Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
New “Next-Generation” Office design to better serve community
AAA Northern California announces a new location and updated design for its AAA Antioch branch office. The branch is now open for business as of today, Monday, March 14. This “Next-Generation” design features digital interactive areas that make waiting more productive and informative for members.
“AAA is dedicated to servicing its members with the expertise and quality they have come to expect,” says Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “The Next Generation design provides our members with a new way of doing business that will enable them to experience what AAA has to offer on a whole new level of service.”
AAA Antioch retail office is in the Slatten Ranch Shopping Center and provides a destination for members who will be able to access adjacent well-known retail shops and local restaurants. AAA Antioch has also extended its hours of service to include Saturdays. This will provide AAA members with access to all AAA services, and uniquely, DMV transactions. Hours of operations are Monday through Saturday, 9am-6pm.
The new address is:
Slatten Ranch Shopping Center
5799 Lone Tree Way
Antioch, CA 94531
AAA Antioch is a full-service branch office staffed with AAA insurance agents, providing life, auto and home insurance, AAA memberships, and AAA travel assistance. Free maps and tour books will also be available free of charge to all members.
A ribbon cutting and official opening of the new location will occur sometime later, Harris mentioned.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4.3 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 116 years ago.
Bill aims to boost ADA compliance through notification to improve access for all patrons, give businesses more time to comply
Stockton, CA – Standing with small business advocates and community leaders, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) announced new legislation to promote greater compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accessibility standards within the business community. ADA accessibility compliance lawsuits have hit the Stockton area particularly hard, with some businesses forced to shut down, relocate, or payout large settlements. New York, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania are among other states also affected by ADA-related lawsuit abuse.
The COMPLI (Correcting Obstructions to Mediate, Prevent, and Limit Inaccessibility) Act, H.R.4719, focuses on increasing ADA accessibility compliance among businesses to prevent predatory lawsuits from “high-frequency litigants” that hurt small businesses while not always bringing resolution the accessibility issue.
“I have heard from numerous local businesses who were forced to shut down, lay off employees, pay out large settlements, or change locations because of repeated lawsuits and threats of lawsuits that leave these businesses with little to no financial resources or time to fix the problem and become compliant,” said McNerney. “My COMPLI Act would give businesses a 90-day period after notification of a potential infraction to correct the access barrier. Increasing ADA compliance among the business community is good for the local economy, and it is something we can achieve while at the same time ensuring that aggrieved individuals are still able to bring lawsuits against businesses for ADA infractions. The ADA gives equal rights and access to individuals with disabilities, and I want to make sure everyone has equal access to enjoy the businesses within our communities.”
The COMPLI Act will require a potential plaintiff or aggrieved individual to provide written notice to the owner of the business, by certified mail, which identifies the specific ADA violation and the date and time the individual experienced the barrier.
Some of the most common ADA infractions include: not having enough accessible parking spaces; having non-compliant or missing parking signs; and issues related to loading zones and van accessible aisles.
McNerney’s legislation provides the business owner 90 days from the date of notification that a barrier exists to correct the barrier, before any lawsuit or demand letter can be issued. A business owner may qualify for an additional 30 day extension if he or she attempts in “good faith” to remedy an access barrier but is unsuccessful within the original 90 day compliance period.
Good faith can be determined if the business owner has: secured the appropriate construction permits and hired contractors to complete construction; or has begun construction and has worked to minimize delays in completion.
The business owner must also notify its customers of the ADA violation while it is in the process of correcting the barrier. Businesses must provide this notification to customers within 15 days after receipt of an ADA violation notice.
The California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) found that 54 percent of all ADA accessibility claims filed in California came from just two law firms, and 46 percent of those claims were filed by only 14 plaintiffs.
“As someone who has used a manual wheelchair for the past 17-years, I understand and appreciate the significance of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, as a defense attorney I understand that the ADA is severely abused and has become a money making scheme for a small handful of attorneys and serial plaintiffs,” said Rachelle Golden, an ADA defense attorney.
The COMPLI Act defines a “high-frequency litigant” as an individual who has brought 10 or more civil actions alleging ADA violations within the previous 12-month period. The bill aims to limit a high-frequency litigant’s ability to repeatedly file lawsuits in bad faith and encourages business owners to invest in updating their properties to meet the accessibility standards of the ADA.
