Stories for March 2001

Monday, March 26

Shares of teen-focused retailers are up in a down market

What's hip on Wall Street these days? Investors are finding safe havens in companies that cater to young people more influenced by music and skateboarders than interest rates and energy woes.

Airline mergers could mean jockeying for space at John Wayne Airport

Two pending airline deals could set off a new round of competition for space at John Wayne Airport.

Richard Sim remains bullish on OC, in the Real Estate column

At Vision 2001, a real estate confab in Irvine earlier this month, Orange County real estate honchos networked, shared gossip about possible deals and listened to speakers report on the past and debate about the future of the market.

The new buzzword is 'integrated marketing'

OC Ad Agencies' Booming 2000 Numbers Mask a Slowdown That Began in the Fourth Quarter

Unit chief put in charge of Y & R;'s OC operations, in the Marketing & Media column

The top executive at Young & Rubicam Advertising, Irvine, has a new tool for encouraging cohesiveness among the shop's five independent marketing divisions: a higher position.

Greenspan notwithstanding, banks are tightening up on credit

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan cut interest rates again last week, trying to restore consumer confidence and infuse some cash into the slowing economy.

Equity Office Properties is set to be a big player in OC

Equity Office Properties Trust's pending acquisition of Spieker Properties Inc. stands to catapult the Chicago company from the bottom to the top tier of property owners in Orange County.

Gateway may move more jobs from OC, in the Technology column

Computer maker Gateway Inc.'s decision to possibly move its San Diego headquarters to northern San Diego County may put some strain on the company's Lake Forest-based facility.

Kikwear takes its inspiration from local cities

Kik Wear Industries, a Los Angeles-based apparel designer, has launched a line of shoes named after and inspired by Orange County and Los Angeles cities. The most popular seller: the Irvine shoe, which Kik Wear says is a hit with college students and prof

Property Bureau Inc. contracts with police to sell confiscated and unclaimed items

Tom Lane hopes to take a bite out of crime by making it a focal point of his start-up Internet business.

A new MetLife unit will be headquartered in Newport Center

MetLife Investors Group, a new unit of New York-based MetLife Inc., will make its headquarters in a 41,000-square foot building in Newport Center.

Kent Berg works to bring Swedish companies to OC

Sweden brought the wonderful worlds of Abba, Ikea furniture, Volvo cars and Ericcson mobile phones to America. Now Kent Berg is hoping to bring more companies here via a beachhead in Orange County.

Ingram Micro goes to court to collect from dot-com, others

The dot-com bubble may have burst and the emerging economic slowdown may be squeezing some smaller technology companies, but Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. is trying to hold Internet and other businesses accountable for their bills and contracts with s

Y Media lands $3 million from Asian investors

Irvine-based Y Media Corp., a designer of chips for digital cameras and other devices, has received $3.4 million in funding from a group of Asian investors.

Used-equipment seller Telmar is profiting from the tech downturn

A textbook definition of irony could be summed up with Telmar Network Technology Inc.'s new location,right next to Broadcom Corp. in the Irvine Spectrum.

Real Estate Deals

Arthur Pearl Investment Co. purchased The 635 Building at 635 Camino de los Mares in San Clemente from CLM Associates Ltd. for $3.3 million. David Holstein of Marcus & Millichap represented Arthur Pearl. Michael Lawrence of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate

Two new restaurants illustrate the range of OC offerings

The last thing I'd ever want is for my readers to get bored, so just in case, here are two new restaurants to try.

Executive Summary

Orange County was hit by rolling blackouts for the first time early last week as warm weather caused a spike in demand The state electrical grid operator said power companies withheld supplies to drive up prices last year, resulting in up to $6.3 billio

On location with McElroy:FCB

Director: Anton Corbijn, who has directed videos for U2, Nirvana and Depeche Mode

Beckman Coulter execs exude confidence, in the Healthcare column

Investors and analysts are hearing a lot of bad pronouncements from companies these days. But at a recent meeting at the Fullerton headquarters of Beckman Coulter Inc., officials from the biomedical and testing company were positively upbeat.

OP signs a licensee for its juniors' and girls' sportswear lines

Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp., Irvine, has tapped Tag Apparel Group in Santa Fe Springs to manufacture OP's new junior and girls sportswear line for ages 7 to 16 years.

