Veteran caterer Brenda Barrett is going into the restaurant business, opening Asante Fresh Express cafe in a cozy space in front of her commercial kitchen on Power Inn Road in Sacramento.
Barrett said that while the cafe likely will serve mostly individual diners, it actually will allow her Asante Catering business to offer an additional service to corporate clients.
“One of the demands we saw from doing social events on the UC Davis campus and with some of our other clients is that there is such a need for having just simple beer and wine packages,” Barrett said. “They want that off their plate. That way, they don’t have to go to BevMo or wherever, purchase the alcohol, figure out what to get and how much to get.”
When the Asante team looked into what it would take to offer alcohol, they discovered the license had to be attached to an eatery or a bar. She wasn’t interested in the bar business, but she liked the idea of offering neighbors over in the Power Inn area some healthier dining options.
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“Because we’ve been established for so many years, we do have loyal, valued clients who love to order with us,” Barrett said. “They’ll say, ‘We love your creamy dill dressing. Is there anywhere we could come pick that up?’ or ‘Oh my gosh, those grilled vegetables are amazing. I’m doing an event at my house, and I would love to come pick some up.’”
Barrett is hoping to open Asante Fresh Express on March 1. …
Cleaning up? Chris Wilson has expanded the size of his Love Laundry empire in the last few months, opening a a laundry facility in south Sacramento in October and one in Davis just a couple of weeks ago.
“I’ve looked at south Sacramento for about 2 1/2 years because, from a laundry standpoint, it’s very underserved. There’s a huge renter population there, and there are some laundromats, but they really have antiquated equipment. … They’re small, unattended stores, places where women aren’t really comfortable taking their children.”
Wilson moved into a building that used to be an F&M Bank branch, and he invested $2 million to renovate the facility and install new equipment. The 5,000-square-foot space, at 7272 Franklin Blvd., includes a kids room, so parents can keep an eye on their children while they do homework or play games.
When this columnist wrote about Wilson in January 2014, he had recently opened Love Laundry at 2431 K St. in midtown Sacramento. His first laundry facility is at 2907 W. Capitol Ave. He also has added two others in Southern California.
The Davis laundry, at 1776 E. Eighth St., is about 2,000 square feet. Wilson invested about $1 million to renovate and equip the site. ….
The right track: For the third year in a row, U.S. Bank awarded $75,000 to College Track Sacramento. The nonprofit focuses on helping low-income students achieve a college degree.
“The funding is going to our program operations,” said Nikki Wardlaw, director of development and partnerships at College Track Sacramento. “Every year, we welcome a new cohort of students, and so our program continues to grow every year.”
With the help of educators, College Track identifies eighth-grade students who have the potential to succeed in college if they receive enough mentoring and academic support. The summer before the students enter ninth grade, College Track begins showing students and their families how to remove barriers to college, nurture leadership skills and identify financial aid.
The Sacramento program, at 2450 Alhambra Blvd., now serves 140 students in ninth through 11th grade.
Nathan Cox, a senior vice president and market manager at U.S. Bank, told me: “We are impressed that College Track has been able to expand its offerings to more students and that high school students are achieving higher grades and enrolling in more AP and honors classes.”