as he pledged to work to continue moving citizen safety in a positive direction.

Wright shared this satellite image of the Highway 4 interchange with Laurel Road, showing how it will connect with the other section of the road once the homes are built in that area. Source: Google Maps

Mayor Wright Highlights City’s Achievements

Mayor Sean Wright followed Brooks and began his remarks by thanking his fellow council members for working together, as he acknowledged each one of them individually.  Referring to the positive results that had been related by the Antioch Chief of Police, Wright said, “This all comes as we work together.  It’s all of us coming together.”

Mayor Sean Wright speaks about Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown during his remarks as Antioch Chamber of Commerce CEO Richard Pagano looks on.

Wright then highlighted some of the major economic development successes over the last year, including Best Buy moving to Antioch, the new Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill restaurant opening soon on the waterfront, BART operations beginning on May 26, the opening of the $15 million Rocketship School on Cavallo Road this coming fall, and the creation of four Opportunity Zones in the city.

Wright continued discussing economic development as he touched briefly on regional collaboration, and the desalination project that was a result of a major grant received by the City of Antioch, one of only three such grants in the state of California.

“This will help our community create jobs and create water,” he said. “This is huge for our community.”

Wright emphasized that there are many ways, now, for residents to become involved in Antioch and help the city move in a positive direction.  He noted that the City was providing information through Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, Antioch on the Move, Join the Conversation, and especially emphasized the SeeClickFix app. (Available for download on Android GooglePlay marketplace and at the Apple iTunes store.)

“There is no time to rest,” Wright continued. “We just finished districting.  Decisions on cannabis are coming up.  We’re hiring an economic development director, hopefully on board in the next two months.”

Addressing the homeless situation, Wright discussed the Care Center that was being built that would, “help the homeless get the services they need.”  Wright also thanked Council Member Lori Ogorchock and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, who he said, “worked together to bring a Family Justice Center to Antioch.”

Wright shared this satellite image of the Sand Creek Road/Highway 4 interchange and the east end of the Sand Creek Focus Area in Antioch, where the road will be extended. Source: Google Maps.

Says Sand Creek Will Take Antioch Into the Future

After discussing the “Four Corners” of Antioch, Wright turned his attention to the Sand Creek Focus Area. He said, “There’s a petition right now around Sand Creek,” which he noted was seeking support to curtail development of the area.

Showing a series of slides to put the issue into perspective, Wright said that development around Sand Creek of estate homes and senior housing was part of a long-standing plan to take Antioch into the future.  With respect to estate homes, Wright said, “These are jobs, these are people with money to invest.”  He also said that, without this development, “we get no connection,” referring to the fact that there are currently two off-ramps that take people into Brentwood and Oakley but go nowhere into Antioch.

When questioned further about this issue at the end of the presentation, Wright said, “Balanced, conservative development to help finish building infrastructure around the Laurel and Sand Creek exits should bring about senior and estate housing that does not exist in our community.  This development is vital if we are to attract those willing to make the investments in our community that will result in the high-tech jobs that we desire.”

Concluding his remarks, Wright said, “If you want to help, get involved.  Drive us to the future that we need.  We want this to be the place that people want to live, not move away from.  Thank you for coming today and thank you for your help.”

Antioch Chamber CEO Pagano, closing the event, encouraged everyone in Antioch to work together to improve the City.  “If there is an issue that you care about, please, step up and let your voice be heard,” he said.

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Annual Antioch Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 5

Friday, May 4th, 2018

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