Beckman Coulter reorganizes into three divisions

Beckman Coulter Inc., Fullerton, has reorganized itself into three divisions, and named company executives to lead each.

The Insider finds former Irvine Mayor Christina Shea now lobbying

Add ex-Irvine Mayor Christina Shea to the list of politicians-turned-consultants (PR-government affairs-business development). She's an advisor to network integrator SmartDigital and on-line outfit EZEscrow. She's also pitching county officials on behalf

Edwards Lifesciences' first year was anything but boring

Like any spin-off, Edwards Lifesciences Corp.'s Michael Mussallem says he sometimes misses the name recognition, product diversity and deep pockets of his former parent, Baxter International Inc.

People

John A. Eckweiler was promoted to tax partner at the Orange County office of Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein LLP, Certified Public Accountants & Management Consultants. Eckweiler has 13 years of experience in tax planning, research and compliance servi

The Business Council stresses housing, workforce development, in Letters

Thirty years ago, there was a billboard on the freeway that described Orange County as "The California Promise."

Advertising After a hot 2000: A slowdown looms

Ad Shops Offer Range of Services, Tracking of Results to Help Clients Spend Efficiently

ADVERTISING AGENCIES

ADVERTISING AGENCIESel listo

CSUF was hit with power fines, too but it was insured

Like many others in Southern California Edison's now-infamous "interruptible" program, California State University, Fullerton, got pummeled with fines for not reducing its electricity consumption during the power alerts that began plaguing the state in Oc

AMDL gets a U.K. distributor for its cancer screening kit

AMDL Inc., a Tustin developer and marketer of tests for the early detection of cancer, last week announced it had granted distribution rights in the United Kingdom for its cancer diagnostic kit to Derby, England-based UK Scientific Ltd.

The first days of spring brought a taste of summer: rolling blackouts

Orange County saw summer in spring last week, and not just with the warm temperatures. Last week's rolling blackouts,the first to hit OC,gave local companies a taste of what could be a regular event a few months from now when electricity demand peaks.

There's one bright spot for tech firms: hiring is getting easier

Though Orange County technology companies still are paying big bucks for seasoned executives and promising engineers, they now are saying something unthinkable a year ago: We have our pick of people.

Calendar

Orange County Business Council 2001 Annual Dinner Anaheim 6 p.m. $150 (949) 794-7295 Mastermind Group Breakfast Meeting (South OC Regional Chambers of Commerce) Laguna Niguel 7:30 a.m. $7 (949) 635-5800 A Look at Your Financial Well-Being (American Bu

The Deacon Jones Foundation is turning inner-city kids into business people

David "Deacon" Jones terrorized linemen and quarterbacks in the National Football League during the 1960s and 1970s. Now Jones is mounting a different move against a different kind of opponent, with no less ferocity.

The South County markets were strong in the fourth quarter

In the fourth quarter, 17 properties were added to the South Orange County office market, which now totals 328 properties and 16 million square feet. The new construction includes Discovery Business Center, Mission Ridge, Pacific Vista and Palm Terrace pr

The FDA is building a new lab and regional HQ in Irvine

The agency, which already has an Irvine district office, is spending $36 million to build a two-story regional laboratory and district office on 10 acres next to the University of California, Irvine. Construction on the 133,000-square-foot, two-story bui

Monday, March 19

April 1 comes early, in Letters

A dire crisis looms and lurks across the land, oceans, rivers and seas for Passover and Easter. The gefilte fish are not biting this year,at least not the fishing lines. Fishermen are complaining from the Northeast, along the Great Lakes and to the inland

Calendar

Internet Broadcast Symposium (Multiple hosts) Irvine 8 a.m.-Noon Free (800) 778-9383 What's Next for the "New" Economy (Rare Medium Inc. and UCI Graduate School of Management) Santa Ana 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free/$35 (949) 824-7922 Emerging Companies Roundta

Pimco is sponsoring an essay contest and the winner may get a job

Officials at PIMCO Advisors LP are all charged up these days. Not by the stellar performance of their bond funds, but by an essay contest.

Disney dining

This parade of restaurants and shops requires no admission fee. It's a packed social gathering place where I am fascinated with a little window shopping while getting my bearings. Then we might stop for a cocktail, or one of the many wines by the glass, a

OC surfwear firms find the Japanese teen market fickle

The story of Orange County apparel companies in the lucrative Japanese market is one of big promise, challenges and often disappointment.

