Stories for November 1999

Monday, November 29

The roving eye

Among all the bastions of conspicuous consumption, the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog holds a special place.

Briefing

Tucked between the 405 freeway and Van Nuys Airport, the Target Range is one of the few places within L.A. city limits where registered gun owners can legally discharge their weapons. Jennifer Smith spoke with owner Paul Cole about the business of making

Winners and Losers in Push To Consolidate TV Stations

By now, some TV station owners may be rubbing their antennas together in glee if they have seized their chance to acquire a second station in local television markets.

Latino-Oriented Grocers Spread Across L.A.

Refugio Reynoso, the chief financial officer of El Gallo Giro Corp., has been especially busy lately.

Mistletoe Mayhem

It also might be time to think back to all those stupid things you (and your co-workers) did last year, and vow not to do them again.

Risky Move Backfires for L.A. Insurer

Last year, Santa Monica-based workers' compensation insurance provider Fremont General Corp. was riding high in the recently deregulated market. Revenues and profits were climbing steadily as it signed up more and more clients, while its stock price reach

Best Ways for E-Commerce Sites to Retain Customers

One of the keys to successful e-tailing even more than with conventional retailing simply may be overcoming inertia. It's easy for customers who don't already shop with you to continue not doing so.

Calendar

Introduction to Community-Based Planning 6:30 p.m. Urban Regional Block Assn. Network 6021 Victoria Ave., L.A. $15 (323) 769-5259

Index to Companies

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Using Promotion to Expand Your Business: The Importance of Strategy

Some companies promote their business and products without rhyme or reason. A seminar here, some direct mail there or perhaps a couple of ads in unrelated trade magazines. Random, untargeted promotional actions, however, are destined to fail for they do n

TV's Morning Wars

It's 6:15 a.m. on a Monday and there is a contingent of sexy, happy, blow-dried people in Los Angeles who really, really want to be in your homes. Their jobs depend on it.

New Office Buildings Come On Line in El Segundo

With the vacancy rate for class-A office space in El Segundo dipping to as little as 5 percent last year, it's not surprising that owners and developers went to work constructing new buildings and rehabbing older ones.

Agenda

"Smart phones" can receive e-mail, surf the 'Net, and will soon do a whole lot more. Experts discuss lifestyle and business patterns surrounding the phones of the future at a free one-day conference at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. The event w

LEGAL NOTICES

The following company is doing business as BRC General Building Contractors, 3686 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007. This business is being conducted by a person, Bob Ruhl, 3686 S Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007. This statement was filed with the Co

Buildings That Violate Codes Cost Buyers Big Bucks

City of Los Angeles building and safety codes and zoning/land-use restrictions are necessarily some of the most stringent in the nation. They protect the life and safety of our citizens and the integrity of our neighborhoods.

Planned Spontaneity at Top Local A.M. News Program

It's a few minutes before 7 a.m., and the set is abuzz with the last-minute scramble before airtime. A makeup artist powders "KTLA Morning News" anchorwoman Barbara Beck, while entertainment reporter Sam Rubin finishes up a Hollywood report for WGN, KTLA'

Franchising Expands Horizons for Women Entrepreneurs

As the new Millennium nears, researchers are publishing myriad statistics showing how American life has changed in the past century. Two phenomenal changes in the business sector are franchising's dominance of American retailing, and the ascent of women

KTTV Strategy: 'Fresh and Funky'

It was business as usual last Wednesday on KTTV's "Good Day L.A." namely, a report on liquid latex in which the goo is actually painted on until it hardens into a kind of clothing.

Developer Smedra Drops From Race To Revive Valley Plaza Retail Center

A developer once thought to be a contender for turning around the struggling Valley Plaza shopping center in North Hollywood appears to be out of the picture now that his bid to acquire a key parcel has fallen through, sources said.

Pajama Game COMFY NIGHT CLOTHES ARE MORE POPULAR AND COSTLY THAN EVER

At just-opened Pajama Party in Sherman Oaks Fashion Square, flannel PJs will set you back 70 bucks.

Superior a Consistent Earner But Wall Street Uninterested

At a time when investors seem entranced by sexy dot-com companies, Superior Industries International Inc. looks like the wallflower at a Wall Street dance.

