Feb 17, 2012

Ciara's Irish Shop

Nestled in Old Town is Ciara’s Irish Shop, located at Second and E Streets.

The business is a destination spot for customers from all over the U.S. Opened in 1978,the original store carried primarily hand-knit Irish Fisherman sweaters. Eventually, other merchandise which included kilts, cashmere and wool capes and other clothing, food items and small souvenirs was available and this made it almost exclusively an Irish shop.  Over time, select merchandise from other countries was added, including Geiger of Austria (boiled wool coats and jackets with matching accessories) and unusual items from Australia (possum sweaters and scarves) plus fine wool blankets from England and Scotland, and other items from Wales, Denmark, and Canada.

In 2004, the store’s General Manager CC O’ Brien Cree bought the business and renamed it Ciara’s Irish Shop. Ciara is CC’s youngest daughter’s middle name. CC further enhanced the store’s selection by including high quality clothing from around the world. This includes  merchandise  from St. James from France, Magashoni of Italy, and Dale of Norway.  Ciara’s Irish Shop is now nationally regarded as the premier source for exquisite men’s and women’s clothing, finest quality blankets, throws, accessories, including Solvar jewelry, Heathergems (beautiful and unusual brooches, earrings, and other items made from the stems of heather) as well as fine fragrances. Ciara’s is also the place to find highest quality Irish teas, Scottish shortbread, small linens such as linen handkerchiefs, and other select gift items.

CC ventured into being a local business owner because she loved what she was doing and her family background included running a business.” My dad was self employed most of my life and I was trained by my parents to run businesses so this was natural for me.”

CC feels one of the challenges of owning a business in today's economy, especially in Humboldt, is trying to keep the locals shopping here while still having a solid tourist business.  CC deals with this by “molding my business to serve the local community and to give as much back to the community as I can.  It has been a tough economic atmosphere for the last 3 1/2 to 4 years but  I always keep quality my number one priority in the shop”. 

CC has made many lifelong friends through the shop.  She moved here from Willows, California in 1987. “ I do believe I have some of the most wonderful customers and feel very blessed to have decided to move to, settle, raise my family here Humboldt County”.

CC is involved with Humboldt Sponsors and  Rotary and is a member of "the Ladies of Second Street". The ladies are all Old Town business owners. They donate 5% of all their sales for the first week of December to local charities. CC donates regularly to churches, schools, organizations and a variety of local causes because she believes in giving back to the community.

From more information, call (707) 443-0102 or email irishshopeureka@msn.com and also check out the store’s Facebook page.

Feb 15, 2012

Bella Baskets : Home to the Humbolicious

Bella Baskets is a Veteran and locally owned business in Old Town Eureka which is Home to the Humbolicious™, a unique and specially designed gourmet gift basket consisting of locally made gourmet foods and locally roasted coffees from Humboldt County. All the baskets are designed and customized to the customer’s needs and you can request to add something special or unique to your basket.

Owners Mark and Laurie Sanchez purchased Bella Baskets in April 2008. This was a business that had already been in existence. They wanted an opportunity to have a locally owned business and storefront in Old Town Eureka. Mark explained that “buying an established business gave us a good foundation to build and expand upon.”
Bella Baskets offers one of Humboldt County’s largest selection of locally made gourmet foods which are featured in the Humbolicious™ gourmet gift baskets. All the baskets are able to be packed and be shipped worldwide.
About 90% of the store inventory is local products and Bella Baskets does business with 2 local distributors and about 25 local and independent Vendors.
According to Laurie, Bella Baskets has created a solid customer base both with internet and returning customers. “Our goal and part of our business plan is to provide the best in quality and convenience and to have great values and helpful customer service. We have to be adjustable to the customer’s needs in today’s economy to be profitable and successful.”
Both Laurie and Mark feel that the challenges local businesses face in Humboldt County differ from business to business. “Tourists are a big part of business but the local community is the bread and butter of our economy here in Humboldt County,” said Mark. At Bella Baskets, we focus on supporting our local community as much as possible,” added Laurie. “90% of our store inventory is bought locally; we support the local food vendors; and 68 cents on the dollar is spent on local products we use is kept here in Humboldt County.”
In March 2011, Bella Baskets had an opportunity to move to their new store location at 311 E Street in Old Town. Although there is a risk when you move your business and how you manage getting the word out to your customer base, Laurie and Mark are pleased that the business has retained loyal and repeat customers and attracted new ones within a short period of time.
Bella Baskets also gives back to the community on an annual basis by donating gift baskets. Since Mark and Laurie bought the store four years ago, Bella Baskets has donated about $16,000 to kids and sports groups ,school fundraisers, Veterans groups, Relay for Life, public television , Boys and Girls clubs and other special needs groups and community events. 

Time to listen to the actual 99 percent
John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted:   02/15/2012 02:27:11 AM PST

Occupy Eureka, despite at least three My Words from different people, and at least 100 people or so who have attempted to peacefully communicate with you, the tactics you are using to get your message are disrespectful and deceitful, and you are manipulating the Brown Act and the generosity of an open community.
Less than a handful of protesters are there most of the time, so having a couple hundred show up at counter protests or having more than five people at peak hours waving signs, is not speaking for the 99 percent.
I have put my personal feelings aside and have attempted to get to know your group.
Ordinances take time. This has gone on far too long, and public officials need to do more than pacify and meet with Occupy Eureka.
Some protesters are a threat to public health and safety. It is a waste of time to arrest and try and prosecute them. As an EPD dispatcher informed me, “People have a right to protest and cannot be arrested for that. Even those that are a public nuisance get out in five hours.” There is no room in the jail for non-violent offenders. So does someone need to get assaulted or raped before public officials will stop being politically correct and send them a serious message?
I am unable to attend Board of Supervisors and City Council meetings because of work.
Despite several people pointing out the tactics of Occupy Eureka, despite my efforts to amicably talk to the two main organizers, certain people have held us hostage for months. They have a right to protest. What they don't have a right to do is trash public and private property. In addition to what they have done to the courthouse property, they trash nearby private property and office complexes. Many of them block people like me from walking to the courthouse. Walking near the courthouse is a problem; the noise day and night is not conducive to area businesses. I walk, I don't have a choice to avoid these people; some of whom have taken to verbally harassing me, particularly after I approached one guy who I watched for months go up and harass and approach women and be sexually lewd.
If any other citizen was smoking pot and was drunk and loitering, they would be prosecuted. Many of these people hang around Old Town, and now they have a new spot. There are domestic disputes caused by some of these people. The police have been out here, often daily, and this is a waste of their time. When they are dealing with Occupy Eureka, how is this affecting response to more serious crimes?
With all the men in the area and all the law enforcement, why is this guy still here day after day harassing women? He is not mentally ill. I told him because I have seen him be sane when he isn't playing for the crowd. His fellow protesters were silent.
Now they have moved from the courthouse steps to congregating around the traffic light on 5th and depending on who is protesting, it is difficult for people to walk through. I am frustrated with the kid glove treatment these protesters are getting. And to any of the officials and people that sympathize with them, you don't have to deal with them. You feel so strongly about their plight, take one of them home with you, live with them for a week or a month and then get back to me.
They lost their right to protest when they decided to disrespect the rest of us.
These are not all the protesters, but the people causing the problems use Occupy Eureka as an excuse. If Occupy Eureka wants presence 24-7, they need to stop blocking access, have someone there to monitor their crew, stop the harassment and sexual harassment of women and they need to keep the noise down.
It's time to listen to the actual 99 percent.