OC's memory makers recall the good times as they hope for a turnaround

When Kingston Technology Co.,Orange County's top memory products maker,recently said it would lay off employees for the first time in its 14-year history, it signaled how the technology slowdown and an excess of memory products had hit home. But Kingston

The tech slump takes its toll on OC's minority-owned businesses

With their prevalence in technology, Orange County's largest minority-owned businesses have been among the area's fastest-growing companies. But now the group is showing signs of wear amid the tech slump and a larger economic slowdown.

People

Gerald Herter, managing partner of Tustin-based Sterman, Higashi & Herter CPAs, was named president of Integra International Inc. Integra is a global network of local independent accounting and consulting firms with offices worldwide.

Billabong acquires sunglasses and snow goggles maker Von Zipper

Irvine-based Billabong USA made its first acquisition last week with the purchase of sunglasses and snow goggle maker Von Zipper in San Clemente for an undisclosed sum.

Minority Owned Businesses

Minority Owned Businessesel listo

Small businesses are feeling squeezed by energy bills, a Survey

Survey of 1,027 California members of the National Federation of Independent Business by the organization.

Executive Summary

A state Energy Commission study recommended that the permit process for AES Corp.'s plan to restart two generators at its Huntington Beach plant be fast-tracked to 60 days from six months, but the company objected to the commission's proposal to put a fiv

Who's hot, and why

I was searching for a theme for this issue and then, suddenly, it was there. People are always asking me to recommend favorite restaurants, and I have many of them,for many different reasons. Therefore, I always ask what type of food fascinates them at th

Ticket sales and public support are way up at Opera Pacific

In the three years since Martin Hubbard took over as executive director, the opera company has become solvent again, increased subscribers and purchased a new home in Santa Ana.

Vans skate parks are packing the kids in, and the firm is building more

Shopping mall owners have more than a few reasons for concern these days, with department store sales down, movie theaters on the rocks and shaky consumer confidence levels.

John Burnham & Co. acquires The Bowman Co. Insurance Services

San Diego's John Burnham & Co. has bought Tustin-based The Bowman Co. Insurance Services.

Out-of-state recruiters are planning spring trips to California to woo firms

Craig Barrett probably started it all back in January when the chief executive of Intel Corp. said the chip maker wouldn't expand fabrication facilities in California due to the power crunch.

Healthcare firms are getting a healthier share of venture funds

During the Internet's heyday, Orange County medical device and drug start-ups played second fiddle to flashy dot-coms and other technology companies when it came to venture capital. Not anymore.

Two OC money managers scored well on rankings for 2000

If you want to find some of the top money managers in the country, your search could end right here in Newport Beach,not New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.

Dennis Morin is back at the helm of an OC startup, but he's not done playing

Dennis Morin bends over the stairway railing at his funky Laguna Beach home with arms outstretched like he's going to fly. With a goofy look across his face, he asks, "How's this?" as he strikes a faux pose for a photograph.

Aspeon terminates the sale of its ASP unit, in the Technology column

They say closure is a part of the healing process. Unfortunately, Irvine-based Aspeon Inc., a maker of computer systems for fast-food chains, could not close on the sale of its Foodservice application service provider to help heal its business.

Milan Panic injects $1 million into the Performing Arts Center building fund

Yes, admits Terry Jones, point man for the $200 million OC Performing Arts Center expansion, the market skid is making some potential donors "more cautious about putting a pledge in place." But Jones said it's only made everyone involved more determined t

Property managers are scrambling to cut power use in their buildings

Energy hogging factories and power hungry technology companies aren't the only ones in a quandary because of California's power crunch. Managers of big office buildings are using everything from common-sense conser-vation to sophisticated monitoring syste

Cosmetic Botox procedures rose 17% in 2000, in the Healthcare column

The Chicago-based American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery issued a report on what types of surgical and non-surgical procedures people underwent to improve their looks last year. Some of the academy's findings could bring a smile to officials at Allergan Inc

Two big financial firms have leased large spaces in OC

Two of the nation's largest financial institutions, MBNA Corp. and Aon Corp., are making moves in and into Orange County.

Fifi's Best The restaurateur of the year

Louis Laulhere is a person who has lived his life with a great deal of grace. Having met several of his lifelong friends myself, it seems he has always been imbued with a sense of doing well for his fellow man and giving so much more than he ever took fro

New CEO Hubert Mullins says he feels like one of the family at St. John Knits

He's not a blood relative, but Hubert W. Mullins says he already is starting to feel like a member of the extended family at upscale women's clothier St. John Knits Inc.

