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Daily Business Report — June 14, 2011

Help for San Diego Entrepreneurs

The California Small Business Development Centers will present the Next Steps for Small Business program on June 29 to bring entrepreneurs the latest techniques to obtain capital, learn social media marketing, how to sell to the government and other tips for business success. Speakers from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Yelp, Vertical Response, Grow Biz Media, Wright On Communications, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the U.S. General Services Administration will be featured. The program will be presented from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Diego Doubletree Hotel, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, in Mission Valley. The event, which includes lunch, is free. The event is the fourth of 10 that will be held throughout the state in 2011 aimed at helping small businesses focus on growth strategies that can help them build their business.

“The Small Business Development Center is committed to helping San Diego’s economy by creating events that provide attendees with business opportunities and contracts they can pursue immediately,” said Sudershan Shaunak, director of the North San Diego County SBDC. “For so many small businesses owners, their life stops at the threshold of their storefront and getting opportunities to grow and improve can be far and few between,” said California SBDC Chair Kristin Johnson. “We are really excited to bring these experts together in one place to dig deep into areas that businesses say they need help.” Registration is required. Visit or call (707) 826-3919. (Photo: Luther Lowe, director of business outreach for Yelp, speaks on social media at the Next Steps for Small Business event in San Francisco in March.)

Donald Rumsfeld to Visit Naval Base San Diego

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will visit the Navy Exchange at Naval Base San Diego on Friday to sign copies of his bestselling memoir, “Known and Unknown.” He will be at the Exchange from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Rumsfeld’s visit is part of a customer appreciation week and celebration of the grand re-opening of the Exchange. Rumsfeld has been visiting military bases nationwide to promote the sale of his book, from which his proceeds go to charities supporting those serving in the military and their families. The Navy Exchange at Naval Base San Diego underwent a remodel to add an additional 30,000 square feet in space and product availability in 2010.  NEX San Diego is the largest Navy Exchange worldwide. It has been in business since 1946 in San Diego and employs 800 people.

County Home Sales Decline in May

Home sales in San Diego County in May took a 20.2 percent fall from May of 2010 while the median sales price declined by 4.6 percent, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, a real estate information service. May home sales totaled 3,087 compared to 3,879 a year ago, while the median sales price fell from $340,000 to $324,500 over the year.

Southern California Figures:

Home sales held at a three-year low last month amid a sluggish move-up market and record-low sales of newly built homes. The median sale price fell year-over-year by the largest amount in 20 months as buyer uncertainty, tight credit and lackluster hiring continued to restrain housing demand, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 18,394 new and resale houses and condos sold in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties in May. That was up insignificantly – 0.3 percent – from 18,344 in April, and down 17.4 percent from 22,270 in May 2010, according to DataQuick. May marked the 11th consecutive month in which sales fell year-over-year.

“A year ago we were talking about sales reaching a four-year high as buyers rushed to take advantage of expiring federal homebuyer tax credits,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “Now sales are stuck at a three-year low. The government stimulus is long gone and some of the fundamental drivers of housing demand have yet to strengthen enough to lift sales to even average levels. Some of the key culprits are weak job growth, tight credit and a hesitancy among potential buyers and sellers, who question whether this is the best time to make their move.”

The median price paid for all new and resale Southland houses and condos purchased last month was $280,000, the same as in April but down 8.2 percent from $305,000 in May 2010. That year-over-year drop was the largest since the median fell 10.9 percent in September 2009.

Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – made up 33.4 percent of the Southland resale market in May, down slightly from 33.8 percent in April and 33.9 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 56.7 percent in February 2009.

Vista Retail Center Sold for $2.19 Million

The Mar Vista Centre at 1275 South Santa Fe Ave. in Vista has sold for $2.19 million to Primrose Park Apartments LLC. The seller was RLS Investments LLC. The 15,600-square-foot strip retail center has 20 suites leased to 12 tenants. Ray Adams of Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial represented the buyer in the transaction. Matty Sundberg, Mark Avilla and Bob Cowan, also with Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, represented the seller. Title and escrow services were provided by Chicago Title. Teresa McElaney was the escrow holder and Mark Brady was the title representative. A new $1.35 million loan was originated by Tonnie Blinks of Sunrise Mortgage.

