Efforts to improve Blackstone Avenue in Fresno are underway

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Friday, a new store opened at the Clinton intersection, bringing dozens of jobs and new options for shoppers. (KFSN)

Friday, a new store opened at the Clinton intersection, bringing dozens of jobs and new options for shoppers.

The sound of registers were music to some cashiers' ears at the new Smart & Final Extra! In Central Fresno. It was also a welcome sight to local residents, who now have a new place to buy groceries.

"Save Mart used to be here, we used to come here, but we're happy Smart & Final is here," said Sarian De La Rosa, shopper.

De La Rosa was one of the hundreds who turned out for the store's grand opening. "Exciting, you've got good price and you can get more for your money."

The new Smart & Final Extra! store offers bulk and smaller sizes for customers. It also has a produce section and organic products.

"So we serve the community, the households, the businesses and restaurants in this town," said Jim Wood, Smart & Final District Manager.

About 70 employees were hired to work at the new store, which is the only Central Fresno location for the chain. The new store is a positive sign for the mayor's office. "We want to see a more vibrant Blackstone and the streets more cleaned up and hopefully we'll get there," said Claudia Ruiz, Fresno Economic Development Coordinator.

Ruiz is the new Economic Development Coordinator for the Blackstone corridor. Her new task is bringing Blackstone back to life, as a part of the mayor's priority plans before leaving office. Ruiz will serve as a one stop shop for development. She says planning and changes in the city code will allow owners to build or think outside the box.

"They're knocking on our doors already. There's a few developers out there that are very interested," said Ruiz.

While Ruiz juggles potential developers, she says she also plans to meet with business owners along the eight mile stretch of Blackstone to get to know their concerns and ideas. She hopes to remove blight from the corridor.

With the opening of Smart & Final, city officials hope this is just the start of new business along the
this section of Blackstone.
Related Topics:
businesspoliticsbusinessfresnoeconomyFresno - Central
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