Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Farrell's Ice Cream returns to Sacramento, site of horrific 1972 crash

Published: Saturday, Jun. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 - 9:57 am

The Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour brand is returning to the Sacramento region, 40 years after an airplane careened off a runway at Sacramento Executive Airport and killed 22 people at a Farrell's off Freeport Boulevard.

"We're hoping to open in mid-July if all continues to go well," said Mike Fleming, whose company Parlour Enterprises acquired the license and trademark from Marriott back in 2000. He has five locations in Southern California. Sacramento will be the first location in NorCal.

Sacramento was among the top five locations requested by many of Parlour's 250,000-plus Facebook fans, Fleming said. Executives studied the region for three years before they felt the time was right.

It's not Fleming's first time in Sacramento. He attended the dedication of a memorial marking the site of the accident in 2003, and Parlour contributed about $2,000 toward its construction. Parlour's entire executive team attended the 40th anniversary memorial service here last year.

"Out of that horrible day, some great things have actually been accomplished," Fleming said. "One of them is the creation of the Firefighters Burn Institute. … Part of the reason that many of those that were injured in the crash didn't survive was because there wasn't a burn facility in Sacramento."

Each Farrell's contributes to different nonprofits, Fleming said, and the restaurant coming to 1625 Watt Ave., former home of Black Angus, is partnering with the burn institute. He said $100,000 should be raised in the first year.

Fleming said a number of survivors, family members and firefighters welcomed the return of Farrell's. Lynn Mehren does not.

She lost her 8-year-old daughter, Nancy Rodriguez, in the accident, and she's dreading the day when she drives by the new Farrell's. It is across from Arden Middle School, where the 72-year-old Mehren took classes as a girl.

"We just feel that if they were going to open there, it would actually behoove them to come in with a different name," Mehren said.

In the 40 years since the accident, Mehren said, her ex-husband Doug Rodriguez has not been able to drive past the site. She knows Farrell's isn't to blame. She faults the pilot and city zoning that allowed businesses so close to a runway.

Cheers, Steve and Glynn

Give Steve Swinford and Glynn Phillips a couple of cold ones.

The two beer industry veterans took on raising the profile of the brewing competitions at the California State Fair – and far surpassed expectations.

"They've blown the lid off of both the home brew and the commercial craft brew contests," said Greg Kinder, deputy manager at the State Fair. "Entries in the home brew category grew by five times, and (there are) four times the number of brewers."

"… As for commercial, we had 60 breweries last year. We're looking at the mid-80s right now."

Swinford is executive director of the Northern California Brewers Guild; Phillips owns Rubicon Brewing Co. They enlisted Tom Dalldorf, founder and publisher of Nevada City-based Celebrator Beer News brewspaper, and grand master beer judge David Teckam to be chief judges. But basically, Kinder said, they've engaged the entire industry.

A power serve by Steers

Lanie Steers, founder and chief executive of Rancho Cordova-based Freight Solutions Providers, isn't sponsoring the Gold River Challenger women's pro tournament to the tune of $50,000 because she hopes to impress her clients.

Steers' biggest accounts are with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NEC and Dell Computers, and their decision makers are far removed from the Sacramento region.

Steers is sponsoring the contest because tennis gave her new vigor and helped her burn off the stress of building a multimillion-dollar company.

"You can imagine how stressed my life is every single day, but tennis is a way for me to escape," she told me. "… I probably put in about 12 hours on tennis every week. That should tell you how addicted I am."

The tournament will be June 29 to July 6 at the Gold River Racquet Club, 2201 Gold Rush Drive, in Gold River.

Steers, a native of the Philippines, immigrated to the United States at 17. She learned the logistics business on the job and saw customers often wanted more flexibility than her employer's rigid pickup and delivery schedule allowed. She and husband Ken Steers pooled their credit cards lines totaling $5,000 to get going in 1989.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, Follow him on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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