Jay Carnahan and Rick Nelson join forces, in the Real Estate column

After years of working in the Orange County real estate market, Jay Carnahan and Rick Nelson have joined forces in a big way, merging Carnahan's CMG Real Estate into ORION Property Partners, which the two men founded in 1999.

The Verizon move bumped up the airport area's fourth-quarter vacancy rate

The Greater Airport Area makes up nearly half of the Orange County office market, with 595 properties totaling more than 40 million square feet. Net activity reported during the fourth quarter was negative 215,165 square feet due to the move of Verizon Wi

Real Estate Deals

The Davidson Trust acquired the 10-unit Bonita Apartments at 1080 Bonita St. in Tustin from Robert Hernandez for $0.7 million. Jay Skenderian and Ken Morgan of Morgan Skenderian Investment Real Estate Group's Newport Beach office represented the trust. Gu

Republican Tom Tait is doing more than many Democrats to clean up the environment

Position: President, Tait & Associates Inc. (parent), Tait Environmental Management Inc. (division)

La Vie en Rose

This could be short and easy. I could merely repeat a quote from my first column this year about some things I thought you should do if you are a serious diner. But I can broaden the picture a bit more for you.

Motorsport Aftermarket Group lands $39 million from Prudential Capital

Yorba Linda-based Motorsport Aftermarket Group Inc. has landed $39 million from Prudential Capital Group and plans to acquire companies and build a business producing aftermarket motorcycle gear.

Monday, March 12

A company's reputation often mirrors its CEO's, a Survey

Fifty-four percent believe a company's corporate reputation can be attributed to the CEO's public image, but 77% say the CEO is responsible for protecting the company's reputation. In building a company's image, 96% said customers were most influential; 8

Pacific Mercantile Bank is moving its HQ to Metro Pointe

Pacific Mercantile Bank is moving from its Newport Beach headquarters to offices in Costa Mesa's Metro Pointe office and retail center.

Wells Fargo is adding OC branches

Wells Fargo & Co. plans to open two new branches and reopen a third this year, all in South County, as the bank shifts to a branch-oriented growth strategy.

SECURITY

SECURITYel listo

Baum Vision will create an eyewear line for Paul Frank Industries

Moving to expand its growing accessories business, Paul Frank Industries, Newport Beach, has signed a license agreement with Baum Vision in Newport Beach to create and distribute a new line of Paul Frank Eyewear beginning in spring 2002.

Gateway's management shakeup casts a cloud over its Irvine unit

A management shake-up that put Gateway Inc.'s founder back in the driver's seat is raising questions among industry observers about the future of the company's 600-employee Lake Forest division.

The Insider says goodbye to Edison's chief spokesman

At the peak of the energy crisis, Edison International is losing one of its most visible spokesmen. Tom Higgins is leaving as senior VP of corporate communications to join the San Francisco advocacy group Business for Social Responsibility Chapman U is

The top residential brokers, commercial brokers and property managers

Barbara Kerr of Realty Executives Premier in Fullerton sold 870 residential units last year, the most for any agent in the county. Even if Kerr worked all 365 days of 2000 that calculates to nearly 2.5 sales a day, every day.

OC's upscale grocery stores think they can weather an economic downturn

A trio of specialty grocery stores has opened in Orange County, hoping to further feed the local appetite for healthy luxuries such as fine wine, cranberry apple turkey sausage and even octopus salad.

Greg Noll Oceanwear names an industry veteran VP of sales

After a short run as national sales manager for a newcomer to the surf scene,Nike's Irvine-based action sportswear unit of the All Conditions Gear brand,Lund has become vice president of sales for a brand named after a surfing legend: Greg Noll Oceanwear.

'Much Ado About Nothing' is really something at SCR, a Briefcase

By William Shakespeare. On South Coast Repertory's Mainstage, Costa Mesa. Directed by Mark Rucker. Through April 1. Tickets $28-$49. Call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.

Pick Up Stix is up to 50 units

San Clemente-based Pick Up Stix is now half way to its goal of becoming a 100-unit chain of Chinese food restaurants and plans to open another 10 stores this year.

