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Businesses open, expand, move and close

    Some shifting is underway in Sonora’s downtown business community.
    A leather clothing retailer is set to close by mid-April, an expansion is under way at Grocery Outlet, a new specialized landscaping store has opened downtown and the owner of Sonora’s taco truck has grown operations.
    In addition, a longtime auto shop — Wright’s Tire Services — once near Sonora’s Subway restaurant has moved across the street. The shop is now located at 694 S. Washington St.

    Other developments downtown include the pending opening of new shoe store, Downtown Shoes, located in the former Hammond Shoes on Washington Street, and the expected opening of a new yogurt shop, It’s Yo Good Frozen Yogurt.
    Opening dates for the two stores have yet to be announced.
    Sal’s Taqueria — the signage for which proclaims it’s “by the owner of the taco truck” — is at 145 S. Washington St. The upstairs location is the former site of Toukie’s, a vegetarian restaurant, which closed last year.
    The menu at Sal’s includes items sold at the taco truck, including tacos, chile rellenos, enchiladas, burritos and more. Like the taco truck, the restaurant also serves some exotic traditional Mexican dishes, including beef tongue and menudo.
    Fans of the taco truck don’t need to worry — it can still be found at its usual location, the Grocery Outlet parking lot, 685 S. Washington St.
    A short walk north of Sal’s sits Garden Fresh Flowers and Art. The store, at 27. S. Washington, sells a variety of homemade landscaping items. Its specialty is plant arrangements inside hollowed-out pumice stones.
    Mike McDonald, who makes the arrangements and carves the stone, is hoping the arrival of spring weather will spur more visits to his store.
    The largest downtown-area development, Grocery Outlet’s expansion, will result in an extra 2,700 square-feet of floor space. The space will allow for a greater product selection, according to Grocery Outlet spokeswoman Melissa Porter.
    Departments expanding include groceries and wine. In addition, wider aisles are expected to create a better shopping experience.
    The store is open during the remodel, which is expected to conclude March 31.
    Not all business developments downtown involve expansions and openings. CP Jain, owner of Cottage Emporium — a leather garment store at 8 S. Washington St. — is focused on liquidating his inventory. He’s slashed prices on his assortment of largely leather jackets and is offering two-for-one deals on most items.
    He plans on closing by April 10.
    His reason for closing is simple: “I’m not able to make any profit.”
    He surmised he couldn’t compete with big-box stores.
    He brushed away theories that the down economy is contributing to his business difficulties. People still seem to have money to go to the bar and smoke cigarettes, he said.
    He noted that most of his client base is from the Bay Area or Modesto.
    Nonetheless, he said he appreciates Sonora for its support.
    “I’m thankful to the people of Sonora,” he said. “They are loving people.”
    Jain — who owns the business with his wife, Veena — plans to focus on his other business, the El Dorado Motel in Twain Harte. He said if he’s unable to sell all his inventory by April 10, he will sell the rest of it at the El Dorado Motel.
    In addition to Jain’s pending store closure, downtown stores the Pet Boutique and Bella Vie for Home and Baby are for sale.
    Contact Walt Cook at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 588-4530.

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