Biz Buzz: Web site touts Paso tourism

Hundreds of Paso Robles-based businesses, including local places to eat, drink and play, are now included in a tourism Web site designed to help brand the city as a travel destination.

Among its searchable options, lists restaurants, hotels, weather reports, maps, wineries and attractions such as hot springs, organic farms and museums. A Paso Robles travel blog is also in development, officials said.

The city developed the site over the past two years with the goal of branding Paso Robles as part of a plan to promote itself as “Authentic California,” which includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual spending on sponsorships, media outreach and visitor services.

Its tourism budget for 2009-10 is $330,700.

A total of $19,200 was spent on the new Web site, said Shonna Howenstine, the city’s tourism coordinator. She said the money came from three fiscal-year budgets — $3,300 from 2008, $9,000 from 2009 and $6,900 from 2010.

The site, she added, has been in the works about two years, including a break to await the city’s new tourism logo so that its colors and style could be reflected in the Web site. The site launched earlier this month.

The city’s tourism and information technology offices will maintain the Web site, Howenstine added, so new tourism-related companies processed through the city’s business license office are also listed.

A separate group of local hoteliers — the Travel Paso Robles Alliance — will help promote the city Web site by directing people to it in the group’s marketing plan.

— Tonya Strickland

Turnover at plaza on South Higuera

Tenwise Plaza on South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo has been seeing a lot of revolving doors in the last month or so.

Jeff and Maegen Loring’s new catering business, The Neon Carrot, replaced Caruso’s Deli in September.

Now, Weight Watchers and Owens Music are shuttering their businesses at the shopping center to move to other locations in town.

Weight Watchers, at Tenwise for more than 10 years, moved to the Marigold Shopping Center on Broad Street at the end of September, according to Adam Buttery of J.B. Enterprises, the leasing agent for Tenwise Plaza.

Buttery said he had understood the company wanted a shopping center with more walk-by traffic to fit with its business model.

Owens Music, also a longtime tenant and the only piano dealer in the city, is moving to upper Monterey Street near California Boulevard by Nov. 1, said Kevin Owens, one of the music store’s owners.

Owens said the store was moving to a small retail center at 1441 Monterey St. — near Sweet Earth Chocolates and the Splash Cafe — because it was a smaller store with more usable space, and he wanted to get closer to downtown.

No tenants have yet signed on to the Tenwise locations, Buttery said.

J.B. Enterprises is offering the 1,865 square feet of Weight Watcher retail space at $2,500 per month gross; it is looking for a tenant to pay $4,800 gross in the approximately 3,800 square feet of former Owens’ retail space, according to its Web site.

— Melanie Cleveland