Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Is Old Town Clovis the new Tower District?

Old Town Clovis is evolving. No longer just the land of antique stores, my story on the front page of the Bee today detailed many of the changes happening there. A sampling: A new law allowing wine and beer tasting rooms, next month’s craft beer crawl, an influx of young people — hipsters, even — along with a new plaza for events. A growing number of businesses are catering to a younger generation, including Kuppa Joy (pictured at right) and The Lounge at DiCicco’s. And Old Town has a less than 5% vacancy rate, with businesses scrambling to find space to open.

You can read the full story here, but here’s the thing that kept sticking in my brain as I did this story. Several times during different interviews, sources would say to me, sometimes in hushed tones, “Old Town is the new Tower District.” Or, “Old Town is what the Tower District should have been,” or some variation on that sentiment.

Interesting, huh?

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New place to shop: Revival 23

Pretty. That’s the best word to describe the newly opened Revival 23 in Old Town Clovis. The little shop is at 453 Pollasky Ave., inside the Dewitt building and across the breezeway from Lululemon. Everything in here is pretty: flowy, feminine tops hanging on rustic pallets, colorful refinished furniture, vintage wall decor and bottles of bubble bath displayed on shelves that are painted pink.

The shop carries a little bit of everything, including clothing, decor and lots of jewelry. Chunky statement necklaces – usually priced between $18 and $24 — are popular, along with pendants on long thin necklaces. Revival 23 carries a line  of candles, hand cream and bubble bath called Lollia. It’s a line that’s also carried at Anthropologie (though Revival 23 appears to have more of it), and that’s fitting because the store has an Anthropologie feel.

But unlike that retailer, Revival 23 carries vintage and repurposed furniture, including an old farmhouse table and repainted dressers dolled up with new knobs that look like little clocks. There’s picture frames that have been turned into chalkboards and signs that say “coffee” and “home” spelled out in old hinges, handles and other parts.

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Good shopping this weekend

junkdaysOne of the biggest block sales of the season is this weekend, the Terrace Avenue sale in the Fresno High neighborhood. And in a twist, the Brown Avenue sale is also this weekend, allowing you to hit up two in one day. If you’re not familiar with these  block sales, the neighborhood holds a slew of them on Saturdays in May. Go to Palm Avenue and turn onto either street for yard sales full of furniture, clothing, jewelry and food vendors. Be prepared for crowds. It gets crazy. It starts early and winds down after lunch.

Glorious Junk Days is Sunday in Old Town Clovis. Actually only one day, this event is a giant catch-all for all kinds of cool stuff: antiques, vintage items, architectural salvage — as in, old doors that can be made into headboards — collectibles and handmade items. It’s kinda like a 3-D Pinterest: Lots of the projects you see on Pinterest are there, but someone else has already made them for you. Glorious Junk Days runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Pollasky Avenue is blocked off near Fifth Street.

New place to eat: House of JuJu in Clovis

JuJu and Zest 018Here’s something a little different for Clovis. The House of JuJu opened during the first week of December in Old Town, in the space formerly occupied by Salsa’s and California Hot Dogs at 453 Pollasky (in the Dewitt building with the breezeway). It’s a gourmet burger place that also sells hearty salads and wraps, along with local wine and beer. You’ll find burgers on the menu such as the “JuJu bleu” served with crispy bacon, caramelized onions and blue cheese. Or the “Dragon Lady” with teriyaki slaw, pickled onions and spicy garlic aioli.

The restaurant has an emphasis healthy eating, in part because co-owner Scott Glenn lost 120 pounds on a low-carb diet. That’s why you’ll find a “burger in a bowl” option, along with a lean bison burger and Mary’s all-natural chicken. There’s also no fryer. They serve fingerling potatoes instead of fries and their coleslaw is made with teriyaki sauce, not mayonnaise.

JuJu, by the way, is a nickname for co-owner Julie Glenn. It’s what her grandkids call her and as you can imagine, the restaurant is having all kinds of fun with the “good vibe” definition of the word. You can also find Clovis-based W Brewing’s 559 beers on tap at the restaurant. The family that owns House of JuJu is the same family that owns On The Edge coffee shop. You’ll see daughter Jaynae working at both places. My column Wednesday focuses on the Glenn family, who has a long history of running businesses in Clovis.

