Los Angeles Business Journal

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Treat for Franchisees?

Yummy Cupcakes sees shop in San Diego as first of many in United States.

Yummy Cupcakes hopes its plan pans out for franchised shops across the United States.

Music to The Ears of Wine Lovers

Patina, Philharmonic work in concert for Hollywood Bowl bar.

Hollywood Bowl raises glasses to its first-ever wine bar.

Off the Shelf

APPAREL: Shop owner Nevena Borissova returns to fashion design with new line A.O.T.C.

Retailer Nevena Borissova now has designs on launching her own clothing line.

Reusable Straw Tough To Swallow?

Fiji Water pitches washable bottle topper as brand builder.

Fiji looks to suck in customers with a new reusable straw and cap set.

Chain Orders Up Expansion Plan With the Works

dining: Dog Haus aims to serve up franchises in 36 states at outset.

Three Pasadena restaurateurs are betting that entrepreneurs across the country want to snag a bite of their gourmet hot dog concept, Dog Haus.

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Document Database Eases Paper Chase of Gangs

SOFTWARE: Long Beach police swept up in market expansion by Laserfiche.

Laserfiche continues to seek and find new customers for its document-handling products.

Malibu REIT Files for Offering of $1.2 Billion

Malibu REIT American Homes 4 Rent projected to raise $1.2 billion.

Hot Times For Cold Treat

Yogurt chain Menchie’s continues to pile on franchise locations.

Menchie’s pours it on as the frozen yogurt chain maintains an aggressive expansion pace.

Ex-Football Player Looks to Fashion New Career

CLOTHING: Full lifestyle brand would be big score for Shawne Merriman.

After retiring from the National Football League last spring, former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is making moves in a decidedly different field.

Robbins Bros. Rings Up Purchase of Washington Stores

Jewelry retailer Robbins Bros. announced Wednesday that it has purchased E.E. Robbins, Washington jewelry stores with a family tie.

Grounds For Growth

Supreme Bean takes chilled, bottled coffee to supermarket chain.

Supreme Bean hopes its glass act plays with customers as its bottled brew hits Whole Foods shelves.

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Step by Step

APPAREL: Isack Fadlon wants to see if Sportie L.A.’s new clothing and accessories line has legs before stepping back into footwear.

Shoe vendor Isack Fadlon sees launching a clothing line as a crucial step before creating footwear.

Heating Up The Icing

Coffee Bean whips up birthday cake-flavored drink for anniversary.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf treats customers with birthday cake-flavored drink to mark 50th anniversary.

Unwelcome Mat Greets Homeowners Rate Hike

INSURANCE: Mercury Casualty loses petition to halt premium reduction.

Judge’s ruling damages Mercury Casualty’s bid to raise homeowners premiums.

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Read Their Lips

Kiss duo helps tune up eatery chain

Kiss members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons say their Rock & Brews restaurant project has the right makeup.

Tariff Punches Holes in Jeans

APPAREL: Denim makers may shift work out of L.A.

Jeans makers look to stitch together financial strategy after European Union triples tariff on denim pants.

In Search Of Promotion

Korean food company cues up pop star for chef-audition contest.

Korean restaurant chain Bibigo tunes up promotional campaign with “Gangnam Style” singer Psy.

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Asian Accents

TOURISM: Hotels and shops offer cultural comforts to serve wave of Chinese visitors.

L.A.-area businesses look to add services that speak to a rising tide of Chinese visitors.

Towering Achievement In New York

Design firm tackles tourism project at new World Trade Center.

Design firm Hettema hits new heights with observation deck project for the new World Trade Center.

Redondo Beach Moves to Shore Up Hotel Options

HOSPITALITY: Hilton and Marriott projects to add 319 total rooms to city.

Springtime in Redondo Beach has brought new life to the hotel industry in the beachside city.

HOLLYWOOD: Sky’s the Limit on Development After Height Restrictions Lifted

Real Estate Quarterly

The first quarter vacancy rate in Hollywood rose to its highest level in a year, though it remained the lowest in all of Los Angeles County.

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Farmed Out

Fresh produce service feeds restaurants’ buy-local urges

Dan Chak looks to plant himself as a go-between for produce producers and the increasing number of restaurants looking to buy local.

Hoping Every Dog Has Its Day

Pet food maker turns to crowdfunding to feed her business.

J.J. Israel hopes she’s not barking up the wrong tree by trying to crowdfund her doggie treats business.

Long Beach Hyatt Hotel Employees Elect Union

Employees at two Hyatt hotels in Long Beach, the 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach and the 138-room Pike Long Beach, said Monday they had voted to be represented by Unite Here Local 11.

Producer Looks to Deck Out Card Game as Show

TV: Gurin Co. sees Uno as nightly or weekly program with hefty cash prizes.

Producer Gurin Co. believes kids’ card game Uno has enough draw to make it as a game show.

