Andrew Cook, assistant manager, Utrecht Art Supplies

Browsers & Shoppers

Retailers check consumers' pulse with social media

As shopkeepers have done for thousands of years, Andrew Cook talks with his customers about what he ought to carry at the Utrecht Art Supplies store on Howe Avenue. The difference is that Cook, Utrecht’s assistant manager, holds the conversations on Facebook. The store had nearly 800 fans as of late November.

Dec 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi

From Gritty to Groovy

Planners and developers plow ahead on K street

City planners and private developers in Sacramento envision a downtown shopping and entertainment hub pulsing with revenue and pedestrians. The mind’s eye replaces vagrants with decorative park benches and rundown storefronts with shiny new facades. And rather than dispersing at sundown, restaurant patrons and theatergoers would linger into the wee hours.

Nov 1, 2009 Christine Calvin

Litigation Litany

When employers and workers can't get along in today's economy

Even in the best economy, employers fight a financial tug of war with the people who work for them. One side wants more pay and benefits while the other side wants to trim costs. When the economy takes a nose dive, though, the tug of war can get a lot rougher. State and local government jobs are getting much of the attention in Sacramento this year as furloughs and layoffs have increased tension with workers. But Sacramento’s private sector has seen temperatures rise, too.

Oct 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi
This UC Davis employee rides her bike on County Road 102 nearly every morning from her home in Woodland.

Safety Path

Woodland and Davis look to protect commuter cyclists

In October 2007, 60-year-old Francisco “Willie” Lopez was doing what he had done almost every morning for 30 years. He pedaled along County Road 99 from Woodland to his job in the finance department at UC Davis. A car hit and killed him on that country road before he made it to his desk.

Oct 1, 2009 Ken James
Cache Creek Casino Resort began as a bingo hall but has slowly added amenities, such as this year-old 18-hole championship golf course, in its push to become a destination resort.

Full House

Have casinos reached market saturation in the Capital Region?

Red Hawk Casino opened in December, just weeks after economic woes sent the stock market plunging. The launch of the new venue just off Highway 50 coincided with a sharp drop in gross gaming revenue at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe casinos, and California casinos also felt the sting as gamblers gave Red Hawk a try.

Oct 1, 2009 Adam Weintraub
The Jelly Belly Candy Co. opened a manufacturing plant in fairfield in 1986; as of December, it employed 480 workers.

(Photo courtesy of the City of Fairfield)

Assembly Line

Can the state increase regulation and create manufacturing jobs

This summer, the Milken Institute released its second report on manufacturing in California. Seven years the institute sounded the alarm that California was losing its manufacturing edge, the driving force for postwar prosperity from the aerospace industry through high technology. The institute said policy makers should pay attention to the state’s manufacturing decline.

Sep 1, 2009 Tony Quinn
(Photo illustration: C.J. Burton)

Organizational Misbehavior

Are you grooming or stifling tomorrow's leaders?

With the national economy stumbling along like a wounded animal, the only steady growth these days is in the number of workers being shown the door. But while layoffs can be demoralizing, those workers who remain on the job may find “the Great Recession” to be a huge career booster.

Aug 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Steve Currall, incoming dean of the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis

Passing the Buck

Are MBA programs a beneficiary of a falling economy?

Many things can claim victim status in the wake of the current economy, but local MBA programs aren’t one of them.

Despite significant tuition costs, ranging from $12,000 to $40,000, MBA programs are at worst holding steady in enrollments, and many are actually enjoying surges — not just in applications but in qualified applications.

Aug 1, 2009 Bill Romanelli