Cathie Anderson: Placerville gelato maker moving to El Dorado Town Center in January

Placerville will say “ciao” to Zia’s on Dec. 31 as owner Shari Coia Fulton makes a move that will allow her to expand into wholesale distribution of her artisanal gelatos.

Coia Fulton, who owns the business with her husband, Tom Fulton, will reopen her shop a few miles down the hill at El Dorado Town Center somewhere between Jan. 7 and Jan. 10. She said she chose the location because it has the small-town feel that she so loved in Placerville.

“We were able to rebuild the kitchen to our specifications,” Coia Fulton said, “and that will allow us to wholesale our gelato. ... That would give us the ability to sell to other restaurants or other coffee shops or package it to sell to other retailers. In our current location, we can’t.”

At Zia’s, Coia Fulton and her staff make waffle cones and virtually everything else from scratch. Her persimmon gelato gets its fruit from Five Strings Farms in Placerville, her mandarin orange fruit comes from Graham’s Pear Shed on Cold Springs Road and her pistachios come from Fiddyment Farms in Lincoln. Coia Fulton and her husband lived for several years in Italy, the land of espressos and cappuccinos, and they also serve coffee.

“We honestly take equal pride in our coffee drinks as we do in gelato,” Coia Fulton told me. “Our coffee is done by a roaster in Seattle called Caffe D’arte, and they’ve been up there 30 years. The owner is Italian. ... All their beans are roasted very much in the traditional Italian style, and we do everything manually. Our baristas go through a lot of training. ... We have a lot of Italians who come through here on vacation, and we’ve literally had people start crying or start kissing us because it’s a legitimate espresso.”

Coia Fulton’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy, and she grew up in Ravenna, Ohio, a town named after the city and province in Italy. The word ‘zia’ means “aunt” in Italian, and it’s how she addresses her aunts and how her nieces now address her. Until year-end, Zia’s will be open at 312 Main St., No. 101, in historic downtown Placerville.

Farewell, Art Ellis

Everything must go at Art Ellis Supply as Jim and Sharon Tanovitz retire and close up the 65-year-old art supply business at 2508 J St. in Sacramento.

Before you panic, Sharon Tanovitz will still be teaching the craft of bookbinding through the Learning Exchange. Examples of her paper treasures were displayed and sold at Art Ellis for years. The couple still have some art supplies and a number of fixtures that they hope to sell off by year’s end. Jim Tanovitz started working at the art supply store while he was in college, and he purchased it from the original owners, Art and Bama Ellis.

“I’ve been here 47 of those 65 years that the store has been here,” Jim Tanovitz said. “I went to college, taking art classes while I was working here, and I received my A.A., B.A. and master’s degrees between Sacramento City and Sacramento State.”

Tanovitz said the economic downturn made it tougher to do business and played a role in the decision to bow out now.

“Anybody in the art and craft business is really operating a luxury business, for people who have leisure time to do things,” he said, “and if they’re afraid of their jobs or the future of their work, they’re not likely to spend much in those areas.”

BevMo on the move

The leaders of the BevMo retail chain know they have a ready consumer market in midtown Sacramento, and that drove their desire to open a store at 1700 J St. in midtown Sacramento.

“We have stores right now in Elk Grove, Folsom, two in Roseville, one in Natomas and one on Arden ... and we know where our customers come from because they belong to what’s called Club Bev,” said Greg Endom, BevMo’s senior vice president of real estate. “It’s a loyalty card membership program that is of no cost to them, so we know from a ZIP code standpoint the amount of people that live in midtown that are driving to those ... stores, and it’s sizable. And it really points out the fact that we’re not convenient to this part of the city, so we’ve been looking for a long time for the right location in the central part of the city.”

Endom hopes to open the midtown store by late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2014. The City Planning Commission will consider BevMo’s permit in a public hearing that begins at 5:30 p.m. today, and city staff is recommending that it be approved. Endom said he’s met with and answered questions from several neighborhood and merchant associations, but he wouldn’t be surprised to hear from opponents who are philosophically opposed to alcohol sales.

Some residents also have voiced concerns that midtown will lose its individuality as chain stores move into the core. The Beat music store, which closed in June, had been at the 1700 J St. site for nearly 20 years.

Endom has assured city planners that BevMo will maintain the character of the current building inside and out, and he is working with local artist Gina Rossi on creating street art that can function as bike racks for the store. The midtown store will be BevMo’s seventh location in the Sacramento region. The retailer operates 130 stores in California, 10 in Arizona and 10 in Washington state.