Clovis Antique Mall reopens after nearby fire


Rick Quinonez takes down a wooden horse fo a customer at the Clovis Antique Mall. Photo by Mark Crosse.

The Clovis Antique Mall in Old Town Clovis reopened Thursday after a fire next door led to an 11-month closure. Last February, Country Rose Antiques & Accents on Fifth Street was destroyed by an overnight fire. The Clovis Antique Mall didn’t burn, but had what appeared at first to be minimal damage from smoke, water and firefighters who battled the fire. The owners even considered reopening the next day.

That didn’t happen. It turned out the crumbling west wall of the building, which is more than 100 years old, had to be replaced, along with a lot of other things. After about $300,000 worth of work (covered by insurance) and 11 months later, the store finally reopened with about 80% of its original antique dealers. The store also is picking up a few dealers from Fulton’s Folly closing.

The Native American guy outside the front door is back and kids were buying $1 bottled cokes from the vintage machine Thursday.Vendors have spent the last 11 months buying up treasures and waiting to resell them, so the store is particularly packed with treasures, says co-owner Jacque Jones. Shane Davis, whose livelihood is selling vinyl records on the second floor of the Clovis Antique Mall, is back with his full

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Saying goodbye to Urban Ornaments

Sad news for Old Town Clovis shoppers. Clothing store Urban Ornaments is closing. Business owner Teresa Darrow (who has always been a helpful source and genuinely nice person to this reporter) said the following on the store’s Facebook page:


Go say goodbye and hit up her sale if you want. And even though this is sad news, it’s nice to see there’s 57 comments on that post wishing her well.

Christian-owned Martin’s Bar replaces The Cellar in Old Town Clovis

WORD MARTINS BARMartin’s Bar opened last week in Old Town Clovis, taking over the space once occupied by The Cellar. The owners of Martin’s Bar put a lot of work into the building, at 446 N. Clovis Ave., between Fourth and Fifth streets. They added six big-screen TVs, a pool table, and new lighting for a stage for live music from singer-songwriter types. You can read my colleague Tim Sheehan’s piece about the bar that ran in Monday’s Word on the Street section here.

This bar is interesting for two reasons.

First, it’s been said that its predecessor, The Cellar, was a bit rough, shall we say? As one Yelp reviewer put it, “Is it just me, or does this place attract ghetto scums?”

New owners Risé and Mark Martin are hoping to change that, and want to create a “comfortable place with nightly entertainment for a more mature crowd.”

Second, the Martins also own the Heaven’s Gate Christian Book Store nearby on Clovis Avenue. Now, it’s not every day you hear of Christian bookstore owners opening a bar. But that doesn’t faze the Martins. From Tim’s piece:

Mark Martin said there’s no particular inconsistency, however, between operating a Christian bookstore and a bar. “Jesus turned water into wine, and there was wine at the Last Supper,” Martin said. “Drinking is not a sin; drinking to excess is.”
“We’re here to make sure people don’t abuse it,” he added. “If someone gets to a certain point, we’ll offer a cup of coffee on the house and just chat for a while until they’re ready to drive home.”

Lululemon clothing store coming to Clovis

Lululemon 002Lululemon Athletica, the yoga-inspired athletic clothing company, is opening a store in Old Town Clovis. If you’re one of the retailer’s loyal followers, this is a very big deal. The store doesn’t have any locations in the San Joaquin Valley, but some locals are still in love with its $98 yoga pants.

In a few weeks you’ll be able to buy them in a little spot in the DeWitt Building at 453 Pollasky Ave., in the breezeway between California Hot Dogs and Robin’s Nest Antiques. Opening day is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 12. The Vancouver-based store and its local workers aren’t talking to the media just yet, but the Clovis location is on the website and the sign is above the door. You can keep tabs on the store at its Facebook page.

To give you an idea of just how excited some people are about this store, I’ll defer to the previous occupant of the space, 3 Oaks Studio owner Vicki Shoemaker, who said: “All I know is everybody is really excited. I hear screams — screams of joy — coming out of there and women are going ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe they’re going to open.’” (Shoemaker’s business has moved to a bigger location at 481 Pollasky, by the way.)

