365体育投注The Residence Inn by Marriott, 4647 Fermi Place, is designed for stays of five nights or more. It opens March 6. Courtesy photo


Comings & Goings: Will ax-throwing business make the cut?

Changes for Avid Reader, Davis Commons, Zen Toro, Mexican

365体育投注News doesn’t go on vacation when I do. So, find a comfy place to read this long catch-up column …

An ax-throwing business is looking to come to Davis. Doug Link, owner of The Smart Axe, is asking the city for a zoning amendment, to allow commercial recreation at his proposed site – 720 Olive Drive, Suite U2, near Rocknasium365体育投注. (Yes, the climbing gym sounds like commercial recreation to me, too, but I’m not a city planner). It should go before the City Council on Tuesday.

The premise is a fun outlet and team-building activity where patrons throw an ax at a target.

365体育投注The Smart Axe first opened in Rancho Cordova last year, and has another in the works in Roseville. Other locations listed on its website as “coming soon” include Modesto, San Jose, Livermore and Chico. The Rancho Cordova business offers 75-minute sessions for $30 per person, with $10 extra to BYOB. Patrons must be at least 12.

365体育投注The Roseville site will serve beer but no food, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. A city official told me the Davis application does not include food or beer, as neither would be permitted.


By now you’ve likely read the great news that The Avid Reader and Avid Reader Active are under new ownership. I was in Costa Rica and couldn’t take the call when longtime owner Alzada Knickerbocker rang with the news.

365体育投注The announcement came Jan. 31. The parties celebrated Friday evening with a community reception, where the new owners, Davis residents Brett and Erin Arnold, told me they learned the store was for sale by reading this column.

365体育投注The couple met while attending UC Davis, and moved back here six years ago. They have two children: Emelyne, 11, and Owen, 9.

Erin studied human development while at UC Davis and went on to get a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. Brett, who grew up on a Central Valley farm (his parents also met at UC Davis), studied crop science and management, theology and, finally, law.

Erin Arnold, the new face of the store, thanked Friday’s crowd, which included four generations of her family. “I feel like this store was always meant for us,” she said. She thanked the four long-term staff members who remain, and honored Knickerbocker for nurturing the store for 33 years.

Knickerbocker and her then-husband Stan Forbes purchased another Davis bookstore, Orpheus, in 1987. The Avid Reader has been at 617 Second St. for 30 years. Forbes still owns the Sacramento store, at 1945 Broadway.

365体育投注Knickerbocker said she feels “very fortunate ­– and the community is very fortunate” that The Avid Reader landed in such good hands. She said the transition is going well. She’s been stopping in for “some procedural issues” and is thrilled by the Arnolds’ enthusiasm.

The Arnolds are already ordering new books and toys, and have ideas for new directions for the store without straying too far from its history, she said. According to the Davis Dirt, the Arnolds plan to expand the bookstore’s programs, adding more lectures, readings and book clubs.

365体育投注Meanwhile, Knickerbocker is settling into retirement and adding more volunteer activities to her schedule.


Some changes are coming to Davis Commons, but we’ll have to be patient to learn the details from owner and manager Fulcrum Property.

I spoke Thursday with Sarah Barkawi, vice president of marketing for Fulcrum. The vegan eatery The Burger Patch is still coming soon, and there are “some really exciting other prospective tenants” too. Though she wouldn’t disclose who or even what type of business those were, she confirmed it did not involve the Whole Foods space.

“There’s nothing that I can share but I can promise you that I follow closely the dialogue that’s happening,” Barkawi said, mentioning she reads the banter on the Comings & Goings Facebook page. “We are working on many things that involve reactivating the entire center.”

The center, at 500 First St., has several vacant spaces. Its two anchor tenants, Whole Foods and The Gap, are gone. Recent closures include Pluto’s, Bath & Body Works and Solomon’s Deli365体育投注. “The retail climate is tough right now,” she said. “And the Davis market is tricky.”

Its most successful tenant, Mikuni, recently moved to The Gap’s former space, increasing its capacity.

When Davis Commons opened in 1997, it had the popular Border Books & Music (later filled by Whole Foods), several eateries like Pluto’s, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It was a family and community gathering place. Barkawi says they’re working to bring back that vibe.

Fulcrum is fixing up the lawn and adding some fire pits to make the space more event-friendly. They’re working with Davis Live Music Collective to bring back Music on the Green free concerts, and working with FIT House for a free outdoor yoga class. Look for those by mid-summer, she said.

365体育投注“With such a cool space like that, we want people to come out and stay (like they used to). … It creates a sense of community.”


The Japanese bistro Zen Toro365体育投注 is changing hands soon. The restaurant is at 132 E St., Suite 100, in Mansion Square.

365体育投注In 2015, Scott and Amy Nishiyama purchased the business from Scott’s parents, Masahide and Masako Nishiyama. “We haven’t had a single vacation in five years, since my in-laws retired,” Amy said.

They recently sold the restaurant to siblings Kate Kim and Hwang Su Kim. The family previously owned Sushi Unlimited but were forced to close it due to a family emergency in South Korea. They plan to “keep everything the same,” and will train under Scott for two months, ensuring that the recipes and service continue in the same tradition.