Heavyweight Competitor Puffs Up Cloud Storage

ONLINE: Gobbler greets Sony subsidiary as virtual boost for business sector.

Gobbler, a Hollywood cloud company, is unfazed by the prospect of competition from giant Sony.

Case by Case

Allure of building his own coffee business spurred Mel Elias to give up his law practice.

Former lawyer Mel Elias now keeps business brewing as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s chief executive.

Bagging On Consumer Culture

Thursday Friday line features images of high-price handbags.

Style is only skin deep for Thursday Friday’s canvas totes bearing images of designer handbags.

Hollywood Farmers’ Market Racks Up Spice Alley

FOOD: Operator of weekly event sees new merchants as natural ingredients.

Shoppers who frequent the Hollywood Farmers’ Market on Sundays will soon have the option to brighten up their fresh haul of fruits and veggies.

Truck Fan Wheels In Career

Matthew Perlman gets in gear to restore, sell Defenders as business.

His love for Land Rover Defenders drove Matthew Perlman into restoring and selling the trucks.

Sagging Jeans Maker Sees Cracks in Year Ahead

APPAREL: Guess’ gloomy outlook spurs analysts to lower target stock price.

Guess shares fall as jeans maker struggles to fashion a comeback.

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Room Service

Hotelier now puts focus on management

Setbacks during the recession led hotel developer Avi Brosh to check into property management.

Boutique Hotel Finds Room in Redondo Beach

HOSPITALITY: Developer Zislis Group gets OK to begin work at waterfront.

A makeover of the outdated Redondo Beach waterfront that began last month with a ceremonial ground-breaking for a new hotel is gaining momentum.

Factoring Spreads From Its Traditional Industries

Temp agencies and trucking companies are among the businesses fueling factoring’s growth.

Eatery Growth Leads to South

DINING: Cheesecake Factory adds Latin America to menu.

Cheesecake Factory looks to follow up its Mideast expansion by dishing out licensed locations in Latin America.

Judge Demands Forever 21 Supply Chain Information

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that a judge ordered downtown L.A. retailer Forever 21 Inc. to release supply chain information that the apparel company refused to disclose after the federal agency demanded it last summer.

Guess Shares Fall on News of President’s Departure

Shares of L.A. jeans company Guess Inc. fell Tuesday after news that Nancy Shachtman, the retailer’s president of North America, has left the company.

Denim Company Leaves Future of CEO Wide Open

APPAREL: True Religion lets contract of its founder expire amid plans for sale.

Jeans maker True Religion hasn’t quite sewn up the future employment status of founder Jeff Lubell.

Clothing Maker Moves Needle With Online Sales

FASHION: Improved sector takes on bigger role for American Apparel.

American Apparel is fashioning online sales into a bigger part of its growth plan.

NFL Rejects AEG Plan, Yahoo Reports

The National Football League has lost interest in the current plan to bring a team to downtown Los Angeles, Yahoo Sports reports.

True Religion Boots Founder

Vernon jeans maker True Religion Apparel Inc. will not renew its employment agreement with Jeff Lubell, the company’s founder, chief executive, chairman and creative director.

Juice Shops Now Come With Side of Vegetables

FITNESS: Robeks, Jamba among chains looking to fatten up offerings.

Restaurants and shops offering more pressed vegetable juices and leafy green smoothies have been sprouting up all over Los Angeles.

Toymaker Looks to Make Play to Increase Sales

MANUFACTURING: Jakks pins hopes on licensing deals, interactive products.

Toymaker Jakks hopes to get a handle on higher sales with interactive products and action figures.

Burger Chain Hopes for Fuller Plate

DINING: Umami looks to feed growth with equity investment.

Umami will tap a recent $20 million equity investment to feed the burger chain’s expansion plan.

Cheesecake Sales Fall Due to Sandy

Shares for Cheesecake Factory Inc. closed down 1 percent Wednesday after the casual dining chain reported that sales fell in the fourth quarter due to superstorm Sandy.

Beverly Hills Hotel Checks In With Touch of India

HOSPITALITY: Co-owners reposition boutique Sirtaj with kitchen and bar.

A small Beverly Hills hotel, once a 1920s boardinghouse, reopened last week with a new name and image after three years of renovations.

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Farther, Wider

FOOD: Nutrition bar firm ThinkThin adds outlets while mulling new items.

Nutrition bar maker ThinkThin looks to expand by adding retail distributors and branching into new sectors.

Positive Road Conditions

Regus Group says traffic drives interest in its flex office space.

Traffic might be creating in-roads for flexible office space in Los Angeles.

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Stretching Out

APPAREL: Joe’s Jeans looks to pocket more retail revenue with strategy to launch additional stores.

Joe’s Jeans is fashioning a stock surge with help from its retail store strategy

Valentine Treats Not Sugarcoated

Sugarfina offers up bittersweet labels for jokey candy kits.

Sweets maker Sugarfina unwraps tartly named treats for Valentine’s Day such as Men Are Pigs.