Biz Buzz: T.J. Maxx to open April 18 in Irish Hills

T.J. Maxx, which bills itself as one of the country’s largest discount retailers, will open a store in San Luis Obispo on April 18, company officials said Thursday.

The 21,000-square-foot store will occupy the former Linens ’n Things space in Irish Hills Plaza off Los Osos Valley Road. That space has been vacant since Linens ’n Things filed for bankruptcy and closed in late 2008.

Based in Framingham, Mass., T.J. Maxx sells brand-name clothing, accessories and other products at prices that are often lower than those found at department or specialty stores.

The San Luis Obispo store will create about 60 full- and part-time jobs, according to a news release from the company.

It is one of two major openings planned for Irish Hills, said Clint Pearce of Madonna Enterprises, who is supervising renovations at the shopping center. New Frontiers Natural Marketplace, which announced plans last year to open a store in the former Circuit City location, is expected to open in October, Pearce said.

The grocery store will occupy about 31,500 square feet, he said.

— Stephen Curran

Opera marks 25th with name change

Pacific Repertory Opera recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and changed its name to Opera San Luis Obispo. The new name follows common naming practices for operas nationally and worldwide.

Opera San Luis Obispo was founded as Pacific Repertory Opera in 1985 by Jill Anderson and the late Jean Cook.

Its first performance was on the outdoor back patio at Linnaea’s Café in San Luis Obispo. Since then, it opened an office in San Luis Obispo and performs two full-scale operas each year, mostly at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly.

The opera features singers from San Luis Obispo County and across the country, with local performers for the orchestra and chorus.

Robert Ashens became artistic director for the company when Anderson retired in June 2008.

The opera also hosts educational activities, including a matinee program for fifth- and sixth-graders, a summer opera day camp for students ages 8 to 15, and vocal scholarships for high school and college students.

The company’s production of “La Bohème” will be performed today and Sunday.

— Julia Hickey

The Small Business

Administration-funded Women’s Business Center now offers evening and Saturday services.

One-on-one consulting, access to the Business Information Center and a variety of workshops will be offered during the extended hours, which are Mondays until 8 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The WBC, at 71 Zaca Lane, Suite 130, in San Luis Obispo, is hosted by Mission Community Services Corp., a non-profit organization helping individuals achieve self-employment.

For more information, call 595-1357.

— Julia Hickey