Amy said the new owners “are familiar with the quality of the food and the standard, and really, really want to make it work.”

Zen Toro began in downtown Sacramento in 2001. The Davis location opened in 2006, and the Sacramento restaurant closed a year later.

365体育投注Amy said they are looking forward to some time off. She and Scott plan to move to Las Vegas to be near family.

She tears up talking about their loyal customers “for all of the years of support and making us feel like family.” She recalled children she met as babies who are now bringing in their dates, ordering their own sashimi platters.

365体育投注“It’s really sad to go, we just have to look at other things in our life. We appreciate all of the love and support over the years, and the friendships we made.”

The restaurant will likely close for a few days during the transition, which could be as soon as early March. They are waiting for the alcohol license to transfer. Meanwhile, she encourages patrons to bring in photos and sign their Aloha Book, which they will share with their in-laws.


El Toro Bravo, 237 D St., closed for good at the end of January. A sign on its door, posted Feb. 1, said, “Due to the rising cost of goods and employment, we have to close at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience, and really appreciate your patronage over the years.”

The Mexican fusion restaurant opened in late 2012, replacing Baja Fresh. It was under the same ownership as nearby Burgers & Brew and Crepeville.


The 120-suite Residence Inn by Marriott hotel is scheduled to open March 6 at 4647 Fermi Place.

The all-suite hotel is designed for stays of five nights or more. Each studio or one-bedroom suite has a kitchen with a coffeemaker, microwave, residential-sized appliances and work desk.

Sales Manager Jessica Heiser said they’ve scheduled a Davis Chamber of Commerce mixer for March 19. A grand opening event is in the works too.


UC Davis has a new dining commons. Latitude opened Jan. 15, and serves lunch and dinner on weekdays. It’s on Bioletti Way south of Hutchison Drive, and north of the Tercero residential area.

Focused on authentic global cuisine, Latitude offers more than 300 specially developed recipes and showcases ingredients from the Student Farm, and local and alumni suppliers. Like other dining commons, it accepts meal plans and Aggie Cash but is also open to the public. Off-campus visitors can park in nearby Lot 40 ($10; ride your bike).

365体育投注Latitude is the newest of four major dining facilities serving students, staff, faculty and guests, The $34 million facility includes outdoor balconies and a retail cafe with food to go. By adding 500 seats to student dining facilities, the campus allows for future growth of on-campus housing.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The retail area, which features drip coffee, a smoothie bar, fresh-squeezed juices, gelato and macaroons, is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.


Dave Jones of UC Davis’ Dateline reports that a new UC Davis Health365体育投注 clinic is under construction on campus. It’s for staff, faculty and other members of the community who are UC Davis Health patients. The clinic will be an extension of the UC Davis Health clinic on West Covell Boulevard in Davis, with many of the same physicians. The new clinic frees up space in the West Davis clinic for the addition of advanced imaging services like ultrasound and mammography.

It’s due to open in November. The 4,000-square-foot clinic will be at the west end of Parking Lot 40 at the corner of Hutchison Drive and Dairy Road. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

It’s the first of two UC Davis health clinics coming to campus. The other will focus on sports medicine and physical therapy, and be in the Student-Athlete Performance Center, set to open in 2022.


La Mesa RV365体育投注’s 20,000-square-foot expansion at 5200 Chiles Road is complete, according to Sarah Worley, business engagement manager for the city.

365体育投注The addition provides five new service bays for a total of 15. There are also new office spaces and a customer lounge.


A pet-grooming business is filling the former Elan Image space in the Roe Building, at 764 Fifth St.

Franchise owner Jun Li hopes to open Sydnee’s Pet Grooming in early May.

365体育投注The company, based in San Marcos, has 13 California salons listed on its website, including one in Woodland that doesn’t yet list an address. Another is coming soon to West Sacramento, at 2240 Lake Washington Blvd., Suite 104. It also has a handful of stores in Illinois, Texas and Utah.

Elan Image, 365体育投注a formalwear and alterations store, closed in December after six years. Owner Lydia Chu retired.


Beachwood Mosaic & Tile recently moved its business from San Francisco to Davis. It’s at 1520 E. Covell Blvd., Suite B5 #132.

“We are mosaic and tile artists, determined to help you fall in love with your renovation and construction projects,” its website says.

The business does tile and stone installation, design, repairs and restoration. Founder Nick Beach has more than 15 years of construction experience, specializing in high- and mid-range residential and commercial projects.


Georgina Valencia has opened her own office, Georgina Valencia Real Estate365体育投注, at 430 D St. in Davis.

The UC Davis grad has worked in the home-building industry since 1986, serving in various capacities from a principal in her own real estate business to sales and executive positions for private and public builders. She serves as chair on the city’s Social Services Commission and is active with The League of Women Voters.

— Wendy Weitzel is a Davis writer and editor. Her column publishes on alternate Sundays. Check for frequent updates on her Comings & Goings Facebook and Instagram pages. If you know of a business coming or going in the area, contact her at [email protected]


Wendy Weitzel
Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing and public relations.

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