• Business Profiles

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  • Health Has A New Face At
    Bear Valley Wellness Center

    June 22, 2018, Big Bear City, Calif. – Sometimes business paths are chosen, but other times they are chosen for us. That was the case for Windy Sirignano, owner of the new Bear Valley Wellness Center in Big Bear City, Calif. The shop celebrates its official grand opening Friday and Saturday, July 13-14, 2018.

    Sirignano didn’t find her passion for wellness right away. As a matter of fact, she worked as a well-paid direct sales and marketing executive for a successful tool company, which she took over for her mother who had fallen ill with cancer. “But it was so unfulfilling,” Sirignano said.

    Sirignano began researching the benefit of more holistic approaches for treating cancer including the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, desperately trying to find relief for her mother. Sadly, her mother succumbed due to the harsh treatments she was receiving to deplete the disease. It was then that Sirignano’s path became clear.

    The planning process for a new holistic wellness center began more than two years ago, and when the right location became available, Sirignano took the leap. On Jan. 1, 2018, she opened her doors informally and started feeling out her clientele. “I wanted to gain acceptance from the community,” she said. “I’m driven by their needs. I want to be the conduit to help people find their own path to holistic wellness through CBD and other natural products.”

    CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid compound that studies have shown has therapeutic potential for a variety of disorders including, but not limited to, chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, antibiotic-resistant infections and some neurological ailments. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasm, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral and neuroprotective properties, and activates serotonin receptors, which can have an antidepressant effect. In addition, the use of CBD is completely legal and safe.

    At Bear Valley Wellness Center, Sirignano prides herself in selecting only products that are third-party tested, non-GMO, organic and from certified pharmacologists. “Many products out there are not authentic,” she said. “There are no laws in place to prevent anyone from just putting a fake CBD label on a product, even when it isn’t. You won’t find that here.”

    There are no stupid questions at Bear Valley Wellness, either. Sirignano attends droves of seminars and conventions annually to stay on the forefront of cutting-edge holistic care and passes her knowledge on to her customers with individual consultations. “This is not cookie-cutter,” she said. “Everyone has unique needs, so I need to be the resource center.”

    While she affirms she is not a replacement for a physician, she does encourage a holistic approach wherever possible. From sublingual oils to vaporizers and topical ointments to beauty products, everything found on the shelves is made from simple, clean ingredients, and are all tested and proved by staff and clients alike. Event pets benefit. “Quality is guaranteed,” Sirignano said.

    The public is invited to visit the shop during its July 13-14 grand opening weekend. On Friday, there is a special evening event featuring a ribbon cutting, food and beverages, free samples and special guests such as PuraVita life coach Niyesha Rylander and Big Bear Yoga instructor Lisa Ann Gold. Space is limited, so registration is required by visiting http://www.bigbearchamber.com/events/details/grand-opening-bear-valley-wellness-18011 no later than July 9, 2018. On Saturday, stop by for samples and consultations with Sirignano, Rylander and Gold. Appointments are strongly suggested.

    Bear Valley Wellness Center is at 633 W. Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear City, CA 92314. For more information about the event, the products or to book an appointment, call Sirignano at 714-747-0820.

    - Stephanie Thoth

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  • Local Family Coins New Ice Cream Parlor

    May 17, 2018, Big Bear Lake, Calif. – Things just got a lot cooler in the Big Bear Lake Village. Ben & Jerry’s opened its doors April 4, and father-daughter team Tim and Carissa Wolcott couldn’t be more excited to serve the community they love.

    Best known for his cutting-edge photography and love of the great outdoors, Tim has been a Big Bear name since 1994. He was a pioneer in creating the first “green” printing process free of heavy metals and chemicals, and art gallery, the Gallery of American Landscaping. A senior in high school, Carissa already knows the entrepreneurial ropes and is looking forward to her college education.

    The Wolcott family history is seasoned with bakers and grocers, Tim’s own father owning a local Big Bear bakery, Something Special, until 2004. But his dad also had a dream of opening an ice creamery, which got Tim thinking. It wouldn’t be long before he and his daughter took the reins on their newest business venture.

    The business model was simple. The Wolcotts wanted to bring a brand to Big Bear that was trusted and “real.” Ben & Jerry’s seemed the only option after interviewing countless other brands, especially with their fair-trade policies and dedication to healthier ingredients. All Ben & Jerry’s products are non-GMO with no artificial flavors or colors. Established in Vermont, the brand also has a California dairy for easier access and guaranteed fresh delivery.

    Tim and Carissa signed the lease at The Village Shops in November 2017, and immediately began construction. Appreciating the history of the 100-year-old building, the Wolcotts maintained the beams originally cut at historic Pederson Mill from Ponderosa Pine and recycled everything they could right down to the existing moldings. Commercial kitchen and freezer space was added to accommodate plenty of stock, with three new freezers coming soon. The entire endeavor was assisted by Tim’s father and funded by Tim’s great grandfather’s prized coin collection, making Ben & Jerry’s Big Bear a five-generational effort.

