Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Emerald HPC International honored as Antioch’s 2021 Small Business of the Year

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Owners Keith and Iris Archuleta

During the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gala on March 11, Emerald HPC International, LLC was honored as the 2021 Antioch Small Business of the Year. HPC stands for High Performing Communities and that’s what owners Keith and Iris Archuleta have worked to create in Antioch, by “Improving the Lives of People, Creating Healthy Organizations, and Building Sustainable Communities” as the mission states on their company’s website.

The Archuletas have served the Antioch community for over 20 years.  Since 1992, their company Emerald HPC has provided consulting, coaching, education, and training to empower and equip leaders of businesses, non-profits, foundations, education institutions and governments. They trademarked HPC, which stands for helping to create High Performing Communities.

As the creators of the Youth Intervention Network, Keith and Iris brought in international experts to help create a program that still serves youth in the Antioch school district. They helped train over 300 community members to help redefine the relationships between schools, law enforcement and the community. They also helped many potential dropouts change family relationships and a graduation success rate of 95% with all of those youth going on to post-secondary education.

YIN only highlights one of the many contributions that Emerald HPC has made as they have helped the Antioch Community Foundation, East County Business Education Alliance and so much more.

When reached for comment about the honor Keith Archuleta shared, “At the end of this month, Emerald HPC International, LLC celebrates its 30th year in business. We have been proud to serve this community over the last 22 years and Iris and I are especially honored to be recognized as the 2021 Antioch Small Business of the Year!”

Asked how they decided upon their company name and if it was related to their work in Ireland he responded, “We chose the name Emerald in 1992 as a symbol of rebirth, prosperity, and healing, long before our partnership with the folks in Northern Ireland. A happy coincidence!”

For more information about Emerald HPC International and the Archuletas click here: Emerald HPC Background and Bios 0621

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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More for Mom event at The Streets of Brentwood Sat. May 7

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Vendors needed

The Streets of Brentwood shopping center brings you a special day to celebrate Mom! A day full of live music, dancers, and performers along with a sparkling array of select local artisans. This event is the day before Mother’s Day, and the shopping is on!



One Day Only in Center Court

2455 Sand Creek Road, Brentwood

FREE* $10 Gift Card

FREE Entertainment

Small “pop-up” Market

Vendors who would like to participate can contact Claudette or Johnny at 510-220-1609 or email More for Mom May 7th – local artisan vendor info

*With original receipt(s) totaling $75 or more from any The Streets of Brentwood retailer or restaurant, while supplies last. One gift card per customer, per receipt(s). To redeem, randomly draw your $10 The Streets of Brentwood Tenant Gift Card in Center Court from 11AM-2PM. No Exchanges Please. 

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Following outcry from retailers Antioch Council agrees to suspend certain tobacco sales ban until December 1

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Examples of flavored tobacco. Source: YTAPP presentation

Will wait for November vote on referendum of statewide ban; approves six-year contract extension for city attorney on 5-0 vote

By Allen D. Payton

After much outcry from tobacco retailers in Antioch, the city council on Tuesday night April 26, 2022, agreed to suspend their previously approved ban on the sale of some tobacco and vaping products through December 1. No vote was taken, so the ban remains in place, but city staff was directed to suspend enforcement.

In addition, the council voted unanimously to approve an unusual six-year extension to the contract with Smith. Normal contracts with city attorneys and managers are three-to-five years in length. City Attorney contract extension ACC042622

Tobacco Retail Ban Grace Period

The ban was approved on a 3-2 vote on Feb. 22, with Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker opposing. Tobacco Retail Sales Ban ACC022222

It was in response to an effort by Antioch youth seeking to keep flavored tobacco products from being sold to and used by young people. The Council previously considered this topic at its May 25, 2021, meeting during a detailed presentation of a survey by the Youth Tobacco Advocacy Policy Project (YTAPP). The ban went into effect on April 7, this year. YTAPP Presentation ACC052521

According to the city staff report for the April 26 council meeting agenda item, “Since passing the ordinance, the City Council has heard public comment from tobacco retailers and businesses selling tobacco products expressing the desire for a grace period temporarily suspending the implementation of new restrictions on sales of tobacco or tobacco products with characterizing flavor, electronic cigarettes, cigars, and little cigars to enable businesses to sell their existing inventory and transition into compliance with the new ordinance.”

One of the complaints from the retailers was that the city ordinance didn’t create a level playing field with those in neighboring cities. The council was asked to wait until after a November vote on a referendum on the state law passed in 2020 banning flavored tobacco products. According to the L.A. Times the statewide ban was suspended in January 2021 after the referendum by the tobacco industry qualified for the ballot.