Exhibitors and Experts at the Old House Fair in South Park

House on the Historic Home Tour

Visitors to the 13th annual Old House Fair June 18 in South Park will have the chance to talk with a variety of skilled experts about the unique challenges of working with older homes in historic neighborhoods of San Diego. Along with the Historic Home Tour of five restored homes, a trolley and walking tours, and a full day of entertainment for adults and kids, the Old House Fair delivers a host of information and useful resources for those who appreciate the special style of old single-family homes. Lining the four blocks where 30th Street meets Beech Street in South Park will be 75 booths featuring exhibitors and vendors who specialize in services for old house residents and owners.  “There’s no formula for restoring an old house,” says Owen Sutton of Home Restoration & Remodeling of San Diego. “It’s often unpredictable. That’s why many builders shy away from older homes. Then there’s me — I really enjoy the surprises.”

Sutton says that he often uncovers hidden treasures once the work has begun. “We find windows, doors, flooring, tiles, molding, cabinets, even walls that were covered over or torn apart in past decades. We work with the owners to replicate the best parts of the historic design, working within the job’s budget. You can’t be a ‘fundamentalist’ about history, but you can find ways to replicate the best parts of a home’s history.”

At the Home Restoration & Remodeling booth, Sutton will answer questions and show examples of his company’s work, including a San Diego (Mission Hills) remodel that won top honors in the “Great American Home Awards” presented by the National Trust and Old House Journal. His booth will also feature information of San Diego’s famed Villa Montezuma, on which he has worked extensively.

Charles Cairns

Charles Cairns of Cairns Craft points out that some aspects of today’s lifestyle require dramatic changes in remodeling old houses such as the Craftsman bungalows in San Diego’s historic neighborhoods like South Park. “Eighty or 100 years ago a new house had one small bathroom. Today many owners want master suites with whirlpool tubs and double vanities. We work to maintain the home’s historic sensibility even when we expand or add new rooms to suit the family’s lifestyle.” Cairns also points out that old kitchens are often enclosed and have to be opened up to bring the family’s life into and around the kitchen, to suit the modern urge to socialize there. Similarly, older lighting designs are “minimal compared with today.” Cairns Craft works to design and install unobtrusive modern lighting, while using older fixtures for more decorative effect.

His company, Cairns Craft, is family-owned and operated. “My wife is our designer, my bother our production supervisor, and we have a small close-knit team that likes working on older homes, where we see the most vitality, the human quality that makes for great living.”

Several Old House Fair exhibitors are specialists, who work on specific aspects of historic restoration — foundations, wood windows, sashes, fireplaces, lighting, and vintage stoves, among others. The fair also features craftsmen with expertise and fine reputation for the contracting and repair work so often needed by old house owners.  These include plumbing and painting contractors, electricians, and wood- and metal-working craftsmen, among others.

Also at the event is the popular “Ask The Experts” booth by SOHO, where you can learn about preservation, historical designation and where to find answers to restoration questions. Experts in interior design, architecture, landscaping, and specialists in kitchens will be available as well.

There will also be vendors and craftsmen who source, produce, refinish and install the kinds of fixtures, furniture, and materials that “work” in old houses. These include ceramics, tiles, stained glass, wood furniture, antique restoration and more. Local South Park shops like Progress, Fuchsia Design Studio and Studio Maureen will share the kinds of creative artwork and home accessories that make their shops so popular.

Admission to the festival is free, as are the walking tours at 1 and 3 p.m.  Tickets for the Old House Fair trolley tour are $5, and the Historic Home Tour are $20. A free shuttle trolley will transport Historic Home Tour ticket-holders from South Park to Burlingame and back. Complete information and advance tour tickets are available on the Website,

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News, Kensington News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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