Michael Volpe

Staff Reporter

Michael Volpe covers media and marketing, hotel developers and owners, law and accounting. He can be reached at volpe@ocbj.com.

Phone: 949-833-8373

Recent Stories

Atlanta Publisher Takes Over Riviera, Other Luxury Titles

St. Joseph, Radio Disney Promote Kids Health; Motorcycle Magazine Cycle News Shuts Down

Luxury magazine Riviera was sold to an Atlanta-based publisher, in the Media and Marketing column

Claim Jumper Files Bankruptcy, Sells Assets to Private Equity Firm

Irvine-based Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC files for bankruptcy and looks to sell its assets to a Los Angeles private equity firm.

Automakers Saw Sales Drop in August, Down from Cash for Clunkers Numbers

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. and other local automakers saw declines in August sales as part of a larger industry hiccup resulting from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program a year ago.

Freedom Looks To Streamline Media Outlets Operations

Custom Comfort Mattress Launches Marketing Campaign; Hybrid PR Shop Caters to Startups

Chief Executive Mitch Sterns is looking to find a more efficient way to run Freedom Com-munications, in the Media and Marketing column

Lawyers See Deals Surge; How Long?

LAW: Some fear capital gains hike could stem M&A rebound

Local corporate lawyers saw work ramp up last month with an increase in mergers and acquisitions deals

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Bag Bid

Supplier to Quiksilver, Others Strikes Out on Own with Reusable Shopping Bags

American Joe in Costa Mesa is developing a line of fashionable reusable grocery bags

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Sunstone Calls off Bid for San Diego Hotel

Aliso Viejo-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has called off plans to buy Southern California's largest hotel, the 1,625-room Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.

Hyundai and Other Automakers see Declines in August, Blame Cash For Clunkers

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America Inc. and other local automakers saw declines in August sales as part of a larger industry hiccup resulting from the government’s “cash for clunkers” program a year ago.

Marketer Leaves Hyundai for GM, Joining Colleague

Suzuki Pushes Social Media in Bid to Reverse Slump; RiechesBaird Opens New York Office

Hyundai has lost marketing head Christopher Perry to General Motors’ Chevrolet, in the Media and Marketing column

Bottled Water Hopeful Gets Wahlberg Star Power Push

Actor Is Investor, Director, Key Cheerleader

Huntington Beach-based bottled water maker AquaHydrate has a big backer

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PR Shops Hiring As Clients Come Back

ABOUT THE LIST: OC’s top public relation agencies are hiring again after a tough 2009. Includes the 2010 OC PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRMS List for download (pdf)

Thrifty Mindset Spurs Furniture Co.’s Hiring

ECONOMY: Technigroup of Singapore adding 60 in Anaheim

Local budget furniture maker Technigroup USA plans to go on a hiring spree in the next few months

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KOCE-TV in Middle of KCET, PBS Standoff

MEDIA: KOCE may be urged to become full regional PBS affiliate

Local public TV station KOCE is caught in the middle of a financial tug of war between PBS and KCET

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Kia Playing Off Hamsters with Online Video Contest

Mazda Agency Makes Creative Hire; Traffik Looks To Revive Sausage Seller Jody Maroni’s

Kia is hosting an online video contest to promote the Kia Soul, in the Media and Marketing column

Paul Frank Buy: Julius Meets Power Rangers

APPAREL: Designers staying here, business operations to L.A.

Paul Frank is set to be bought by Saban Brands but will keep its design team in OC.

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Media Mogul Saban Acquires Paul Frank

Saban Brands LLC has acquired Costa Mesa-based Paul Frank Industries Inc. and plans to keep its creative team here.

Sunstone Acquires Miami Hotel

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. has acquired the Royal Palm hotel in Miami Beach.

Film Festival

Inaugural Event Looks to Bring Guests, Revenue to Shops at Anaheim GardenWalk

The city of Anaheim is planning its first film festival

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Hotels See Uptick in Occupancy, Hesitant to Raise Rates

HOSPITALITY: Analysts expect price hike end of year

Hotel occupancy coming up, but rates are slow to move

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Luxury Magazine Launching New Title in November

Del Taco Adds 39 Cent Tacos into Fast Food Deal Mix; Mazda2 Hosting Facebook Game

Jolie Adams is starting a luxury lifestyle magazine called Bask, in the Media and Marketing column

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Disney Ups Social Media Marketing for Theme Parks

DGWB Pitches Bananas at Night; Software Maker Smith Micro Hires Public Relations Agency

Disney is planning a social media campaign for its Anaheim theme parks, in the Media and Marketing column

Mazda Mounts Big Push for Little Car with Latest Rollout

AUTO: Subcompact in growing market; streamlines global lineup

Mazda North American is hoping the smallest vehicle in its lineup will pack a big punch

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Sunstone Results Show Signs of Hotel Industry Rebound

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. topped Wall Street expectations with a key profit measure and a gain in revenue as life appears to be returning to the industry.

Sunstone Looking to Acquire San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is looking to acquire the 1,625-room Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.

Hyundai, Kia Lead On July Sales

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and Irvine’s Kia Motors America Inc. again led local automakers with big gains in July sales as part of a larger industry rebound.