Other states are trying to lure California companies with a power pitch

Out-of-state recruiters who've watched haplessly as California's economy has surged are back in action as the state is grappling with a power shortage and the threat of rolling blackouts.

A new artists' and event center opens in Laguna Beach

A new 23,400-square-foot mixed-use arts and events facility recently debuted in Laguna Beach.

2000 was a very busy year

The Orange County real estate market witnessed a record year in 2000. Even as news surfaced in the fourth quarter that the national economy faced an impending downturn, large deals surged locally.

Is Stussy getting all gussied up for Diesel?

In the past year, the apparel industry's rumor mill has been spinning with the story that Stussy Inc. President Frank Sinatra has wanted to sell the apparel company he bought out from co-founder Shawn Stussy in 1996.

Pacific Gulf Properties is acquired by a unit of Prudential

Pacific Gulf Properties Inc., Newport Beach, was acquired by FountainGlen Properties LLC, a unit of Prudential Real Estate Investors, for $143 million in cash and debt acquisition.

Security firms post billings and employment gains

The booming economy of the past few years has meant there are more businesses and homes that need to be protected.

SAT decision a sad state of affairs, in Letters

I am stunned but not surprised at a recent proposal of Richard Atkinson, president of the University of California system, to eliminate the use of SAT test scores as part of the UC's admission process. He has deemed the SAT to damage self-esteem and preve

Postcards from a round-the-world trip

Former Irvine Co. spokeman Franz Wisner has regaled friends with e-mail messages as he and his brother Kurt have made their way around the world. An installment from Eastern Europe ran here Oct. 9. Now we excerpt Franz's accounts of their journeys through

John Martin resigns as chairman of Easyriders Inc.

Just weeks after resigning the chairmanship of Diedrich Coffee Inc., Irvine, John Martin has quit as chairman of Easyriders Inc.

Observations from PacifiCare's CEO, in the Healthcare column

A few weeks ago, the Business Journal looked at the efforts of Howard Phanstiel, PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.'s president and chief executive, to evolve the Santa Ana company from a straight HMO into a full-service managed care insurer.

Orange Coast magazine plans a Hispanic spin-off, in the Marketing & Media column

The publishers of glitzy lifestyle magazine Orange Coast hope to soon tap into the growing Hispanic population in Orange County.

People

Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp., Long Beach, expanded its practice with the addition of three partners: James A. Cordova, partner in the tax department specializing in tax matters involving pass-through entities; Donita M. Joseph partner in the tax

Calendar

The Template for Real Estate Ownership in the New Millennium (UCI Graduate School of Management Program) Irvine 7:30 a.m. $35 (949) 824-6172 Emerging Companies, Venture Capitalists Analyze Business Plans (Southern California Venture Network) Irvine 6 p.

Register doing more cost-cutting

The Orange County Register plans to cut 14 newsroom positions through attrition, combine two of its weeklies, close the Irvine Spectrum News and take other cost-cutting measures.

Real Estate Deals

Save-Most Desert Rancho Ltd. acquired a 55,282-square-foot office complex at 23272-23282 Mill Creek Road in Laguna Hills for $9.6 million. Alan Pekarcik and Tyson Theel of Voit Commercial Brokerage's Irvine office and Rob Mitchell of Voit's Anaheim Metro

OC's Office of Protocol has a new focus on trade development

For years, the Orange County Office of Protocol in Santa Ana has served as greeting committee and glitzy host for global dignitaries. These days, the office is focused just as much on building business ties between OC and the world.

Industrial availability continued to fall in OC in the fourth quarter

Research and development space is nearly 17% of the Orange County industrial market. Although the size of the market is small compared to the manufacturing and warehouse market, the R & D; sector remains a significant portion of the industrial base, as it is

Marshack Shulman & Hodges moves and adds a name partner

The law firm of Marshack Shulman & Hodges has relocated from the Irvine Spectrum to Foothill Ranch and said it will change its name.

TDK Semiconductor delays a planned IPO

Souring market conditions and a softening semiconductor market may prevent Tustin-based TDK Semiconductor from going public this year as planned, according to company officials.

The Ayres Hotel Group is expanding in OC and rebranding some of its lodgings

Costa Mesa hotel developers Ayres Hotel Group will open two 140-suite hotels in Orange County this spring,the privately held company's 15th and 16th properties,under a new banner and will consider renaming other hotels in its portfolio later in the year.