Another complaint was that the ordinance didn’t give the retailers time to sell the products they already had in stock. A third complaint was that the retailers weren’t notified by the City of the impending ban or suspension of enforcement prior to either council meeting.

According to a report by the FDA, “Flavors are added to tobacco products to improve flavor and taste by reducing the harshness, bitterness, and astringency. However, the use of flavors in tobacco products raises important public health questions. For example, FDA is aware of early reports that some flavors could help adult cigarette smokers switch to potentially less harmful tobacco products. On the flip side, research has shown that sweet-tasting flavors are particularly appealing to youth and young adults.

In 2020, non-Hispanic Black high school students reported past 30-day cigar smoking at levels twice as high as their White counterparts. Nearly 74% of youth aged 12-17 who use cigars say they smoke cigars because they come in flavors they enjoy. Among youth who have ever tried a cigar, 68% of cigarillo users and 56% of filtered cigar users report that their first cigar was a flavored product. Moreover, in 2020, more young people tried a cigar every day than tried a cigarette.”

During the April 26 meeting the council gave direction to City Attorney Thomas L. Smith to prepare an amendment to the tobacco ordinance implementing a grace period until December 1, to focus on community education and suspend enforcement until the passage of the amendment to the ordinance.

Council Comments

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock spoke in favor of the grace period to applause from the audience saying, “I’m looking for the businesses to make a real, concerted effort to make sure none of these flavored, menthol cigarettes get into the hands of kids. I hope there’s something you can do education-wise.”

“I was not in for this from the start,” Barbanica stated. “I didn’t support it. I think it harms our local businesses. Please continue to police yourself. But I’m in support of staying this until at least Dec. 1st until we see what the state does. I think this was an overreach on our part and we need to be consistent with state law and not harm our local businesses.”

While Mayor Lamar Thorpe said he could support the grace period he also stated, “But I will not be changing my mind irrespective of what the voters of California do. I’m sticking to what I originally did.”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson said she could also support the grace period but wanted to focus on a community education component. “Not sure about Dec. 1, but I can support the grace period.”

“I heard people say, ‘Big Tobacco, Big Tobacco’,” Torres-Walker said, speaking in support of the grace period. “This is not Big Tobacco sitting out here. They’re family-owned businesses.”

Advisory Notice Sent April 25

The following notice was sent by the City to businesses via email on Monday, April 25 providing details on the ban:



This notice is to inform local businesses of recent changes to City ordinances impacting retail sales within the City of Antioch. The intent of the referenced policies is to provide a healthy, safe environment for all City residents by reducing the adverse effects of cigarettes and related tobacco products, especially as it relates to youth.

As of April 7, 2022, the following changes to the City of Antioch Municipal Code will become effective:
1. The number of new tobacco retailers shall be restricted.

  1. Tobacco retailers are prohibited from selling or possessing tobacco products with the characteristic of being “flavored”, including but not limited to mint, menthol or chocolate.
  2. New businesses with tobacco sales and vaping products for use with tobacco shall maintain a minimum distance of at least 1,000 feet from schools and similar uses.
  3. Electronic smoking devices and e-cigarettes for sale for use with tobacco or tobacco sales are banned in all retail establishments.
  4. A minimum package size for little cigars (cigarillos) is restricted to twenty and cigars is restricted to six.
  5. A minimum price of $10 per package, including applicable fees and taxes, is set for tobacco products, including cigarettes, little cigars (cigarillos) or cigars.

The City respectfully requests your cooperation. On a going forward basis, City of Antioch’s Code Enforcement Division will address compliance matters.

For additional background information, see items F and G at
Should you have questions regarding retail sales of tobacco and vaping products for use with tobacco, please contact the City of Antioch Community Development Department, Code Enforcement Division at 925.779.7042.”

Retailers who sell the products complained about the impact on their businesses and asked the council to wait until the vote on a November ballot measure was decided, that would create a statewide ban. The retailers wanted a level playing field. The council members agreed.”

The enforcement of the ordinance is currently suspended. The council is expected to vote on the grace period during their next meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

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Tickets still available for the Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 7

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Celebrate Antioch Foundation is proud to announce our annual Mother’s Day weekend Rivertown Art & Wine Walk. May 7, 2022, from 12pm – 4pm. This free, fun, family friendly event features art and handmade items from local artisans. Live music featuring JuSusan Austin and The Company Band performing amazing jazz and soul. Dine at one of our 11 downtown restaurants and explore our shops.

