Published June 9th, 2010
business briefs
Mike Lawrence at the Rheem Center CVS store Photo Sohie Braccini

Cake Passion, Turned Tiny
Renie Gannett must have felt that she did not have enough to do raising three boys, so she decided to start her own business. A former science teacher at Los Perales Elementary in Moraga, Gannett started taking cooking classes and one day discovered cake balls, or cake truffles: small cakes that are bite-sized, come in all kinds of flavors and are presented with charming decorations. "It struck a cord in me," says Gannett, "and I decided to start a business with it." She started in her own kitchen, experimenting and using her boys and neighbors as taste-testers. "They have to be absolutely honest with me," she says, "that's how I progress." The cakes are a combination of cake and frosting, rolled in a melted chocolate coating. Each cake truffle is made by hand from scratch. The sweet treats come in a variety of flavors. Gannett started without a business plan and wants to see where it will take her. "I have had orders as large as 500 pieces for a church fund-raiser," she said, "and I think I would like to expand." To see what a cake ball looks like and find further information, go to www.tinytreatsbakery.com.

Mike Lawrence Named
Moraga's Business Person of the Year

"I just do my job," said the CVS manager in Moraga, who was surprised to have been nominated. Lawrence may work for a corporation, but places a priority on being part of the community. "I've been asked if I wanted to move, but I refused," he said. He has managing Moraga's two CVS (formerly Longs) stores since 2007. He joined the Chamber of Commerce and for the past year has been its Recording Secretary; he then joined the Kiwanis Club of Moraga Valley. The transition from Longs to CVS has been a bit rough for him and his team. "Transition is a work in progress," he says, "it's going to be a year and we are continuing to improve our selection." He promises that the office supply department will be brought up to par very soon. "I've been able to keep our local produce and many of our natural products," he says, "I listen to the customers and we do our best." Lawrence can always be seen in the store, working or talking to customers. "The Business Person of the year was elected by the Chamber members," says President Edy Schwartz. "Mike joined the Chamber as soon as he arrived in town, he has championed major sponsorships from CVS for the Moraga Community Faire and has donated often to the local schools and organizations. Last year he and his CVS employees were instrumental in encouraging other storeowners to participate in the Season of Light, a day for Moraga citizens to Shop Moraga First for the December holidays. This past month Mike was the driving force in having the Town Council and Town Manager meet Chamber members at the May Chamber of Commerce meeting. No one deserves this recognition more than he."

Rheem Valley Pet Shoppe Likely to Close

"If Kimco does not come back with a better offer, I will close the store by the end of the month," said Jorge Quintero, owner of the Rheem Valley Pet Shoppe and the Lafayette Pet Shoppe. Quintero, who opened the store 18 years ago, claims that his store has been losing ground for the past two years and that he needs to make drastic changes in order to survive. The lease on the Moraga store expired in January and he does not want to make a new three-year commitment to the property owner. "The maintenance costs have been multiplied by three," he said, "every time Kimco does work at the shopping center they pass the cost to us, the small store owners." Quintero will continue to operate his Lafayette store (3517 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 284-5212), which will become home to the small animals in the Rheem shop's window that have fascinated Moraga's children for years. He hopes to keep the business name and start a delivery service for his Moraga customers.

News from the three Chambers of Commerce
- Green Committee Open Meeting on June 16th at noon in the
Chamber meeting room.
- Entrepreneur's Club at Fuz Restaurant, 3707 Mt. Diablo Blvd, on
June 17th from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Ribbon Cutting at Fuz Restaurant, 3707 Mt. Diablo Blvd, on June
17th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Ribbon Cutting at Risk Concepts Insurance Brokers, Inc., 3732 Mt.
Diablo Blvd., Suite 375, on June 24th from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Moraga Business Person of the Year dinner at Terzetto Cuisine
from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Appetizers, wine and dinner sponsored
by Mechanics Bank. Members and invited guests only. RSVP by
June 21st to Yelena Mucovich, globalsecuritysystems@juno.com.
- Chamber After Hours Mixer, Hosts: Breedlove Insurance & Orinda
Chiropractic Center, Thursday - June 10th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00
p.m., 89 Moraga Way, Orinda.


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