Biz Buzz: New Frontiers’ big move is in November

New Frontiers Natural Marketplace will open its new, expanded store off Los Osos Valley Road at 8 a.m. Nov. 10, with an official grand opening early next year.

The existing store on Foothill Boulevard will close at 5 p.m. Nov. 7.

The 33,000-square-foot site, next to T.J. Maxx, is slightly more than twice the size of the existing store and will offer larger perishable departments — produce, meat, seafood and deli items.

Among the changes: an expanded gourmet deli and cafe with salad bar, hot food bar featuring ethnic foods, pizza kitchen, fresh sushi and stir fry made to order, a Panini station, specialty coffee counter, artisan cheese department with olive bar, gelato shop and full bakery and dessert case.

The specialties are new for the Solvang-based grocer, said Ron Colone, director of marketing, adding that the San Luis Obispo site will now be the largest of its five stores.

Besides the one here, New Frontiers operates a store in Solvang and three in Arizona — Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona. It also owns an organic farm in Buellton that provides produce for all of its stores. New Frontiers employs about 100 people on Foothill. The larger store could hire an estimated 30 to 40 percent more employees, Colone said. Its new hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

The privately held company declined to disclose how much it invested in the new store or its annual sales or profits.

While the grocer expects to lose some business from Cal Poly students who live near the Foothill site, it also expects to gain business from more families shopping for a wide variety of food, Colone said.

Furthermore, he added, “We’re likely to see more people from the Pismo and Arroyo Grande areas who may not have been coming to the other location.’’

A similar situation occurred about a year ago in Flagstaff when New Frontiers moved away from a site near Northern Arizona University to a larger location.

“Yes, we lost some of the student customers,” Colone said. But we attracted “more people with shopping carts, more families, doing a complete shop versus coming in and grabbing a muffin or a sandwich.”

— Sandra Duerr

Mission bank hires directors, officers

Mission Community Bank recently appointed George H. Andrews and Harry H. Sackrider as directors and hired two new employees to work in the bank’s administration office in San Luis Obispo.

Andrews, who will also serve as the company’s audit committee chairman, is a certified public accountant and partner of Andrews Galloway & Associates, an accounting firm based in Santa Maria.

Sackrider, who will serve on the bank’s directors’ loan committee, held management positions from 1997 to 2007 with the-then Mid-State Bank & Trust in Arroyo Grande.

Mission Community Bank also recently hired Mata Slosson, a former assistant controller at Rabobank — which later went on to buy Mid-State Bank — with a bachelor’s degree in business accounting, to serve as vice president and accounting manager.

Debbie Howland, who has worked as an operations analyst and electronic banking services manager at Rabobank, will serve as vice president and bank operations services officer.

Mission Community Bank operates full-service offices in Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo.

— Julia Hickey