The legislation also prohibits damages from being awarded to plaintiffs who were not denied reasonable access or reasonable use to a facility because of an ADA violation, in an attempt to curb “drive-by” plaintiffs” that prey on businesses without ever entering them or attempting to engage them in a business transaction.
Lastly, the bill requires the Department of Justice to submit a report to Congress two years after the bill is enacted, which:
· Determines how many people were categorized as a “high frequency litigant” during the two year period in each state
· Provides analysis on whether the bill’s provisions had an effect on the number of ADA accessibility lawsuits filed
· Provides analysis on whether the bill’s provisions have negatively impacted an individual’s ability to bring a legitimate, good-faith accessibility claim
· Recommends whether an attorney’s fee cap should be introduced in the future to reduce ADA abuse
“Most businesses are unaware of what violations they potentially have on their property, and when served with a complaint, they are forced with a decision to fight against the lawsuit, or close their doors. Most often, complaints allege minor, if not trivial violations, that are easily correctable without much difficulty or expense. It is imperative that federal legislature catch up with California state law and provide a notice and opportunity to cure before a lawsuit can be commenced. The COMPLI Act would allow businesses the opportunity to learn of and correct ADA violations before they are forced to engage in costly litigation,” added Golden.
The COMPLI Act is supported by small business and small business advocacy groups.
The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors took action on Thursday, February 25, 2016 to “support in concept” Congressman McNerney’s new bill to protect businesses and the community from “drive by lawsuits” in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Harassment and threats by the unscrupulous is not the way to accomplish full compliance! Fairness and cooperation will allow businesses to fully comply with the law if given a fair chance. It is important that the State of California follows the lead of Congressman McNerney and does the same,” said Judith Buethe, President of the Greater Stockton Chamber for 2015/16 and owner of Judith Buethe Communications.
Compliance with ADA has also hit many Antioch businesses including Celia’s Mexican Restaurant and the owners of the building where the New Beer Garden is located on West Second Street. The latter had to cut a doorway in the old, brick building and install a new handicap-access door.
“The Antioch Chamber of Commerce is excited to support the new legislation that Congressman McNerney is bringing forth to update the Americans with Disabilities Act to give our businesses the opportunity to improve their facilities in a timely manner and avoid unlawful suits that are ruining their businesses, the jobs they create, and the ability to support their family,” said Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.
Excessive ADA compliance lawsuits forced Chuck’s Hamburgers in Stockton to relocate after 55 years of service at the same location.
“I believe that this particular law was a good one when written. The problem lies with the few people that take advantage of the loophole. I’d like to thank Rep. McNerney for his support on such delicate matters,” said Steve Grant, owner of Chuck’s Hamburgers. “I felt that this law wouldn’t be seen for the negative impact it has on our communities and small businesses because it is lawyer versus lawyer and they manipulate the law. I’d like to thank Rep. McNerney for asking people like me to share my experience and offering small business owners hope that laws such as this will be changed.”
“We are excited about the introduction of the COMPLI Act. This is a necessary bill to ensure that the intent of the ADA is unchanged while providing relief to business to come into compliance without frivolous lawsuits closing their doors. We believe this is a great opportunity for the ADA community to work together with the business community to better educate business on the needs and partner on compliance. We look forward to supporting Congressman McNerney on these efforts and advocating for the bill’s passage,” said Bob Gutierrez, Chairman-elect of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“We are so very glad Congressman McNerney has authored this badly needed bill,” said Pat Patrick, President and CEO of the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses have been unfairly singled out and targeted by predatory lawyers taking advantage of ADA laws. The law without an enforcement clause has become an unfortunate opportunity for predatory lawyers. The provisions in Congressman McNerney’s ADA bill will give small businesses a 90-window to bring their business into ADA compliance.”
“This bill will allow businesses the opportunity to comply with ADA irregularities within a reasonable 90-day period without the burdensome legal costs of a civil suit. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and this bill would protect them from predatory lawyers and individuals who target them to obtain a financial settlement. CVACC supports Congressman McNerney on this legislation,” said Dennis Lee, CEO and President of the Central Valley Asian-American Chamber of Commerce.
“The California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau fully supports Congressman Jerry McNerney’s COMPLI Act. ADA abuses cost local businesses much time and money. We feel this legislation will help curb some of the excesses,” said Bill Wells, Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau.