To participate in the Wine Walk the fee is $20 to sample up to 14 great local wines. You must be at least 21 years of age and present a valid photo ID.

This event makes a great Mother’s Day gift and you can shop for her gift while enjoying a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

Again, the event is Saturday May 7, from 12pm – 4pm on W. 2nd and G Streets in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. We look forward to seeing you at the Rivertown Art & Wine Walk.

Tickets are available to purchase on the day of the event or at at:

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Business owner offers thanks for $1,000 assistance from Antioch Chamber Cares Program

Monday, April 25th, 2022

The Chamber Cares notecard to SERVPRO from Antich Chamber of Commerce CEO, Dr. Sean Wright. Source: Mike Borders

After break-ins and theft of truck; SERVPRO returns funds to help other businesses

By Allen D. Payton

The Antioch Chamber of Commerce started a program, last fall, to give back to Antioch businesses called “The Chamber Cares.”

The Chamber Cares program allows the Chamber CEO Sean Wright to visit Antioch businesses that have recently been vandalized or had other hardships arise and help with a check to defray the costs of clean up, fix up and repair.

The latest victim of vandalism and theft was SERVPRO Antioch. Owner Mike Borders was presented with a check for $1,000 by Wright. In response, Borders thanked the Chamber but returned the funds so they could assist another business. In an online post Borders wrote, “SERVPRO Antioch and myself are extremely appreciative of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber Cares Program and Sean Wright for your help.  I am tired of the constant theft and break-ins that I experience and that I see others experiencing.  This hurts us all.  Fortunately, I have great insurance with Jim Lanter State Farm, and in this matter, I have lost a truck, but I will recover.

I have chosen to re-donate this $1,000 back to the Chamber Cares Program so it can help another Antioch business that may have to endure something greater than what I have experienced and may not have the insurance help that I was fortunate to have in this case.

Again, I am so appreciative of this gesture and again thank the Chamber of Commerce, Sean Wright and the Chamber Cares Program.  We all do have to stick together through these times and help each other when bad things happen.  Thanks again and may this $1,000 help another business that may suffer damage in the future.”

Past Beneficiaries of Chamber Cares Program

Rafal and Ali Medina, owners of Cocina Medina. Photo: Antioch Chamber of Commerce

Previously, the Chamber reached out to help locally owned and operated businesses Cocina Medina and Grocery Outlet and presented their owners with a $500 check, each.

Rafael and Ali Medina have owned and operated Cocina Medina for over twenty years and after having survived the shutdowns and new mandates are having new struggles. First the freezer goes out and then the hot water heater had problems that required them to tear up the floor and fix pipes which required them to shut down for a week. The Chamber saw the posts on Facebook and took the opportunity to stop and let them know that “The Chamber Cares”.

On Friday October 29, 2021, Grocery Outlet of Antioch was unfortunately the target of an armed robbery which cleared the till of a few registers and caused the store to close earlier than normal for a few evenings in a row to help keep the employees feeling safe. The amount of money lost was more than $500 but not enough to claim for insurance because of the deductible. The Antioch Grocery Outlet store is independently owned and operated by Pat and Maritza Choa. Pat was busy as a cashier when the Chamber stopped by to let him know that the Antioch Chamber Cares. He was very appreciative. Thankfully, the suspects who robbed over twenty-five stores in 90 days in Pittsburg, Antioch, Concord, Brentwood, Bay Point and Clayton, were apprehended on November 3rd.

Antioch Chamber CEO Dr. Sean Wright with Pat Choa owner of Grocery Outlet in Antioch. Photo: Antioch Chamber of Commerce

The Antioch Chamber knows that $500 is not going to enough to determine whether a store will be able to stay open or close but the love and compassion that goes along with it means the world to these businesses. Sometimes you know and feel that a program is hitting the mark and this one does.

About the Chamber

Since 1938, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce has been providing services to local businesses to help them –and our city – succeed. The mission of the Chamber is to promote the Antioch Community, to represent and advocate for businesses with government, to help businesses to grow and to thrive through networking and educational opportunities, and to help create economic growth and jobs for our region. For more information about the Chamber, its members, and its services, visit


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Annual Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 7

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

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Antioch Council to consider renaming A Street after city’s first Black resident in the 1800’s instead of Rivertown Drive

Monday, April 18th, 2022

During special meeting Tuesday night; also will consider renaming L Street to Veterans Blvd.; when to have the police chief’s 2020 & 2021 annual reports; forming Human Rights and Racial Equity Committee; policy on censuring council members; administrative assistants for council members; three more items – but no votes, just discussions

