All posts by Jeremy Bryne

Sacramento: Keeping Local Employees Safe

One of the most important components in a job is safety.  Not job security per se (although obviously that is a factor) but being able to go to one’s job every day and feel safe.

Unfortunately, in the hospitality industry that has often been lacking, especially for those dealing with hotel guests.  it is hard to offer protection to employees cleaning rooms.  until now hotel owners have hoped that guests would behave with respect and kindness and left it at that.  But that is not enough to prevent hotel guests assaulting or harassing staff as they clean their rooms.

According to local organization United Here Local 49 President’s Chris Rak:

“Too many housekeepers have to worry every day about inappropriate guest behavior that could be lurking behind any hotel room door. We’re glad the city of Sacramento is taking steps to make these jobs safer.”  

Thankfully in the new year, there may be a solution for that for those in Sacramento since an ordinance has been approved by the Sacramento City Council Committee to require hotels to have panic buttons.  According to retired architect and frequent traveler Moshe Victor Keinig, this is definitely a great first step.

“I’ve seen so many types of people check in and out of all sorts of hotels and I’ve often wondered how staff are being treated behind the scenes by these individuals.  Giving them a mobile panic button is a great idea.”

Another retired frequent flyer, Victoria Vans-Queys, who often comes to Sacramento to see her mum re-iterated this point. She said:

“Since you can’t vet the people visiting your hotel there simply has to be some kind of protection for staff members.  I’m shocked that they have been left unprotected for so long and am just glad that at least the Sacramento City Council is starting to take action.”

Hopefully this action will have a significant impact and will result in all employees feeling safe to attend their jobs each day.

New Innovation Coming to Sacramento

The City of Sacramento announced a partnership with Berkeley SkyDeck, the startup accelerator program from the University of California (“UC”) Berkeley. Through this cooperation, SkyDeck will introduce seven startup companies to Sacramento to pursue investment and advancement opportunities.

SkyDeck accelerator to work with City of Sacramento

SkyDeck will work with the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab (SUTL) to navigate the city’s business landscape, aiming to establish new, local, high-paying jobs.

When SUTL launched in 2018, it focused on developing, piloting, and growing technology in the city environment. According to the agreement, Berkeley SkyDeck will refer program alumni to the city at no cost. All of the founders of SkyDeck are alumni of one of the UC campuses. Startups accepted to the program go through a rigorous screening process.

Sacramento Welcomes Odd Cookie

Downtown Sacramento is now home to a new – and eccentric – bakery.

Odd Cookie Bakery Cafe and Bar has moved into the old home of the Bar Rouse on 9th Street near J Street. An opening is set for mid-December.

cupcakes topped with crispy bacon

The locally owned business will offer unexpected food and drink combinations: cupcakes topped with fried chicken, deep-fried calzones, sweet and spicy cocktails, and so much more. Traditional treats will also be available for less adventurous eaters. Yum!

Sacramento Incubator Calling for Businesses to Join Spring Accelerator

The CoWo Sacramento Campus is looking for companies to apply to be part of its spring accelerator, offering a $10,000 first place price to the most deserving company.

The accelerator will have a limit of 15 companies. They will participate in a 10-week series of courses to prepare them for investment so they can scale into larger firms. Founder of the CoWo Campus, Kuks Singh, explained:

“We are open to any feasible business idea that is working and making money,” he said.

He added that the accelerator will also help the businesses find ways to grow successfully and quickly. All kinds of companies are welcome to join, including fashion, art, technology, food and beverage. Singh said, “It’s kind of cool to see what everyone is doing.”

Cash prizes of $10,000, $7,500 and $2,500 will go to the first, second and third place businesses. The final pitch by each business will be made in front of an audience composed of possible investors in June.

Interested businesses have until January 31 to sign up. The participating firms will be picked in February, and the accelerator will begin in March.

Raley’s Closing Many In-House Pharmacies

November 5 is the deadline to close about 30% of Raley’s in-store pharmacies. The grocery chain, based in West Sacramento, said the closures are permanent, and will begin on October 26. The store added that about 100 employees will be affected by this move, providing transfers to other Raley’s locations and transition support when needed.

“This was a proactive decision so we can avoid bleeding and long-term challenges to those stores,” said Chelsea Minor, a spokeswoman for the company. “We remain committed to operating at those 69 locations.”

Minor said the pharmacies were facing pressure from “industry consolidation, low reimbursements and high operating costs.” In addition, high drug prices and low Medicare and Medi-Cal reimbursements and private health insurers made it extremely hard to stay competitive and turn a profit.

People with prescriptions in the Raley’s pharmacies affected by the closures will have them transferred to Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid nearby. Out of the 27 pharmacies scheduled to close, about 15 will be either next door to, or across the street from, one of those stores.

Sacramento’s Best Farmers Markets

October 12, 2019 was National Farmers’ Day across the U.S. It was a day to honor all farmers and pay tribute to great agriculturalists of the past.

Farming contributed $132.8 billion to the U.S. economy in the previous year, according to Business Insider, and according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) one American farm feeds 166 people annually. So farming is definitely something worth celebrating.

Fresh produce and great prices at Farmers’ Markets

Sacramento boasts some of the greatest Farmers Markets including: Sunday Farmers’ Market, Midtown Farmers Market, Davis Farmers Market, Farmers’ Market Thursday, and Oak Park Farmers Market.

