Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Contra Costa Medical Career College cuts ribbon on new location in Antioch

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

CEO Stacey Orozco (with scissors) celebrates the ribbon cutting of the new location of Contra Costa Medical Career College with Antioch Mayor Sean Wright (in white shirt), other community leaders, Chamber of Commerce leaders and members,, and college staff and students on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.

By Allen Payton

On Friday, August 11 Antioch community and business leaders, and Chamber of Commerce members joined with Stacey Orozco, CEO of the Contra Costa Medical Career College and her staff and students to cut the ribbon to officially open their new location in Antioch.

The school relocated in town after trying to buy the former AAA building on Auto Center Drive in 2015. (See related article)

Richard Pagano, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce said, “We’re so happy for you guys with everything you’re doing and everything you’ve accomplished.”

Mayor Sean Wright was also on hand to share his and the City’s congratulations.

“Having taken a tour of this location and seeing how beautiful it is, I’m so excited to see where you are right now,” he stated. “The Lord knows better than we do. I’m glad Antioch got to keep you. So, on behalf of the City of Antioch we have a certificate of appreciation,” which he presented to Orozco.

She then shared her appreciation for the opening of the school in its new location.

“It wouldn’t be what it is without my staff or my family,” Orozco said. “Without my second family this business wouldn’t be in existence.”

A representative of Congressman Jerry McNerney presented certificates of recognition from McNerney and Assemblyman Jim Frazier. A representative of County Supervisor Diane Burgis presented a certificate of recognition, as well.

“We wish you nothing but the best and look forward to see what comes out of it,” Pagano added.

Then Orozco cut the ribbon to cheers from those in attendance.

Now located at 4051 Lone Tree Way at Blue Rock Drive in the Blue Rock Center, the Contra Costa Medical Career College “is a small, private vocational training institution that is fully approved to operate by the California state Bureau for Private Post-secondary Education” which opened in July, 2011 and became fully accredited in May, 2013, according to their website at The school offers courses for those who want to become medical assistants, as well as in the areas of surgical technology, pharmacy technology, phlebotomy and more.

For more information call (925) 757-2900 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit their website or Facebook page.

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New veterans Second Chance Family Store now open in Antioch’s downtown Rivertown

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

The new Second Chance Family store offers clothes, housewares, décor, art and more.

Features rare war images available for purchase; benefits local non-profit

Some of the photos from the Warrior Images art show available for purchase at the store.

By Allen Payton

The East County Veterans have opened a new store, today, Monday, August 14, 2017 in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown. It’s named the Second Chance Family Store and their first customer was Mike Gilmore, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army.

Located at 520 W. 2nd Street, the store offers clothes, shoes, military hats, housewares, home décor, artwork for sale to support the organization’s efforts serving veterans in Antioch and East County.

Josie Monaghan, the director of the organization and manager of both the new store and their Thrift Store next door, was excited to have the store open.

Before the store opened it hosted the first annual Iraq and Afghanistan Photo Art Gallery Sale, entitled “Warrior Images”, presented by Joey Garcia, a local combat veteran Marine and Monaghan’s son, on Sunday August 6.

Josie Monaghan thanks the store’s first customer Mike Gilmore, a Vietnam War Army Veteran.

The rare photos and images, taken by Garcia and many other veterans from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, were and are for sale. All proceeds benefit East County Veterans Support Services, which is a local non-profit organization run by Josie Monaghan, who has been helping veterans for years.

The idea behind the art show was not only to raise money with veterans in need, but to inspire people with images captured overseas. Images like yours and mine that have been hidden away for years in my garage collecting dust.

“The photos serve many purposes, including to remind us of loved ones living or gone, who also served in previous conflicts of war, to enjoy as art in your home or to remind us of the voices of those veterans who sacrificed all, and are no longer with us,” said Garcia.

The event was catered by Big Don’s BBQ and featured a live performance by Antioch’s own Ben Benkert, plus music by DJ Christina Amato of CC entertainment.

Stop in the store today to see the photos and the many other items available for purchase. East County Veterans Support Services is a tax exempt non-profit 501c3 organization. For more information call (925) 206-4976 or email You can also “Like” them on Facebook.

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New Rivertown business, Serenity & Sobriety opens with ribbon cutting

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Serenity & Sobriety store owners Nancy Mattingly and Jim Albert, center with scissors, prepare to cut the ribbon to officially open their new store on Friday, July 28, 2017.

By Allen Payton

Antioch business owners, community and Chamber of Commerce leaders, as well as friends and family joined Nancy Mattingly and Jim Albert, owners of the new Serenity & Sobriety store, located at 208 G Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown, for a ribbon cutting to officially open their store on Friday, July 28.

Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock spoke on behalf of the city council.

“I want to welcome Serenity & Sobriety to downtown,” she said. “It’s a very eclectic store. It adds to the beauty of downtown.”

Jim and Nancy inside their store.

A representative of Assemblyman Jim Frazier presented the owners with a special certificate of recognition.

Richard Pagano, CEO of the Chamber spoke, next.

“On behalf of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, thank you for your investment in downtown Antioch,” he said. “We’re very excited for you.”

Nancy responded by saying, “I just want to thank you for taking the time out of your lives to welcome Jim and I to downtown. Please spread the word.”

“We have ‘normie’ stuff, not just for recovery,” she explained. “I hope to make a difference in people’s lives. I used drugs and alcohol for 44 years. One of the reasons we chose this place is we have the Alano Club here.”

In addition to the AA and NA recovery items, the store offers Woodstock windchimes, handmade soy candles, handmade jewelry, herbal teas and mediation CD’s.

Jim shared a bit of his background, as a reason for why he opened the store.

“I’m into recovery like her,” he stated. “I’ve been sober for 42 years.”

He thanked all those who attended. Then everyone gathered as Nancy and Jim cut the ribbon to cheers from those in attendance.

Stop by and visit the new store, today. They’re open Sunday 11-4, Tuesday through Saturday 10-5 and their closed on Monday. Follow them on their Facebook page and for more information call (925) 978-9149 or email See their ad in the August issue of the Herald or on the left side of this website.

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Antioch Council approves additional smoke shop regulations

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Prevents new ones from opening in the city, with exceptions

By Allen Payton

With only three of the five members in attendance, the Antioch City Council during their July 25 meeting, voted to approve new regulations for smoke shops that sell cigarettes and drug paraphernalia, and voted to apply for a $10 million grant for a desalination plant. Both Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe and Council Member Monica Wilson were absent.

Due to the need for a 4/5’s vote to adopt, the council had to postpone the decision on an urgency item for a moratorium on the conversion of seniors-only mobile home parks to all-ages housing until the Aug. 8 meeting.

Smoke Shop Regulations

The council approved a new definition of tobacco product and what a tobacco and drug paraphernalia retailer is, amending the existing city ordinance. (Read the complete staff report and ordinance, here: Antioch Smoke Shop Ordinance new regs 07-25-17)

According to the city staff report by Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs, the action prohibits, “with a couple of exceptions, a general medical exception…there’s also an exception on convenient stores which are ancillary to gas stations, as long as less than 20% of their sales area is devoted to tobacco.”

“The current owner can operate it, but it would not be allowed to be sold and continue,” he explained. “Five years is the mark, giving someone ample time to recoup their investment.”

No members of the public spoke during the public hearing. However, letters were submitted by organizations representing the tobacco retailers.

“I’m glad we’re finally at this point on this ordinance,” said Council Member Lori Ogorchock. “Only a few people have reached out to me.”

“This ordinance is coming to fruition, I hope tonight because of the smoke shops and our children,” she explained. “I don’t believe these smoke shops should be allowed in our city. So, I’m happy to see this on the agenda.”

She then chided the tobacco retail business owners for not attending the meeting and speaking about the issue.

“I feel it’s every business owner’s responsibility to know what’s going on in this city,” Ogorchock stated. “I would hope and pray you would read the agenda packets. There’s five members on the council you can reach out to. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Please know what’s going on in the city if you own a business in this city.”

“I appreciate the comments from my colleague, Councilwoman Ogorchock,” he said. “The only question is existing businesses. Are they grandfathered? How will this affect them?”

“This ordinance seems like it will give them more direction and understanding,” Tiscareno continued. He asked about “family member transferrable businesses. Those are things that kind of concern me. I agree we shouldn’t have any newer ones. It doesn’t deny those stores of selling their products. It’s just more keeping that corner neighborhood and our kids safe.”

“They’re given a certain amount of time if they decide to get out of it to have potential new owners…up to 2023 for an established business to get established with the new criteria,” he stated.

“It’s unfortunate that these store owners weren’t here to express their concerns. Shame on them, really for not being here,” Tiscareno said reiterating Ogorchock’s concern. “I think there was enough ample time for those folks to be here. I actually received calls an hour before city council for us to postpone this. I’m not going to delay this because of folks not looking at an agenda.”

He asked for clarification about the new regulations on existing businesses and potential family owners.

Ebbs responded with explanation of the aspects of the ordinance.