Or as one blogger put it: “Lululemon: crack cocaine for the middle aged woman?”

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Victoria Rose in Clovis gets new business with a familiar owner

The sign hasn’t changed yet, but The Old Hotel Bistro & Hearts Delight is open

Old Town Clovis folks are getting excited about the new business taking over the former Victoria Rose Restaurant. The historic hotel and tea house is now home to longtime gift shop Hearts Delight and a restaurant featuring downhome cooking.

Victoria Rose closed in late December, but wasn’t empty for long before Cora and Bill Shipley swooped in. The owners of Hearts Delight and Scoops, Soups & More, the Shipleys have renamed the space The Old Hotel Bistro & Hearts Delight.

They’ve moved Hearts Delight into the building. Now customers walk through two rooms of retail — the same purses, jewelry and little ceramic birdies that Hearts Delight has always sold — to get to the dining room in the back.

The new, smaller dining room is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, serving lunchtime comfort food like meat loaf sandwiches and other hofbrau-style sandwiches, black-eyed peas and corn bread. They’ll also host occasional dinners. The first one is Friday night. The coffee bar will remain and the business will continue to host tea, and baby and bridal showers. You can find out more info on its Facebook page.

Aside from the attachment Clovis residents have to the historic building, there’s also a feeling that “if Cora thinks that it will work, then it will work because she really is a good business woman,” said Carole Lester, head of the Business Organization of Old Town.

Keep reading to see photos.

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Win VIP access to the Amgen Tour of California in Clovis


UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Whitney!

ORIGINAL POST: As you probably know, the Amgen Tour of California wheels into Clovis on Wednesday. It’s where the fourth stage of the state-wide cycle race winds down, with a finish line right in Old Town Clovis.

Anybody can go out and watch the end of the race, and enjoy the accompanying festivities in Old Town Clovis. Heck, organizers are pushing to make it a ditch day (Take the Day Off, they say). Not just anybody, however, can go where The Beehive is sending one lucky winner.

We’ve got a pair of passes to the VIP hospitality tent at the race’s finish line. It includes free food (from Save Mart and QN4U), free beer and the best seat you can get. In addition, our winner gets parking passes and tickets to the post-race party at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.

Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, it could be yours. Just leave a comment below telling us your favorite story about taking the day off. Deadline to enter is 3 p.m. Tuesday. The winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by e-mail, so please leave a real e-mail address and check it. One entry per person. You’re ineligible if you’ve won something from us in the past 30 days. Complete rules after the jump.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Besides telling your mom you love her.

Experience the forbidden at tonight’s performance from the Valley Burlesque Society. Not only is the show a bit of naughty fun, but its location adds to the voyeurism. It’s in the vault of the old Security Bank Building aka the current Pacific Southwest building. So you’re basically seeing things you shouldn’t in a place you normally shouldn’t be. How wickedly fun. [More]


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New biz alert! Sawyers Vintage Service


Sawyers Vintage Service, which is having its grand opening Saturday in Old Town Clovis, has done a good job of catching my eye.

Sure, a place that services and restores vintage cars and appliances isn’t exactly the thing we write about on The Beehive all the time. But I’ve been enjoying Sawyers dedication to being “old fashioned.”

I got a letter from the two guys who run Sawyers last week. An actual letter. In the mail. It was typed on thick stationary. Well played, sirs.

Kevin Sawyers and Bryan Davis, who run the place, signed it as “proprietors” — not owners. Heck, their e-mail address is even

Yes, they’ve got e-mail and a Facebook page and website too — but let’s not hold that against Sawyers. This is 2012. Besides, it snagged stellar local band Motel Drive — which has a vintage-style rockabilly sound — to play its grand opening.

Here’s a little more about Sawyers, via its Facebook page:

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Yay! Bike valet at Clovis events


I’m so happy to see I Bike Fresno plans to offer bike Valet at up coming events in Clovis, starting April 2-3 at Big Hat Days. Other events include:

Here’s how it will work: Riders can park their bike at the bike valet booth free of charge. When the rider is ready to leave, the valet service will retrieve their bike.

I noticed the bike valet at the SLO farmers market last summer. A lot of people used it. I hope to see folks riding their bikes to Old Town this summer. I know I will be.