• Business Profiles

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  • It’s Crystal Clear
    Jersey Mike’s Subs Opens in Big Bear

    September, 2018, Big Bear Lake  - It all started with a Craig’s List advertisement for part-time help.  Crystal White had no idea that taking the job would lead to a skyrocketed career with Jersey Mike’s Subs that would soon lead to co-owning and operating the new franchise in Big Bear.  Five and a half years ago, Crystal became a part-time employee. She would soon be the manager of a Redlands Jersey Mike’s, then in charge of quality control. Recognizing her talent, the area director assigned her to opening other locations, 35 of them.  Later, she joined the company’s Sweat Tears for Years (STAY) program that assists with financing new franchises.

    At first, the company did not want a franchise in Big Bear, citing the area’s demographics. After talking with a local food franchise owner, the market value looked promising. The decision was made to open with a local owner and operator. Crystal jumped on the chance to make her home in Big Bear.

     “I’d visited Big Bear many times from Redlands. My boyfriend and I love to hike and enjoy the natural forest and the peaceful way of life.  It was an easy decision,” she said.  Sporting a friendly, bubbly personality and an energetic work ethic, she is excited about opening.   

    Crystal used a contractor/owner who has built or remodeled 40 other Jersey Mike’s locations and knew the requirements well.  In every California Jersey Mikes’ Subs, a surfboard on the wall is included in the decor. Wanting to add Big Bear flair, Crystal replaced the surfboard with a colorful snowboard in her brightly lit and attractively appointed Jersey Mike’s.  And, she said “the City championed us through the entire process. They have been great.”

    Crystal said the company wanted her operation “to run like a local deli.” The company, with 273 California franchises, wants all locations, along with owners and managers, to get involved in and support their communities. 

    “I joined the Chamber to get involved and meet fellow business owners,” Crystal said.

    Already, Crystal is planning benefits, including a fundraiser for the Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo (FOBBAZ). The fundraiser for FOBBAZ offers community members a free sub for a minimum $2 donation. The fundraiser runs from September 26 to 30.  A

    First Responders Day is September 25, featuring a free lunch sub for active and inactive law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and highway patrol.

    The company promotes a national Month of Giving every March, with proceeds donated to a national nonprofit chosen by the corporate office.  In Big Bear, Crystal plans “to host one fundraiser per month.” The franchise will have many options for beneficiaries of the company’s generosity with approximately 140 nonprofits Valley wide. 

    Offering hot and cold subs, Crystal said Big Bear will have an item on the menu that only one other California franchise offers - their popular French fries.  Crystal described them as “crunchy, but a little thicker than others.”  Favorites also include the original Italian sub, the Chipotle cheese steak and the “sub in a tub,” a chef salad.  In addition, they will offer gluten-free and vegetarian options and are considering serving breakfast.  

    Jersey Mike’s Subs is located at the former Blockbuster building in the Stater Brothers shopping center, 42173 ½ Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.  Online and telephone ordering are available.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily beginning on opening day, Sept. 26. For more information, call (909) 866-0447.  

    - Ellen Clarke

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  • Natural Healing offers
    Eastern Medicine in Big Bear

    July 18, 2018 - Big Bear Lake - Instead of retiring after practicing natural herbal medicine in Los Angeles, Dr. Sun S. Cho chose to move to Big Bear and open a practice in our community.  Her business, Natural Healing, is located across the street from Big Bear Middle School at 41304 Big Bear Boulevard, Big Bear Lake. She opened her trademark orange door for business on April 1st.

    Dr. Cho has been a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist for more than 30 years.  She said herbal medicine is the main treatment method within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  TCM is the world’s oldest continually practiced professional medicine, dating more than 2,500 years ago. Unlike Western folk herbalism that treats diseases or symptoms, TCM is based on an individual pattern diagnosis and a disease diagnosis.  A patient’s pattern is made up of body signs and symptoms, emotional temperament and the overall compensation of the body.

    Adorned in her orange treatment uniform with a black skullcap, Dr. Cho greets her clients and guests with a warm smile and a dedication to her practice. She enthusiastically believes in the benefits of eastern herbal medicine.  Her practice includes acupuncture and massage, moxibustion and cupping therapy, the latter two less known by the public. 

    For the unfamiliar, moxibustion consists of holding a burning “moxa stick” close to, but not touching, the surface of the skin.  Moxa is made from the dried leafy materials of Chinese mugwort. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.  Cupping involves placing special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being. It is a type of deep-tissue massage, Dr. Cho said.

    Dr. Cho studied acupuncture and oriental medicine at the Korean Cancer Patients Clinic where she studied under the guidance of a 107-year old mentor, who continues to travel the world and is a premiere specialist.  She received her Ph.D. in acupuncture and oriental medicine from Yuin University in Compton.  After growing up in the large city of Taetu, South Korea, and then L.A., Dr. Cho is now enjoying the “quiet and beautiful” community of Sugarloaf, where she enjoys the mountain vistas. An avid exerciser, Dr. Cho possesses also has a deep commitment to her church, describing herself as “very religious” and enjoys regular bible studies. Dr. Cho has two grown children who both reside in California.

    Natural Healing is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. She suggests making an appointment, but walk-in clients are accepted.  She takes most medical insurance and parking is available behind the building. Call Natural Healing to make a consultation appointment with Dr. Cho at (909) 878-0818.

    - Ellen Clarke  

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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.

    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 – 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 opening of The Fitness Source. 

    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.

    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 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

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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.

    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