    Ben & Jerry’s Big Bear features 32 unique flavors of ice cream and sorbet. There are even gluten free, vegan and nut allergy-friendly varieties. Staff create each delicious cone and edible bowl from fresh ingredients on custom waffle irons each morning, hand-dipping them in chocolate and candy adornments. Customers can enjoy a pre-packaged pint or select from the case for a custom-packed pint of their choosing. Don’t forget to order ice cream cakes for all your major parties and events with any combination of your favorite flavors, including upcoming graduation.

    Speaking of events, Tim and Carissa recently acquired an additional 1,000 square feet to the rear of the parlor to be a party room. Tim has special interest in providing fundraising opportunities for youth sports, school projects and more through Bear Backers of Big Bear Valley and the National Park Foundation. In addition, Ben & Jerry’s is a new field trip destination for Bear Valley Unified School District.

    While Ben & Jerry’s has been informally open for business since April 4, 2018, the Wolcotts invite the public to attend an official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, June 1, at 4 p.m. until closing. The kickoff features special festivities and the start of the Locals Appreciation Program where locals can score a free, homemade waffle cone with the purchase of a medium or large ice cream. Other special goodies for purchase include brownies, cookies, shakes and smoothies.

    Ben & Jerry’s is at 652 Pine Knot Ave., Big Bear Lake, inside the Village Shops. For more information, to order a cake or to book an event, call 909-366-0474, or visit the website www.iluvbigbear.com. Follow Ben & Jerry’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/benandjerrysbigbear/.

    - Stephanie Thoth

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  • Fab Vegas-style Fitness
    Comes to Big Bear Lake

    June 1, 2018, Big Bear Lake, Calif. – It was love at first sight with Big Bear Valley for fitness buffs Michael and Stephanie Ibasco, and now their dreams are reality with the grand opening of The Fitness Source Friday, June 8, 2018.

    For the past six years, fitness instructors and Las Vegas gym owners Michael and Stephanie vacationed to Big Bear Valley enjoying its many trails, often visiting Wolf Total Fitness in the Stater Bros. shopping center on a day pass. Realizing its great potential and location, the Ibascos often spoke of how they’d love to own a gym in Big Bear.

    While Wolf Total Fitness was not on the market, the Ibascos took a chance and connected with the owner of the gym through a local realtor. A combination of good timing and fate sealed the deal. “The owner was ready to move on,” Stephanie said. “He (the owner) wanted the location to go to the right people who would put their hearts and souls into it … it just worked out.”

    The Ibascos took over Wolf Total Fitness on Jan. 27, 2018, and immediately began transforming the gym into a state-of-the-art facility, much like their facility in Las Vegas. Now branded The Fitness Source, the gym has had several aesthetic upgrades including the installation of mirrors, along with the replacement of cardio machines and a number of equipment advancements.

    In addition to a full-scale renovation, a variety of classes were added for all fitness levels. Members can now enjoy basic fitness classes, cross training, Piyo, a combination of Pilates and yoga, regular yoga, step and occasional boot camp sessions. All classes are taught by personable, certified and experienced instructors.

    Uncomfortable with a gym environment? The Fitness Source offers personal training with a free initial consultation. Trainers evaluate needs and goals and establish an appropriate fitness plan with the most health benefit. An app is also available featuring videos of Stephanie as she walks viewers through safe use of all the gym’s equipment to eliminate risk of injury, as well as a tanning salon.

    “We want to bring what health and fitness is today to the community of Big Bear,” Michael said. “We’re growing things organically and spreading the wealth of health.”

    “We are so excited to be in Big Bear and to be part of the community,” Stephanie continued. “This has been a dream of ours, and now it’s just so exciting to have it actually happen.”

    Cost of membership at The Fitness Source is based on tiers running from $40 to $55 per month. The lowest tier features basic access to the gym while the highest tier gains full access and offers discounts on personal training. Hours are 5:15 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

    The Fitness Source’s two-day kick off event starts with an invitation-only VIP evening with a Las Vegas flare featuring a ribbon cutting ceremony, table games, a silent auction, DJ, cash bar and food catered by Sonora Cantina on Friday, June 8 at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 9, the gym is open to the public at no charge, with a special Boot Camp Fusion by the Lake presented by Michael from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds from the barbecue benefit The Lighthouse Project.

    The Fitness Source is at 42169 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake, CA 92315. For more information, call 909-866-5300, email to stephanie@thefitnesssourcebb.com or visit the website www.thefitnesssourcebb.com.

    - Stephanie Thoth