ATM Charges Actually Benefit Consumers

Maybe Santa Monica and San Francisco were onto something when the two cities banned surcharges on the use of ATM machines by customers of other banks. A legal battle is brewing over the practice after a federal judge blocked the laws and suggested they do

Sex Ads May Sell Congress on Idea of Curtailing Spam

To anyone familiar with the brief history of Net-related legislation, this should come as something of a shock. Online porn has been used to justify misguided censorship bids and attacks on school technology subsidies.

The pacesetter

Bank of America tops the list of small-business lenders for the second year in a row. Largely due to its parent company merging last year with NationsBank Corp., BofA in fiscal 1998 more than doubled the number of SBA loans in L.A. County and raised the a

Sale of Patina Group Isn't Likely a Restaurant Trend

Don't bet on the purchase of the Patina Group by a New York-based group being the beginning of an East Coast invasion for the hearts and taste buds of Angeleno diners.

Victorville Races Ahead With Goodyear

Victorville is vastly becoming more recognized than just a stop on the way to Las Vegas, After the formal closure of George Air Force Base in 1992 (now known as Southern California Logistics Airport), Victorville officials have been focusing their effort

Beach Cities CorridorEmerges as Corporate Oasis

It is an area with a galaxy of multi-million dollar homes and some of the choicest beach property in California--and in the last three years it also has become one of the county's treasured business locations.

Dinner Theater Is a Tough Sell in Capital of Tourism

Twelve years ago, Mark Miller and his wife Galen swapped their jobs and their Arabian horse-breeding farm for a chance to build their entrepreneurial dream a dinner-theater horse show.

Section Debut

This week the paper debuts its back-of-the-book section called Style, which will be chronicling and commenting on arts, culture, fashion, food, travel all with a decided L.A. sensibility.

Film Food

Michelson food service was a pioneer in the hollywood catering business, and it remains among the biggest players in the industry

Tastes of Home Immigrants Find Comfort in Latin America

Maria Romo is standing in Gigante's produce section, sifting through the big cardboard box filled with dark green chiles stacked so high that they seem ready to spill onto the ground.

Short Attention Span Television

Now that everyone is talking about ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and a succession of game show clones are either coming out or in high-speed development it's inevitable that the self-appointed cultural pundits out there (including those at thi

Feud Erupts Between Vernon, Property Owners

The city of Vernon is considered one of the area's business-friendliest towns. The question is, for what kinds of businesses?

Business by the Bay - SOUTHWESTERN PORTION OF L.A. COUNTY LEADS THE STATE IN EXPECTED JOB GROWTH

With relatively little fanfare, the South Bay and its mix of technology, entertainment and trade-related businesses has emerged as one of the hottest growth areas in Southern California.

Show Biz

His CBS show "Nash Bridges" is finally getting some solid ratings after years of suffering from poor lead-in programming on Friday nights.

Stepping Up to Meet the Competition

Companies in a governmentally or quasi-governmentally regulated industry have been operating under shared monopolistic control of their markets. This has provided them with a cushion of safety that will disappear as the full brunt of deregulation hits the

Executive Summary

Small-business lending in Los Angles County rose for the fourth year running for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30. L.A's top 25 lenders made a combined 1,676 SBA loans worth $519.6 million during the year. Lenders are ranked by the total value of loans

Disney and Mattel Are in Trouble, But the Situation Is Reversible Down, Not Out

This decade has not been kind to the Fortune 500 in Los Angeles, with many firms, particularly in finance, aerospace and energy, slipping away to other locales. Now two of L.A.'s remaining big players, Disney and Mattel, are widely seen as in trouble.

Investors in Money Market Owe Thanks to Greenspan

As the Federal Reserve pushes short-term interest rates higher, investors in money-market mutual funds don't mind a bit. You could say Chairman Alan Greenspan is giving them a raise.

SBA Lenders - Ranked by values of loan awarded in L.A. County

The Trends

Advocates Criticize SBA Lending Pattern in Inner City

The Los Angeles district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration once again guaranteed the greatest aggregate loan amount among the 70 SBA offices nationwide for the year ended Sept. 30, 1999.

How to reach us

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Moments

25 years ago this week: Plans for a 23-mile rail line from Los Angeles to Long Beach were revived when President Gerald Ford signed an $11.8 billion mass transit bill The L.A. City Council banned smoking in public elevators but delayed action on a move t

Court Reform Missing L.A.