Chapman’s Brandman Ramps Up Advertising Campaign

M Magazine Taps Orange Coast Exec for Marketing; Lages & Associates Adds Accounts

Chapman University’s Brandman University is launching its first solo advertising campaign, in the Media and Marketing column

In-N-Out Heiress Takes on President Role

DINING: Martinez leads Texas expansion; age, gender stand out

Heiress Lynsi Martinez has taken over as president of In-N-Out and is leading the expansion plans

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Mazda’s New Ad Shop To Hire in Irvine

MARKETING: Britain’s WPP shopping for space, 100 workers

Britain’s WPP will open an office in Irvine after winning an advertising account with Mazda North American

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Ocean’s Away

Laguna Beach Filmmaker MacGillivray Freeman Launches $25M, Five-Year Project

MacGillivray Freeman in Laguna Beach is gearing up for its biggest project yet—a 3-D Imax film, TV and Web series about the world’s oceans

Disneyland Takes World of Color Promos to 4 Cities

Advertisers Look at Soccer Clubs for Marketing Push; Orange PR Firm Leads All-Star Events

Disney has kicked off its “World of Color Road Show,” a traveling spinoff of California Adventure’s World of Color, in the Media and Marketing column

Rumors of Fair’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

ECONOMY: Record attendance predicted on expected sale of park

Promoters hope that rumors of the Orange County Fair’s demise will boost the annual event’s attendance

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Fisker Acquires General Motors Plant

Irvine-based Fisker Automotive Inc. has finalized the purchase of a former General Motors Corp. factory in Delaware.

Corinthian Shares Rise on Regulation Speculation

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. and other for-profit school operators saw shares rise on market reactions to a report that proposed federal regulations that might not affect profits as much as anticipated.

Johnny Rockets Offers Loans to Credit-Strapped Franchisees

RESTAURANTS: Move designed to drive growth amid credit crunch

Lake Forest’s Johnny Rockets is launching a finance arm to help spur growth amid a credit crunch

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Accounting for Losses

Accounting Firms Shed 5% of Local Workers in Past Year, Predicting Pickup in Business

ABOUT THE LIST. OC’s biggest accounting firms have shed workers in the past 12 months. Includes the 2010 ACCOUNTING FIRMS List for download (pdf)

Financial Reform Could Cost Accountants Business

FINANCE: Smaller firms could lose customers exempt from SOX

The latest reform bill isn’t expected to provide new business for OC accounting firms

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School’s in Session

Accounting Programs Still Drawing in Students, Recruiters Despite Slowdown in Jobs

Local universities still are seeing enrollment gains for accounting programs

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Fisker Tries Out Planned Karma Campaign on Website

Hyundai Continues ‘Uncensored’ Social Media Push; Toshiba Ups Advertising for Laptops

Fisker Automotive started a website to create buzz about its luxury hybrid car, in the Media & Marketing column

Hyundai Takes Mini Challenge in Social Media Push

Freedom Changes Hotel Magazine, Links to Local Website; Online Push for Paris Apartments

Hyundai challenged Mini Cooper to a race on Facebook last month, in the Media & Marketing column

Yard House Doubles Space at Spectrum’s Chrysler Building

DINING: Company’s name going up on building, replaces Chrysler’s

Yard House is doubling its headquarters space in the former Chrysler building

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Water Show Adds to Busy Early Summer for Disney in Anaheim

TOURISM: Too early to tell effect on lagging park, president says

The jury’s still out on the economic impact of Disney California Adventure Park’s World of Color lightshow

Doner After Mazda: Some Other Work To Fall Back on

Bandai Sticks to TV, Dabbles Online To Sell Toys; Emergen-C Maker Does Social Media

The loss of a major client is not the end for Doner’s Newport Beach office, in the Media & Marketing column

REVIEW - World of Color, Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure Park may have found something to keep visitors from heading across to Disneyland at the end of the night.

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Yard House, BJ’s Help Stabilize Restaurant Chains

DINING: Sector otherwise down as slump, tough financing persist

ABOUT THE LIST: The largest restaurant chains in Orange County are seeing some stability after a challenging 2009 that saw lower revenue and job cuts. Includes the 2010 OC-BASED RESTAURANT CHAINS List for download (pdf)

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Vocational School Operator Acquires Fresno College

Irvine-based International Education Corp. has acquired a Fresno career college.

Sunstone Reacquires Hotel, Sees Business Improvements

San Clemente-based hotel owner Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said Thursday it has reacquired a hotel it stopped making debt payments on last year.

Local Automakers See Gains in June

Fountain Valley-based Hyundai Motor America and Irvine’s Kia Motors America Inc. again led local automakers with big gains in June sales as part of a larger industry rebound.

Operator Named for Garden Grove Water Park

Colorado-based hotel developer McWhinney Enterprises LLC has named Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Resorts Inc. to operate the developer’s planned indoor water park.

Defense, Aerospace Contractors Shed 5% of OC Workers

DEFENSE: Drop tempered by backlog, federal spending shift

ABOUT THE LIST: the largest aerospace and defense contractors in OC shed employees. Includes the 2010 OC's LARGEST AEROSPACE and DEFENSE CONTRACTORS List for download (pdf)

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Hyundai Pulls World Cup Spot After Catholic Backlash

Japanese Candy Maker Offers Free Samples; L.A. Times’ Costa Mesa Site Revived for Now

Hyundai pulled a World Cup commercial that poked fun at the Catholic Church, in the Media & Marketing column

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