Two venues have canceled plans to open at The Block at Orange

Two big entertainment venues that were set to open late last year at the Block at Orange have dropped their plans for the outdoor shopping center altogether.

Wielding power at Quantum/ATL, in the Technology column

Running a business sans power can turn even the mundane into the exciting. A few weeks ago, Quantum/ATL Products Inc. Chief Executive Kevin Daly received a call from the company's Irvine offices on Kelvin Street and learned that, because of power issues,

Southwest Airlines is adding flights at John Wayne Airport

Southwest Airlines last week said it will add six daily flights to three new destinations from John Wayne Airport beginning June 10. The flights include three nonstops to Phoenix and two to Las Vegas, as well as a one-stop flight to Nashville, a market no

Hispanic ad shops are bracing as the economy slows

Whatever Happens, Happens: Ad Shops Play Waiting Game to See if Hispanic Ads Can Resist Slowdown

Device maker EndiCor gets $13 million in funding

EndiCor Medical Inc., a privately held San Clemente medical device maker, recently closed a $13 million round of venture capital funding.

Villa Nova sets a wine tour of Italy

Occasionally one of the restaurants splurges and offers the public a taste and tale of wines that's beyond the usual three to five showcased at a dinner. This time, it's Villa Nova in Newport Beach lining up some of the great wines of Tuscany.

Executive Summary

Gov. Gray Davis announced 40 long-term agreements between the state and power companies at an average of $69 per kilowatt hour, about half the average price in the past year; he also said conservation still will be necessary to avoid blackouts this summer

Monday, March 5

Erik Hansen leaves Legacy Partners to start his own firm, in the Real Estate column

Twenty-eight years after making his debut in the Orange County real estate market,at a time when most businessmen think of gearing down,Erik Hansen is beginning anew. Hansen recently stepped down from his post as senior vice president and partner at Legac

Environmental Engineering Firms

Environmental Engineering Firmsel listo

Executive Summary

Interruptible power users could see a repeal of fines they incurred as Southern California Edison agreed to support a bill by Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher, R-Brea, that would waive fines and allow exit from the program Local business leaders expressed the

Bustamante's slip reveals a double standard, in Letters

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante recently used the "n" word during a speech, and while the slip was embarrassing, he has since been forgiven by black leaders in California.

Roger Palley will head Wells Fargo's national value-investment group

Roger B. Palley, president and chief investment officer of Newport Beach-based Palley-Needelman Asset Management Inc., will leave the company he co-founded next month to become national head of the value investment committee at Wells Fargo & Co.'s private

Calendar

Corporate Crisis Management in a High Tech World (UCI Graduate School of Management) Irvine 7:30-9:30 a.m. $75 (949) 824-1147 The New Ethics of Business Policy (USC Orange County Center) Irvine 7-9 a.m. $35 (949) 752-5505 Information Technology Consul

Quiksilver sues two firms for allegedly trying to sell knock-offs to Costco

Imitation may be a sign of success, but one Orange County surfwear maker isn't flattered.

Tickets.com is seeking another round of funding

Tickets.com is seeking an undisclosed amount in a new round of funding from strategic and financial partners.

Interest rate cuts are a boon to mortgage lenders

The interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have spurred a refinancing boom that has many mortgage lenders revving their engines to bring in more business,but they also are trying to find the right gears.

Zions Bancorporation's investment in Roth Capital includes intangibles for both firms

Roth Capital Partners LLC has given up a big chunk of the investment bank to new partner Zions Bancorporation, but the proceeds could see the firm through what's shaping up to be a down year for deals.

Buy.com's biggest investor, Softbank, is sticking with the struggling online retailer

A representative from buy.com Inc.'s biggest investor Softbank Corp. says the company is sticking by the struggling Internet retailer for now.

Local environmental firms' billings and employment rose in 2000

Orange County environmental firms grew strongly in 2000, but still more slowly than in 1999. After seeing billings at the 30 largest companies rise 12% in 1999, the increase slowed to 9% for a base of $430.8 million last year, according to the Business Jo

The latest '70s fad to make a comeback is energy conservation

California's ongoing energy crunch is bringing back a notion not widely seen since the days of bell-bottom jeans and AMC Gremlins,conservation.

StarTrac by Unison hopes to put its exercise machines in consumers' homes

For years, Star Trac by Unisen Inc. has been making treadmills and stairclimbers for gyms and company workout rooms, including that of Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp.