“I’ll speak to the two kinds of tobacco retailers that are probably important to you. The first is called the smoke shop which is a place that has more than 20% dedicated to the sale of tobacco. Those businesses, we counted 11…in the city. They may continue to operate. They don’t have to make any changes in their operation. They may sell their business to a new operator. But as of Jan. 1, 2023 they may no longer sell their business. So, that’s the restriction on those types of businesses.”

“Other tobacco retailers in the city, it’s a very similar case except for there’s no restrictions on them selling it,” Ebbs continued. “So, if you’re a corner market you sell groceries and all sorts of things, and you happens to sell cigarettes also, and you’re less than 5,000 square feet, you may continue to operate without restrictions. Five years come and go then you can sell it.”

“New operators coming in have, very restrictive,” he stated. “You have to be over 5,000 square feet or tied to a gas station. Other than that the city will not be entertaining new tobacco retailers of any sorts. Even a small mom and pop corner market types. That is what is written before you.”

Tiscareno asked about transfers of businesses to “inherited family members.”

“Interfamilial transfers would be protected,” said Interim City Attorney Derek Cole.

“The 20%, where did that number come from?” asked Mayor Sean Wright.

“It’s observed in other ordinances that we looked at,” Ebbs responded. “You’d be hard pressed to find a store with 20%. Those stores that have vertical storage of cigarettes, at least…the actual floor area is pretty small.”

“I should point out too that drug paraphernalia sales are not permitted at tobacco retailers going forward, on new operators,” he added.

“The amendments we made tonight answer the questions in those letters we received,” Ogorchock stated. “This is a safety issue for our children and a quality of life issue for the City of Antioch.”

Tiscareno asked about hookah lounges and potential cigar bars, brought up by Thorpe at the previous council meeting, and if they would be permitted.

“If a business did come up in the future that we felt was legitimate, council could hear that and amend the ordinance or is this it?” he asked.

“You could absolutely amend it,” Ebbs stated.

“We’re going to be pursuing a separate effort that relates to smoking…in parks, and certain types of flavored tobacco,” he added. There’s a lot of momentum and a lot of that happening in the county.”

The council adopted the ordinance on a 3-0 vote, but it must come back for a second reading at the next council meeting on Aug. 8, for a final vote.

Grant Application for Desalination Plant

The council voted to direct City Manager Ron Bernal “to submit a grant application, execute a funding agreement and certify funding disbursement to the California Department of Water Resources for grant funding up to $10,000,000 from the Proposition 1 Water Desalination Grant Program for the Brackish Water Desalination Project.”

Chichibu Sister City 50thAnniversary

The council also recognized the 50th anniversary of the Antioch-Chichibu, Japan Sister City relationship. Mayor Sean Wright recently returned from a trip to Japan, along with his family members and other members of the Sister City Committee.

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Police seek four suspects in Wednesday morning jewelry store robbery at Antioch mall

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Ron Jewelers inside Somersville Towne Center was robbed by four suspects, Wed. morning, July 19, 2017. Photo by Allen Payton

One of the glass cases that was smashed by the thieves. Photos of cases by witness who chose not to be identified.

By Acting Sgt. Shawn Morin #5227, Antioch Police Field Services Bureau & Allen Payton, Publisher

On July 19, 2017 at approximately 11:20 a.m., Antioch Police Officers were dispatched to the Somersville Towne Center at 2550 Somersville Road for an unknown disturbance. Upon the Officers’ arrival, they learned that four male suspects entered the Ron Jewelers store located inside the east end of the mall,  near the Macy’s store, and smashed the glass cases with metal tools. The suspects were able to flee the store on foot with stolen jewelry and left the mall in a silver Infiniti sedan.

Two witnesses, who requested to not be identified, said they saw four men run to the east end of the mall, and out the south exit doors “toward the Smart & Final” store, located on the outside of the mall.

The value of the jewelry taken has yet to be determined. The four suspects were dressed in similar clothing.

“They had masks and dark glasses, and yellow construction-type, safety reflector clothing,” one witness said.

The same witness heard the sounds and ran to the jewelry store.

“I heard the cracking sound. So, I knew something was going on there,” the witness said. “I rushed down there and the people from that side were running here,” in the witness’ direction. “They had metal hammers and were smashing the glass cases. I saw them breaking the glass and stealing the jewelry,” the witness continued. “They had a gun. I think it was a toy, paper spray gun. But it looked real. I was afraid, so I ran away and called 9-11. I told my friend to call 9-11 from his store phone.”

Another smashed glass jewelry case.