Los Angeles once again has shown an inability to take a good idea and put it into action. The latest examples are the current roadblocks over establishing a more convenient method of jury service as well as merging the county's Superior and Municipal co

Redevelopment of Ambassador Hotel Back on Drawing Board

Plans to redevelop the Ambassador Hotel property on Wilshire Boulevard into a school and commercial center are getting back on track after years of delays and disputes with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Management Shuffle Shakes Up Long-Stable Bear, Sterns

Big shake-up at the Bear, Stearns & Co. securities brokerage in Century City: Andy Haas, 18-year veteran and managing director on the retail side there since 1988, has been replaced by David Pollack, a stockbroker with 10 years at the firm.

Leveraging the Internet for Corporate Real Estate Decisions

Relatively low interest rates. Negligible inflation. Improving productivity. They're all ingredients fueling continued economic growth, which in turn have resulted in record growth and expansion for so many companies. And with so many companies bursti

List Updates

The Los Angeles Business Journal is compiling information for the following lists:

LABJ forum

Once a setting for drunken revelry and scandalous embraces under the mistletoe, the annual holiday party at many offices has been toned down in recent years. So the Business Journal asks:

Ahead of the curve

Light it up: It's L.A.'s answer to the annual tree-lighting at Rockefeller Center. Except it will have bigger stars on Nov. 30 at Century Plaza Towers when the benefit for Starlight Children's Foundation features country-western singer Randy Travis and Em

Bankruptcies

Bradlee T. Barnett DBA: HSM Investments, Ltd.; Pico Warehouse Co.; Medical Stores; Victory Warehouse Services; AAA Medical Machinery

Business Travelers Spur Boom for South Bay Hotels

The South Bay has emerged as one of the strongest hotel markets in L.A. County, rivaling such destination markets as Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.

Firm's Workers Gamble, Win on Ownership

Employees at Chatsworth Products Inc. faced being laid off in 1991 when the company's parent announced it was selling their plant, which at the time made shelves for office telephone network gear.

Improv Comedy Suddenly a Hot Ticket

Who would have thought that grown men and women pretending to be monkeys in love and singing Country-Western songs about going bald would become the hottest thing in comedy?

Capitalize On A Growth Trend

Growth trends occur when increasing numbers of people indicate an interest in certain industries or activities. You can capitalize on such growth trends by offering a product or service related to the growing industry or activity.

Opportunity Knocks in City of Ontario

The "O" in Ontario just might stand for opportunity. When UPS went forward with an initial public offering on Nov. 10, several UPS employees at the company's West Coast hub in Ontario saw their net worth soar. Now when UPS drivers zip by in their brown tr

Shoppers: Customers Attracted By Bargains, Latino Food Items

Maria Romo is standing in Gigante's produce section, sifting through the big cardboard box filled with dark green chiles stacked so high that they seem ready to spill onto the ground.

Healing Health Care

While most physicians shy away from the political world, Dr. Marie Kuffner embraces it. In March, she will become president of the 34,000-member California Medical Association becoming the chief advocate for the state's doctors on legislation at the sta

Digest

Congress passed legislation giving satellite television broadcasters like El Segundo-based DirecTV a huge boost by allowing them to offer local channels for the first time.

New Devices Don't Change Need for Minding Manners

Question: With all of today's new communications technology voicemail, e-mail, video teleconferencing, cell phones, etc., is there any applicable etiquette, or does anything go?

Big Three See Comeback in L.A. Morning News Race

Those picture-window studios on the network morning news shows providing a view of the New York street scene don't seem too thrilling to people in Los Angeles. And news can seem a tad stale after a three-hour time delay.

Blangiardi Named Head of Telemundo's Station Group

Peter Hutto was appointed senior principal at Lante Corp. in Los Angeles. He will build and manage the company's Internet consulting business in Southern California. Hutto was previously managing director of the Southwest area for Electronic Data Systems

L.A. stories

Just how did People magazine find those guys featured in its recent "Sexiest Men Alive" issue?

Hearing Nears on Raising California's Minimum Wage

The battle on whether to raise California's minimum wage is about to take a new turn.

Games You Just Can't Stop Playing

It's 2:30 a.m. Most people are in bed, sound asleep, but not you. Even though your eyes are burning and you have a wicked case of carpal tunnel syndrome in the making, you just can't stop playing games at your computer.

Equity Deal Could Give Boost to Low-Income Areas

Top officials from the Los Angeles Community Development Bank, including bank President and Chief Executive Linda Griego, are scheduled to meet this week with an East Coast group interested in making equity investments in inner-city L.A. companies.