Friday, April 30, 2010

Mr. Vice President

DPOA Board member Andre' Robinson has been elected Vice President of the DPOA. Andre' is now a member of the DPOA Executive Committee.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Boy! They're Back! (almost)

Good news folks. The Pomona Baking Company will reopen June 1 under new ownership. Pete and Kim Anerio will pick up where the Baking Company left off. Same menu, same quality, but more of it. They have plans to expand to a deli operation as well, so fresh sandwiches and other goodies will be available. There is a grand opening planned, but the date is not certain. When we find out, we'll let you know.

Let's give Pete and Kim a big welcome to the neighborhood.

Car & Bike Show - June 5th

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Heavy chords, bum notes mark Fox's return

David Allen, Staff Writer
Created: 04/27/2010 03:32:21 PM PDT

ONE YEAR after the Pomona Fox Theater reopened after a $10 million renovation, developer Jerry Tessier is asked the obvious question: Are you sorry you did it? "Yes and no," Tessier says after a laugh. "I'm not sorry at all, but my one piece of advice is, don't open a theater in a recession." It's been a rocky comeback for the Fox, which held its opening gala April 18, 2009. (The theater originally opened 79 years ago: April 24, 1931.) Primarily a concert venue in its new incarnation, the former movie palace had 22 concerts in 2009, at times going weeks without one. The facilities manager left and wasn't replaced and his assistant was laid off late last year due to slow business. "I'm basically acting as the general manager," says Tessier, 36, who knows how to renovate old buildings but has never been general manager of a concert hall. While the Fox was expected to lose money its first year, the loss, which Tessier wasn't inclined to reveal, was greater than he'd have liked.

In North America, concert attendance and ticket prices were both down about 30 percent in 2009. The Fox has never been well-timed: It opened in the Great Depression and reopened in the Great Recession.

"It's a risky business," Tessier admits of concert promotion. "We can't do 20 concerts a month. We're lucky to get four or five a month." In the biggest flop, has-been Marilyn Manson could only fill half the house, which must have been a shock to the shock rocker.

On the plus side, the Fox hosted several high-profile indie-rock acts, including Wilco and the Flaming Lips. Paramore's performance made Spin magazine's list of the year's top concerts. Morrissey said Pomona was one of his five favorite concert dates on a worldwide tour.

On successive nights in mid-April, Vampire Weekend and Pavement both sold 2,000 tickets, the Fox's capacity. Lines stretched around the block.

I was a paying customer both nights. Watching Vampire Weekend from a perch in the balcony, I could see fans standing pressed together on the main floor, where there are no chairs. Their faces, aglow in the stage lights, were alternately ecstatic and awestruck. Afterward, hundreds of people, from teenagers to the middle-aged, streamed from the theater, happily buzzing about the show as they dispersed to local bars or free parking lots scattered around downtown. The scene struck me as an updated version of the days when the Fox was the valley's top movie house.

On April 15, when Pavement played the Fox, the pop duo She & Him were performing at the Glass House club two blocks away. "There are 2,000 people here and another 800 at the Glass House," Tessier told me that night on the sidewalk as the Fox emptied. "Some people said it was hard to find a place to park. I said, `Great!' That's a good problem to have."
Fans are flocking to Pomona from miles away: L.A., Orange County, San Diego, Victorville and Temecula. "These concerts are destination events," says Tessier, a music fan who has attended almost every show himself. "There are people coming to Pomona for the first time, or the first time in decades. And they leave thinking Pomona is a cool town."

Close to home, however, the Fox is a disappointment to many in the community. "Ask when they're going to have an event a normal person would want to attend," one Pomona woman urged me. The limited appeal of Pomona Fox events can be contrasted with Ontario's Citizens Business Bank Arena, which has hosted Neil Diamond and Carrie Underwood, and the Riverside Fox, which has featured Broadway shows and recognizable names such as Sheryl Crow.

Tessier says his 2,000-capacity venue can't afford the name acts that would go to the 11,000-seat arena, and as for the Riverside Fox, he points out that it's city-owned and -subsidized, with no mortgage. "From day one we've said this is a mixed-use venue. Its principal use is live rock concerts. That was our basis for renovating it," Tessier says of his financing.