Asked how long the suspects were in the store, the witness responded, “more than five minutes.”

“The police came very fast,” the witness added.

A store owner said the four suspects entered the mall through from the Macy’s store.

During the robbery, an employee was pepper sprayed and was later transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Somersville Towne Center Marketing Manager Shannon Skinner offered the following statement:

“Today around 11:30 am we had an incident occur inside a store in the mall. The incident is currently being investigated by the Antioch Police Department; therefore, we cannot comment any further. However, the mall remains open.”

But, the Ron Jewelers store was closed, with the glass cases covered, the glass had been cleaned up and a commercial size vacuum was sitting on the floor inside, at about 5:30 p.m. The store is expected to reopen by Friday, according to a man who works at one of the kiosks, nearby.

Somersville Towne Center is the only enclosed and air-conditioned mall in Eastern Contra Costa County.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident is encouraged to contact the Antioch Police Department at (925) 778-2441.

Inside the Ron Jewelers store, late Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Allen Payton

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Grand Opening of newest store in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown, Sat & Sun

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

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Kangazoom is the place in Antioch for summer and year-round fun

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Classic video games are now at Kangazoom.

Adds classic video games

By Jesus Cano

With the summer coming up, Kangazoom has loaded up their business with more amenities for their customers.

After years of being vacant due to Golf N Games going out of business, the establishment was open in August of 2016, and is described by many of the residents of Antioch to be a hot spot for fun. They already have a 36-hole mini-golf course, and have added a plethora of arcade games that date back to the 80’s.

Many of the games include classics such as Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Streetfighter. People have stated that these arcade game provide a unique spot for Kangazoom, as these gems are slowly starting to be left in the dust for the new era of technology

“The main intention of adding these games is to bring back a blast from the past,” Owner Marcus Jefferson said.

Kangazoom also has two party rooms, but with beautiful Bay Area summer weather rolling their way, they decided to open up a Barbeque area.

Jefferson also hopes to put good usage the available race track they have which is located at the end of their parking lot. He also seeks to bring friendly competition by hosting multiple mini-golf tournaments for people of all ages, along with more activities and additions this summer

Kangazoom also has a special deal going on for youth baseball and softball players, where you pay regular price for rounds and get double.

Baseball & Softball Team Specials

2 Tokens for $5

4 Tokens for $9

6 Tokens for $13

1 Hour Batting Cage Rental $25

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and former Los Ángeles Dodger Aaron Miles used these batting cages back when the place was known as Golf N Games.

Kangazoom is open every day. Monday- Thursday from 3-8pm, Friday from 12-9pm, Saturday 11am-9pm and Sunday from 11am-7pm.

To book a party or any general business inquires contact them at (925)776-4386, or visit their website at

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New Rivertown Treasure Chest co-op benefits local non-profits, Grand Opening Sat & Sun, July 1 & 2

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Shoppers enjoy the variety of items at Rivertown Treasure Chest.

By Allen Payton

Another new store has opened in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown, incorporating the area in it’s name: Rivertown Treasure Chest. It’s a co-op that’s co-owned by three ladies, Debbie Blaisure, Toni Lincks and Earlene Lanter and a portion of the sale of some items will benefit three local non-profit organizations.

Blaisure and Lincks bring their retail experience from owning Oddly Unique, just down the street. But, this store was a result of a dream.

“I had a dream of mixing the new and old in a co-op,” Blaisure said. “Johnny Depp came to me in a dream and said to have a treasure chest theme,” she joked.

The tag line says it all – “Something for all ages from all decades,” Blaisure added.

They rent out space in their store to other retailers, who offer a wide variety of items, including clothing, candy and other sweets, plants – including carnivorous types, greeting cards, and gifts.

The three non-profits that the store benefits are Celebrate Antioch Foundation which runs Antioch’s July 4th Celebration and the Holiday Delites in December; An Elderly Wish Foundation which grants wishes to seniors; and Special Haven, also located on G Street, which provides a multi-sensory environment for the benefit and development of children and adults with Special Needs.

Folks can donate their used wood furniture, art, statures, vases and vinyl records and half of the proceeds from the sale of the item will be donated to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Two of the ladies who help manage the store, Naomi Paul and Mary Freeman said the reason they like the store, is it brings “something that downtown Antioch deserves.”

“A little kid just bought something and an adult bought something,” Mary added, supporting the slogan of something for all ages.

Stop by Rivertown Treasure Chest at 306 G St. in Antioch and browse through all the sections to see the interesting items “from all decades.” Learn more by calling 925-238-0090 or visiting

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