New Businesses In Downtown Fresno

March 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Valley's economic problems are not stopping some people from taking what some are calling a big risk by opening up shop in Downtown Fresno.Vik Sapatjian is putting the finishing touches on his Downtown Fresno café, The Newsroom, set to open Monday morning.

"I am extremely nervous, extremely nervous."

Sapatjian has years of restaurant experience. But most recently, he worked in construction and was laid off.

Though he was a victim of the recession, Sapatjian is confident his new venture will work.

"With the economy being so bad, it gives certain people an opportunity to open up an establishment and I looked into it and this was a perfect opportunity. People still have to eat, didn't go for the fancy high-end stuff."

While some say opening a new business these days is crazy, others are on Sapatjian's side.

Teazers, a cafe specializing in tea opened its doors in Downtown Fresno less than a week ago. On Saturday, they celebrated with a salsa themed fundraiser, and an invitation for other businesses to follow suit

Owner, Ann Mcatee said, "It's a great time to come in downtown and there are lots of spaces still open for people who want to start a business."

Last week, Forest City pulled the plug on its plans to revitalize 85-acres of downtown Fresno. Some were calling the announcement a step back for the area.

But, Bryan Moe of the Central California Small Business Development Center says with forest city out, it gives people like Sapatjian and Mcatee a new way in.

"As any location, if there's nothing to do when you get there you don't go and by having restaurants and by having residential in the downtown area and other entertainment motivation for customers to go downtown, they'll go downtown."

Both owners said their businesses will attract a large crowd of both county and city workers who work downtown.

The newsroom will open early Monday morning. It's on Kern and L Street. And Teazer is located in The Galleria.

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