Besides Tessier and his family, who have overhauled multiple vintage buildings in Pomona and Claremont, the other primary owner is Perry Tollett, co-owner of the Glass House with his brother, Paul, who heads the concert promotional firm Goldenvoice. Goldenvoice puts on the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals and has the exclusive contract for live rock concerts at the Fox.

The Fox has also had dance parties, DJ concerts and mixed martial arts matches. One of the latter sold 1,200 tickets - probably none of them to anyone who attended the swank opening gala. "I'm not going to apologize for those things because there's a segment of the population that wants them," Tessier says. He also suggests that older music fans ought to open their ears wider for new sounds. "People just need to broaden their musical horizons," he says, pointing out that Vampire Weekend is frequently compared to Paul Simon.

Slowly, the Fox is finding an audience. I've attended four concerts so far. Downtown crowds - a phrase that used to be an oxymoron - are more frequent, and that's helping at least some bars and restaurants.

The Fox "is our centerpiece now," says Larry Egan, executive director of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association. Egan was downtown on a busy April 15 to witness happy concertgoers and packed rooms at three nearby bars. "People from all walks of life came: politicians, carpenters, accountants, teenagers, doctors, executives and more," Egan wrote on his Metro Pomona blog.

Tessier says restaurants on Third Street are filled on concert nights, with Pho Vi staying open late and staffing up.

I'd say the results are spotty. The night of the Vampire Weekend concert less than a block away, downtown mainstay El Merendero was half-empty, closing at 8 p.m. After concerts, Garey Avenue is clogged heading north to Interstate 10. Del Taco's drive-through near the freeway is jammed. If I were Donahoo's Chicken - oh, to be Donahoo's Chicken! - I would sell its famous boxed meals from the curb to passing motorists before they hit the freeway.

Now, it isn't all commerce at the Fox. Graduations, proms and other community events are taking place too (for a rental fee). Egan says a Bonita High jazz concert drew people from La Verne. "They liked what they saw, which is good for us," Egan says, noting that some returned for a Second Saturday art walk.

If the Fox stumbled in 2009, I'd say it was in seemingly not having a plan to capitalize on community affection for the theater. What was slated as a three-day opening weekend of festivities was reduced to one night at $135 a head for a gala. There was never a formal grand opening and plans for a cheap matinee were postponed.

The average person never got inside. When "The Wizard of Oz" was screened last month, more than 700 people showed up, a testament to public curiosity. Tessier, who was surprised by the attendance, says a monthly movie night is in the works, probably on the fourth Sunday of each month.

To be fair, one reason for the Fox's slow start is that not only was it still under construction at the gala, it's still under construction a year later. A first-floor storefront on Third opened late last year as a bar named Drink. The two storefronts along Garey are being renovated as Fox Sports Bar and Grill, which will have 20 flat-screen TVs, and Papa's Tacos, for late-night eats. Also, a room above the stage will become SkyFox, a nightclub.

"I would have liked to have the Fox and the ancillary businesses open at once. But it took time to find operators," Tessier explains. Downtown hasn't hit the tipping point. Because sidewalks are empty on nights without concerts, Tessier says 1,000 lofts are needed to create more street life. And five more nightclubs or bars would "give us a critical mass for people to come to Pomona to go bar-hopping or club-hopping," Tessier says.
(Selflessly doing his part, Tessier is working on two: a tequila bar at the corner of Third and Thomas and a Latin dance club above the existing Brick night club on Thomas. Both may open late in 2010.)

To return to the is-he-sorry question, Tessier says downtown simply had to have the Fox back. "Even if the building doesn't pencil out for us financially in the future, I wouldn't regret it even then because I see what kind of impact it's had on Pomona and downtown," Tessier says. "After sitting empty for five years, we thought, we have to do this. Downtown will never be fully revitalized if its most iconic structure sits empty and neglected and falling apart." He adds: "What's happening now is reinforcing why we did it."

At the Fox, 2010 should see more concerts, more Latin and Mexican music and, with luck, more revenue. "My goal this year," Tessier says, "is to break even."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Metro Night Out 4.24.10

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home Grown Business, Home Grown Commercial

City Council votes on tough issue

As most of you probably know, last night's City Council was a doozy. Hundreds of Pomona PD supporters came to show their support for the hometown department. These are hard times. The decisions requred of our City Council are even harder.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Administrative Assistant Day

Wednesday is Administrative Assistant Day. Like one's anniversary, it is not wise to forget this day.