Johnny Rockets lands a deal to put its restaurants in Cedar Fair parks

Aliso Viejo-based Johnny Rockets Group Inc., a chain of 1940s-style hamburger diners, has landed a deal to put its restaurants in amusement parks operated by Cedar Fair LP, with the first set to debut later this year at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

People

Lynne Dunn joined Taylor & Associates Architects in Newport Beach as an interior designer. Dunn's 12 years of project design has included roles with Kaiser Permanente and San Antonio Community Hospital.

Could the voracious Broadcom be an acquisition target now?

In the past year, Irvine chip maker Broadcom Corp. has bought more than a dozen companies and amassed more than $1 billion in annual sales. But with its shares more than 80% off their late August high of 274, industry observers are entertaining a thought

Santa Ana will host Mexico's first U.S. trade center

Santa Ana late last month beat out rival cities in Southern California and Texas in a bid to host Mexico's first U.S. trade center, which is set to open later this month.

VC investment in OC declined again in the fourth quarter

It was fun while it lasted: Computer engineers talking about business models, money-losing businesses getting millions in funding, new economy start-ups ready to take over the world.

A local legislator offers his cure for the nurse shortage, in the Healthcare column

An Orange County lawmaker is looking to address the area's nursing shortage via higher education.

Bates is making a move on the tech market, in the Marketing & Media column

About six months ago, the Orange County-based ad shop bought for undisclosed terms Atlanta-based Donino, White & Partners, a 10-year-old agency specializing in business-to-business marketing for the tech sector.

Little Saigon leaders look for ways to stem the outflow of younger Vietnamese's dollars

With Young Vietnamese Spending Elsewhere, Local Businesses Eye Brands, Bands

The CenterLine light-rail plan seems to ride above reason, an Editorial

THE PROPOSED LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM FOR ORANGE COUNTY HAS BEEN criticized by me and others as a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. But I'm beginning to wonder whether we've failed to appreciate this Center Line's engineering attributes.

Former Apple CEO Gil Amelio has bought a home in OC and may take a position here

Gil Amelio, the former chief executive of Apple Computer Inc. turned venture capitalist, plans to move from the Bay area to Orange County in coming weeks.

Retailers soon will face fines for failing to reduce their outdoor lighting

Retailers that don't cut back their outdoor lighting by half after hours come March 15 may find themselves facing misdemeanor charges and a $1,000 fine per violation under an executive order signed by Gov. Gray Davis in January.

The Annabella Hotel opens in Anaheim

The 360-room Anabella Hotel opened for business last week at the edge of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. For now, 150 rooms and a restaurant called the Tangerine Grill & Patio are open to the public. The balance of the rooms are scheduled to open within

RBF Consultants acquires a traffic engineering firm

RBF Consulting, Irvine, acquired O'Rourke Engineering, a traffic engineering and transportation planning firm with offices in San Marcos and Ontario.

Procom looks overseas for growth, in the Technology column

After another quarterly loss, Santa Ana-based Procom Technology Inc. is looking to get more revenue outside the U.S. The first step: create a new post that focuses on sales to the rest of the world and hire an executive with a punch-packing resume to fill

An independent study boosts Peregrine Pharmaceuticals' anti-tumor therapy

An Orange County biopharmaceutical company involved in a joint venture to develop new cancer therapies is hailing a new scientific journal study that it says validates its work.

The San Diego office market prospered in the fourth quarter

The office market in San Diego continued to prosper in the fourth quarter. Vacancy decreased, lease rates increased to a record high, more than 2.5 million square feet of annual absorption were experienced, annual leasing activity increased and 1.2 millio

Former GOP Assembly Leader Scott Baugh joins Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Former GOP Assembly Leader Scott Baugh has joined LA-based Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the lobbying powerhouse co-founded by Democrat bigwig Charles Manatt; Baugh's working out of Sacramento and OC Joel Slutzky has lost a corporate director but gained a

Picard wines pique the palate

Michel Picard French wines are working their way onto wine lists and they are finding a coterie of appreciative fans based on the quality and value pricing. Those who still order the basic Chardonnay and Cabernet or meritage blend based on a California la

Real Estate Deals

Zeno Table Co. purchased a 109,144-square-foot industrial property in Lake Forest from Makena Properties for $12.9 million. Mark Larson and Gary Stache of CB Richard Ellis' Private Client Investment Group represented both parties.