Besides the fun of a Farmers Market, filled with glorious colors and friendly people, there are many additional benefits to buying from farmers. You will get the freshest seasonal ingredients; produce purchased from a farmer is always fresher and usually organic. When buying directly from Sacramento local farmers, you are contributing to the local community and economy. Your money goes directly to people living in Sacramento and ensures that local businesses continue to thrive. Shopping locally also means that the environmental costs of the products you consume is greatly reduced. The produce doesn’t have to travel to get to you and you aren’t paying too much in gas to get there. The best products to buy from farmers are: eggs, milk, honey, jams, fruit, vegetables, cheese, flowers, grains, and organic soaps.

Sacramento Getting an Architectural Boost

There is a currently a race happening in town.  A search is underway for the team to design a new structure at the Old Sacramento Waterfront. This 28 acre development was established in 1839 by John Sutter and today features a thriving business and entertainment district, the Pony Express terminus, establishment of the Transcontinental Railroad and more.

Today, the search is on for a piece of architecture that will excite tourists and make locals proud.  According to semi-retired architect Moshe Victor Keinig, this is only going to beautify an area that is already incredibly attractive.

“From an architectural point of view,” Keinig began, “there is hardly anything that can compare.  I’ve loved this area for years and find such a sense of Zen whenever I have the opportunity to visit.  I very much look forward to seeing what Noel Shamble of T. Y. Lin International comes up with for this.”

Nine concepts were initially chosen from the firm and that was reduced to three finalists.  Shamble gave details of both his Thru and Spring designs using the100+ year old I Street Bridge as a backdrop.

The Weird and the Wacky of Sacramento

Over 7,000 new residents moved to Sacramento last year alone, making it the fastest growing Californian city. These newcomers are likely enjoying cheaper rents and warmer temperatures alongside all the funky, good old-fashioned weird stuff Sacramento has to offer.

As the city’s director of tourism, Nick Leonti, says “Sacramento is about 80% weird stuff.” So whether you are on your way in or out of Sacramento, you should definitely check these out:

Home of the Martini– just a few miles out of Sacramento, you’ll hit Martinez, the birthplace of the classic cocktail, the Martini. Cheers.

Jelly Belly Factory– located at 1 Jelly Belly Lane, this place is wall-to-wall jellybeans of the most delicious kind. Once you have donned your paper hat, you can walk along the factory floors to watch the magic happen and hear the fascinating history of the Jelly Belly craze.

Jelly Belly jelly beans

Osaka-Ya has been making manju and mochi since 1963; they are one of the three remaining manju shops in Northern California. But it is also a snowcone heaven. The storefront is a tiny shop tucked away near the freeway on 10th Street. From a small window next to the shop’s entrance, they sell snow cones that run from “extra small” (about as big as your face) to “extra large” (major brainfreeze potential).

Leonti explains that the city’s “history” of weird, stems from the gold rush, when scrappy adventurers from all over the world arrived in droves. Today, that quirk remains alive and well.

More Bargains Coming to Sacramento Via Grocery Outlet

The Grocery Outlet, a food-store chain headquartered in Emeryville near Oakland, is opening one more branch in the Sacramento vicinity.

Grocery Outlet on 185th in w:Hillsboro, Oregon. Photo courtesy M.O. Stevens

Well-known for its rock-bottom prices, Grocery Outlet is making its new home in North Highlands on Elkhorn Boulevard, inside the Watt Towne Center.

Although Kyle Noble, the senior manager of regional marketing and communications said that indeed, Grocery Outlet signed a lease for the store, no additional information was forthcoming.

The chain already has several stores in the greater Sacramento area, and others are also just in the planning stages. Stores already in the area include:

• Citrus Heights
• Folsom
• Orangevale
• Rocklin
• Sacramento (3431-Watt Avenue)
• Sacramento Pocket
• South Natomas
• South Sacramento
• West Sacramento
• Rancho Cordova
• Rosemont

New stores in the planning stages include in Sun Hills of Lincoln and close to Cal State University Sacramento.

Local Environmental Beauty

There are so many beautiful places to enjoy in Sacramento. It is perhaps therefore not surprising that tourism has seen such a boost in recent years.  When you look at all the natural beauty in the area and all the things to do – especially in the summer – and add that to the fact that the region is not nearly as crowded as other popular tourist destinations, Sacramento deserves its boost in revenue.

Indeed, according to Principal Planner with the City of Sacramento, Desmond Parrington, the Golden 1 Center has been a huge draw, last year attracting around an additional 1.6 million visitors.

But what about the nature?  What about the environment?  There are so many beautiful overlooked areas in Sacramento not getting the attention they deserve.

“It’s really weird,” said Mozes Victor Konig, a Tel Aviv, Israel based photographer. “On my last visit to California I actually got sidetracked by the Sacramento River NWR due to its accessibility, beauty and relaxation.  I can’t understand why more people aren’t taking advantage of it.”

This sentiment was echoed by local resident Michelle Washington.  “I’ve lived here my whole life,” the great-grandmother of 5 said.  “I dated my husband on these banks; brought my kids here, grandkids and now my great grandchildren.  There’s simply nothing more precious in its natural beauty.”

Washington says that her personal favorite are the migrant songbirds and mammals that appear “no matter what season you are there. It’s like they are your friends, accompanying you through dark and light.”

For Konig it was the open space:

“Can you imagine?  Over 5,000 open acres!  Go fishing, hunting, picnicking and more.  And the American River Bike Trail is just a dream.  I am not such a big cyclist but when I was there I couldn’t resist.  Spanning 32 miles from Old Sacramento’s Discovery Park and Folsom Lake, you then meet the Sacramento Northern Bikeway north of Del Paso Boulevard. It’s fantastic.”

Next time you take a vacation to California and you just want to get away from the over-commercialization of the region, stop and smell the coffee. The shaded trail, fitted with restrooms and fountains also offers swimming areas and parks as you stroll through Sacramento at its best.