Savory banh mi, acupuncturists, bean curd paste, colorful saris, carne for roasting all can be found in Terrence Johnson's Stockton Boulevard business district.
Yet virtually all of the 4.5-mile stretch that he knows so well disappeared when he looked at a map showing Internet access in south Sacramento.
"A significant pocket ... did not have access to the Internet," he said, "and then you look closer at that pocket and right down the middle of it is Stockton Boulevard."
Far too many businesses from Second Avenue to 65th Street are missing out on online commerce and marketing, Johnson said.
"When somebody does a search on Asian restaurants, for instance, Stockton Boulevard should light up Facebook," Johnson said. "That's free marketing."
So, the board of the Stockton Boulevard Partnership sponsored a regional social media seminar, drawing 400 participants, but Johnson felt something wasn't translating.
He hired Larry Guerrero, who learned his way around computers at Kaplan College, to train business owners how to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube. Guerrero started small clinics and soon understood the issue as some participants asked, "What's Facebook?"
"A lot of businesses ... don't have a presence on social media," Guerrero said. "We help them get out there. Then there are businesses that have a page or a Twitter account, but they don't know how to utilize it, so what we've done is to help them get it up and going, get it all refreshed and keep it that way."
When Frank and Gloria Louie of Louie's Restaurant started working with Guerrero, they had 34 "likes" or connections on Facebook. Now they have 131 and potential exposure to friends of all those people.
Never let it be said, though, that the Stockton Boulevard Partnership is more high-tech than high-touch. Today from 1-5 p.m., they'll make friends face-to-face at the Old Hwy 99 Festival at 4995 Stockton Blvd. If you run into Guerrero or the Louies, ask how Facebook can get you a discount at the restaurant.
It's 30 and out for Limn
Over 30 years, Sacramento native Dan Friedlander made quite a name for himself in furniture design with his Limn store. So what is he doing since he shut down Limn in the Bay Area in December?
Many people think he moved to Auckland, New Zealand, where he and his wife, Kazuyo, opened Pine Valley Bed and Breakfast four years ago, Friedlander said, but he's in the Bay Area 60 percent of the year.
He continues to operate the Ligne Roset furniture store at 162 King St. in San Francisco, and he's celebrating 10 years in that spot with a nod to the vibrant bar scene nearby. For four weeks, Ligne Roset transforms into a full-service bar with a jazz band and maitre d' from 7-11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
Other projects include a furniture line that will be made and sold in New Zealand and selection of furniture and accessories for a major museum looking to compete with online collections at the modern art museums in San Francisco and New York.
And, of course, the Encina High School grad still has a stake in the neighborhood near Arden Way and Del Paso Boulevard with Greens Hotel, the former Limn building, and other properties.
Why close Limn?
"Everything changed for companies like Limn after 9/11," he said. "That's when the values of our shoppers started to be reflected in a different kind of purchasing. ... Things that had been exclusive became findable internationally on the Web, so if someone wanted to save money, they used us as sort of a museum or gallery to walk through, and they could find somebody somewhere that would sell it to them cheaper."