Michael Sampino could have used a crystal ball when he, his wife, Gabriela Fabbri, and his father, Bill Sampino, opened their deli and gourmet meat market at 1607 F St. in Boulevard Park.
He points to a window that once opened up to the business next door.
"Thirteen years ago, I painted over it, never thinking we'd be there," he told me, pointing to the adjacent space.
The Sampinos are now expanding. As my colleague Allen Pierleoni reported Wednesday on The Bee's Appetizers blog, Fabbri plans to open an authentic Mexican takeout restaurant in the space on Sept. 1. She's calling it Sampino's Comida de Pueblo, which means Sampino's Town Food in English.
Mike Sampino said the restaurant allows his wife, who is half-Spanish and half-Italian, to indulge her Spanish side. He, meanwhile, is glad to get the extra kitchen space because it will accommodate more volume at the deli.
However, he had to dress up that partition.
"To make the best of a poor situation, I bricked it," he said. "I sat out there with 336 bricks two nights ago on the curb and cut every brick."
Outtasight, rocket man
Let Shyama Chakroborty take you back to the Indian subcontinent in 1969 when millions of people turned out to cheer Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins as they toured the globe after their July 20 moon landing.
"They were like people from another planet," Chakroborty recalled. "They'd landed on the moon. I still have a black-and-white photo I will show you, and I was trying to touch those Apollo astronauts as part of the millions on the street. I think I was a junior or sophomore in college."
Nearly 45 years have come and gone, and Chakroborty has many other photos. He's standing by a U.S. flag he planted at the North Pole. He's all bundled up at the base camp on Mount Everest. You see only his back and swim cap, as he makes his away across the English Channel. He's sitting at the controls of the duplicate Mir station in Russia during a break from cosmonaut training.
His home in the Folsom hills has many mementos from his work on space projects and weapons systems. He's even a member of the National Academy of Sciences, advising the president and congressional leaders on scientific matters. In October, he'll add another accolade, this one from the college where he received his master's in mechanical engineering. Ohio State University's alumni association is awarding Chakroborty its Professional Achievement Award in recognition of his career achievements, professional impact, significant research and community service.
Best of all, though, Chakroborty has a personal postscript to that day in late October 1969 when a trio of Americans landed in the city of Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh. Years later, Chakroborty had risen to become chief engineer of Northrop Grumman's space unit when the man he respectfully calls "Dr. Aldrin" came seeking business.
After they finished business, Chakroborty reminded Aldrin of the reception he received in Dhaka and confided that he had been among those closing round the Apollo astronauts. Aldrin replied: "Yeah, that city got kind of crazy because everybody was trying to touch us and security became an issue."
Makeover up for grabs
Nine local marketing companies are offering local businesses a shot at a marketing makeover valued at more than $50,000.
Sure, it's a marketing gimmick that managed to get some ink at least in this column but it wouldn't be buzz-worthy if the firms weren't successful at their trade. The companies include Barcellona Inc., advertising agency Carter/Sartain, copywriting service Communic8or and graphic design company Design Cubed.
Mike Lee, one of the developers behind the master-planned Twelve Bridges community in Lincoln, recalled how Rochelle Barcellona helped him orchestrate a successful campaign for the property in the mid-1990s. "They took a lot of photos and put together an advertising and marketing plan that probably put us on the map," he said.
Barcellona created an on-site information center, put on functions that caught media interest and correctly presented the vision for the project. Her work, Lee said, helped him to recruit the LPGA Tour, sell Del Webb on buying 2,000 acres and win master planned community of the year.
Businesses must apply for the marketing makeover by Aug. 30. Get started at marketingmakeover.net.