The COMPLI Act is now referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Rep. Jerry McNerney serves California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of Antioch and Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.
Earn & Learn East Bay celebrated the Antioch Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Sean Wright as one of three Champions ‘On The Rise’ award winners in 2016 for their support of Education in our community.
“The Antioch Chamber of Commerce, and you as its CEO, are being honored for the countless ways you engage with Antioch Unified School District in its Linked Learning efforts–whether encouraging business engagement in our schools, providing technical assistance and support to Linked Learning pathways, lending a leadership voice to the Linked Learning statewide expansion, or coordinating business/education events to showcase our students and their demonstration of skills, you are to be commended for the passion and dedication you deliver every day to ensure student success,” said April Treece Director of the STEM Workforce Initiative of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership to Wright.
The Award was given on Friday, March 4th at the Hilton Concord at the Earn & Learn Kick-Off Breakfast with Principal of Antioch High School Louie Rocha and Principal of Deer Valley High School Ken Gardner in attendance.
About Earn & Learn East Bay
Earn & Learn East Bay connects employers to regional efforts designed to help grow our future workforce. We place students and young adults ages 16-24 in meaningful workplace experiences including summer jobs, internships and apprenticeships or in industry-led summer learning experiences. To create these opportunities, the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County, Contra Costa Economic Partnership and the Earn & Learn East Bay team rely largely on the support of local employers and community-based organizations.
Our efforts to create summer youth employment and enrichment experiences build off of a strong foundation that has provided more than 1,000 summer opportunities over the past five years. Our goal for 2016 is to connect at least 500 young people to jobs, internships and other high -quality work-based learning experiences, such as industry-led summer camps focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Benefits to employer partners:
- ·The opportunity to build your future workforce.
- ·The chance to showcase your industry and organization, including positive publicity as a partner supporting Earn & Learn East Bay (through publications, website, news media and special events).
- ·Direct impact on strengthening communities in the East Bay region.
Benefits to youth:
- ·Hands-on career and technical skills as well as life skills, such as communication, collaboration and critical thinking.
- ·Networking and relationship-building skills, and mentorships with industry professionals.
- ·Access to income and upward mobility, which can break the cycle of poverty.
- ·Newfound confidence in skills and abilities.
How it works:
- ·Learning goals are agreed upon by the youth participant, the employer partner, and a member of the Earn & Learn team, who also works with the participant throughout the summer.
- ·Youth typically work part time or full time over the summer months and earn minimum wage.
- ·The Earn & Learn team connects eligible youth to meaningful work experiences in a variety of industries.
- ·Contracted youth service providers can also serve as the employer of record, providing wages and covering insurance costs.
- ·Limited funds may be available to sponsor youth at your place of business. To find out how you can get involved, please visit www.earnlearneastbay.org or e-mail email@example.com
Vote for Your Favorite Antioch Businesses for Gold, Silver and Bronze awards and You’ll be Entered to Win Prizes from Local Businesses!
Our annual awards program is back to recognize those Antioch businesses, which the people like most.
The 2016 Antioch People’s Choice Awards will honor the best businesses as determined by your votes.
Be sure to see the official ballot on pages 13 and 14 of this issue, cut it out, write in your choices and mail or drop it off at our office at 101 H Street, Waldie Plaza, Suite 3 in downtown Antioch.
Ballots must be received by Friday, March 11 to be counted.
Winning businesses will be announced in our April issue and be given special decals for their business windows, and be able to use one of the logos, above in their advertising, throughout the year.
One ballot per person. Copies are accepted. Ballots will be entered into a drawing to win gift certificates from local businesses.
Download a copy of the ballot, here: 2016 People’s Choice ballot web
On Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Smart & Final, the value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer, announced the launch of its new giving campaign, First Street First Percent, which donates the first one percent of net profits from the sale of its First Street® private label brand products at its US-based Smart & Final banner stores in California, Nevada and Arizona to the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation™ to support local nonprofits.
“Smart & Final has a long history of giving back to the communities we serve,” said Smart & Final CEO Dave Hirz. “With our new First Street First Percent program, we are taking our community commitment to the next level.”
First Street, Smart & Final’s flagship private label brand, features more than 2,000 quality products and represents over 23 percent of Smart & Final’s total sales. Customers can find First Street® products across most categories throughout the store, from grocery, frozen and dairy to packaging and cleaning products.