Thomas Gaines. Source: City of Antioch

By Allen D. Payton

During a special meeting Tuesday night, April 19, 2022, the Antioch City Council will consider renaming A Street to Thomas Gaines Blvd., after the city’s first Black resident in the 1800’s, instead of Rivertown Drive to help promote the historic downtown on the Highway 4 signs. In addition, the council will consider a list of other items for only discussion and direction to staff, each of which would have to be brought back at a future council meeting for vote, except for deciding when to have the police chief’s annual reports for 2020 and 2021. (Please see below)

Rivertown Drive

The city’s 1996 Economic Development Plan included changing G Street to Rivertown Drive for permanent promotion of the city’s historic downtown on the freeway signs, just like renaming the north side of Somersville Road to Auto Center Drive was done to promote the auto dealerships was done for economic development purposes. But when the on-ramps and off-ramps to G Street were removed with the widening of Highway 4 the plan changed to renaming A Street to Rivertown Drive.

Gaines has already been recognized with a day, last year by the city council and with the Thomas Gaines K-8 Virtual Academy by the school board. (See related articles here and here)

Questions for Council, City Staff

The following questions were emailed on Saturday morning to the city council members, interim city manager and Economic Development Director Kwame Reed. However, Reed’s auto response message shows he’s out of the office until Thursday, April 21.

“While naming a street after Thomas Gaines, the city’s first Black resident, is nice, how will renaming A Street accomplish the economic development goal of permanently promoting Rivertown on Hwy 4?”

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker was asked, “how will that benefit one of the business areas in your district?”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson was reminded and asked, “the last time this came before the council you said you wanted to survey the residents, first to get their input about renaming A Street. Was that done?”

Additional questions were asked of all seven including, “Has a survey been done of the business and property owners along A Street and in Rivertown to get their input? As someone has suggested, might you instead consider renaming the west side of Laurel Road to Thomas Gaines Blvd. as it’s about to open and connect to Hillcrest and still rename A Street to Rivertown Drive as planned?”

Only Ogorchock Responds

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only one to respond writing, “I do not know of any surveys that were completed focusing the changing of the name of A St., and or any other street.”

“As to the area west of Laurel, not sure that is befitting,” she continued. “Maybe when and if there is development downtown we should consider naming a street after him or possibly the ‘lot’ if it is ever truly being looked at as a park.  There are a lot of ideas that could work, but all should be in the downtown area.” Ogorchock was referring to the former Antioch Lumber Company lot between W. 2nd, W. 3rd and E Streets where the Rivertown Square park and event center has been proposed.

Agenda Items

  4. CREATION OF A BEACH PARK FROM RIVERVIEW LODGE TO THE MARINA (Note: The restaurant, open since November, is now known as Monica’s Riverview).

Viewing Meeting & Public Comments

City Council meetings are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at City Council Meeting LIVE – City of Antioch, California (

The public has the opportunity to address the City Council on each agenda item. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

Members of the public wishing to provide public comments, may do so in one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar Platform):

  1. IN PERSON Fill out a Speaker Request Form, available near the entrance doors, and place in the Speaker Card Tray near the City Clerk before the City Council Meeting begins.
  2. VIRTUAL To provide oral public comments during the meeting, please click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar:

You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to raise

your hand. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. When you are called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor).

The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted.

  1. WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENT If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so in one of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting:

(1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at,

Or (2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at

Please note: Written public comments received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting will be shared with the City Council before the meeting, entered into the public record, retained on file by the City Clerk s Office, and available to the public upon request. Written public comments will not be read during the City Council Meeting.

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Voting extended for the 2021 Antioch People’s Choice Awards through May 20

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Which Antioch businesses were your favorites, last year? Vote, today!

Due to an error in the February issue (we published the back side of the ballot, twice!) The Herald has extended voting in the 2021 Antioch People’s Choice Awards through May 20th. 2021 Antioch People’s Choice ballot Front    2021 Antioch People’s Choice ballot Back

If you’ve already sent in your completed ballot – both sides have been on our website since the middle of February when the mistake was discovered – we thank you for that and there’s no need to send in another ballot. But for those who haven’t be sure to cut out the ballot, below and write down your favorite businesses located in Antioch, only (be sure to check their business address before voting for them) for each category and mail it to or drop it off at our address on the ballot.

The top three businesses in each category receive a decal and logos for either Gold, Silver or Bronze for use in print or online. Those who submit a ballot will be entered to win a gift certificate from a local business. So, vote for your favorite Antioch businesses and send in your ballot, today!

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