Starting today, Smart & Final customers will see signage throughout the store that provides information about the First Street First Percent program and showcases how their purchase of First Street products can benefit local communities.
“Now when customers buy First Street products, our premier private label brand, they will be giving back to local communities through our Smart & Final Charitable Foundation,” Hirz added.
Through the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation, funds generated will support local nonprofits, e.g., food pantries, Little Leagues, Boys & Girls Clubs, the American Heart Association, Special Olympics, Olive Crest, local schools and many more.
“Buying First Street products will mean better playgrounds, more music in schools, more new uniforms and more meals for friends and neighbors in need,” Hirz continued.
Throughout the years, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation has donated millions of dollars to causes and organizations focused on four key areas – health and wellness, education, hunger relief, and team sports and youth development.
Recipients of donations range from local Little Leagues and Boys & Girls Clubs to food pantries and organizations such as The American Heart Association, Olive Crest and the Special Olympics. In 2015, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation gave more than $900,000 to community organizations in California, Arizona and Nevada where the company has stores.
When customers purchase First Street products, which range from grocery, frozen and dairy products to packaging and cleaning, they will be contributing to the development of more playgrounds, more school uniforms, and increasing the amount of meals available to people in need in their local communities.
For more information about First Street First Percent, visit www.smartandfinal.com/firstpercent.
About Smart & Final
Smart & Final Stores, Inc. (NYSE: SFS), is a value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer that serves household and business customers. The Company is headquartered in Commerce (located in Los Angeles), CA, where it was founded 145 years ago. As of January 3, 2016, the Company operated 276 grocery and foodservice stores under the “Smart & Final,” “Smart & Final Extra!” including their location in Antioch, and “Cash & Carry Smart Foodservice” banners in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho, with an additional 15 stores in northern Mexico operated through a joint venture.
Smart & Final Charitable Foundation, located at 600 Citadel Drive, Commerce, CA 90040, is a nonprofit charitable organization that donates to local charities and other non-profit organizations. No part of the purchase price for the First Street First Percent program may be deducted as a charitable contribution.
According to City Manager Steve Duran’s latest Weekly Report, a family owned company, Delta Fresh Operators, LLC, will open soon in the recently closed Fresh and Easy building at Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road. With 60 years of grocery experience, Harley and Dennis DeLano plan to open a neighborhood market with fresh meats, produce, organic products and prepared foods by April.
Delta Fresh Foods will have cashier checkers, stockers and baggers, anticipating about 50 employees and is seeking to hire locally. The 13,860 square foot building will be going thru some light renovations in the coming months to get the building ready for the new concept. The DeLano family owns two other grocery stores: Westlake Market in Davis and Fairfax Market in Fairfax, California.
By Allen Payton
Representatives of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Wade Harper, all four Antioch Council Members, downtown business owners and guests joined with owners Michael Gabrielson and Brandon Woods for the ribbon cutting and catered reception, to officially open G St. Mercantile in Antioch’s historic Rivertown on Friday evening, January 15th.
Before the ribbon was cut, guests were treated to delicious hors d’oeuvres catered by neighboring business Nature’s Bounty, some shopping and a few brief speeches.
“We need more activity down here,” said Harper. “The water is wonderful. Then we have Brandon and Michael bringing this wonderful, cute business to Antioch.”
“Downtown is going to be wonderful,” he continued. Then speaking of the City and City Council, he said “We’re all in. We know you’re going to be successful.”
We welcome G St Mercantile to Antioch,” said Jack Monroe, Membership Services with the Chamber. “Downtown is in revitalization. The downtown is our heart of the community.”
“With that, we welcome up to our heart,” he added.
A special proclamation from Assemblyman Frazier was read, then Gabrielson spoke.
“We wanted to thank everyone for being here this evening to celebrate,” he said. “We want to thank the City of Antioch for their support and the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.”
“A big reason we wanted to be downtown is because of the history,” Gabrielson continued. “Antioch is a hidden gem.”
He spoke of the support from fellow downtown businesses.
“It is a great business community,” he shared.
“We have over 20 vendors and they are a big part of our success,” Gabrielson added.
Then the ribbon was cut followed by a round of applause and shopping ensued.
‘The store offers furniture, antiques and vintage items, as well as gifts. It is located at 205 G Street in downtown Antioch and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information like them on Facebook.