Friday, April 16, 2010


As an observer of people it is always interesting to compare crowds in the downtown to the venues they come to see. Take last night as an example. There were major "events" happening at the same time at different locations. The Glasshouse featured She and Him, the Fox featured , The Pavement, the DBA256 hosted a political campaign rally, and various other venues did a brisk business with bands, comedians, and karaoke participants, all prepared to entertain the masses. The crowds came, lined up, and hunkered down for a long and slow moving shuffle to the entrance of their venue where, at last, they cleared security and were allowed to enter. It's assumed that they enjoyed the rest of the evening. Hundreds, if not thousands of people waited patiently for their turn to pay the price of admission and join in the fun. Some of the lucky ones, or maybe smarter ones, took advantage of at least three different watering holes waiting for the lines to diminish. The Drink at the Fox, DBA256, and Acerogami Bar were all packed with revelers. People from all walks of life came; politicians, carpenters, accountants, teenagers, doctors, executives, and more. They visited amongst themselves, made new acquaintances, shared email and cell numbers and generally networked.
Taking in the scene one noticed well behaved, orderly crowds, enjoying the evening...Now that's what makes downtown Pomona a truly enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Today's Farmers Market , downtown Pomona, will feature a new vendor, "Chocolicious", a local company specializing in beautiful and delicious decorated apples in a wide array of flavors. They are also affordable. Come by and see for yourself....Coming soon, hand dipped ice cream.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Second Saturday Art Walk Pomona

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Aztecs Return

Those wonderful Aztec dancers who have graced our Thomas Plaza Stage in the past are returning this evening for another dazzling performance. They will be performing from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm in Thomas Plaza, W. 2nd. St. and Thomas, downtown Pomona. You've gotta see this performance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Farmers Market Update

Rumors of closing the downtown Pomona Wednesday Farmers Market have been heard around town. Rest easy, the market will continue at its current location, Thomas Plaza, downtown Pomona. See you Wednesday.

Hazmat follow up

At 3:45 pm the fire engines, hazmat teams, police, FBI, ambulances, and others packed up and left the scene. It appears some loony mailed a suspicious package to the 5th floor of the Chase building. It could be the same individual that has made a career of late sending these kind of packages to L.A. County buildings. A hate letter usually accompanies the package, with references to government and even president Obama I'm told. At any rate, this one turned out to be a hoax, and everyone is thankful for that.

Whats Going On?

At approximately 12:30pm fire tucks, ambulances, paramedics, and police closed off W. 2nd St. from Garey Ave. to Thomas Street. So what's going on?
A. Cat in a tree
B. False alarm
C. Power outage
D. Suspicious package.
If you guessed D, suspicious package you are correct. No harmful substances were found, but to be safe all precautions were taken, including screening occupants for symptoms and bringing in the Hazmat team. Fire and Hazmat have been on the scene for an hour and a half at this point. The DPOA office is serving as the "emergency" restroom facility for all those that had to evacuate the building. If there are any changes or updates, we'll get back on the blog for you.

You are cordially invited.

Saturday evening the downtown Pomona Art Walk is the place to be. If you've never been, or its been a while, you need to be here. With over 40 galleries open for viewing, restaurant and entertainment venues in full swing, a Certified Farmers Market and Street Fair, and live entertainment, we've got something for everyone. Come join us. It's Free.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Entertainment Committee Formed

Downtown Pomona entertainment venue owners and operators met recently to discuss issues shared in common, such as marketing, safety, parking, etc. As a result a cooperative effort among those entrepreneurs will spark some fun and exciting events for the downtown. Stay tuned.

An event calendar is being created and will soon be posted on the Metro Pomona web site with links to all venues, listing all downtown events at a glance. Web visitors will be able to view various choices for an evening of dinning, dancing, concerts, etc. with, directions, times, attire, ages, and more. One stop viewing for all venues..

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Dodgers v. Angels

Save the date. Sunday June 13. Join the DPOA for the 3rd annual Dodgers/Angels game. This year seats will be in the Mannywood section (3rd base) in the shade. You'll receive a Mannywood T-shirt and a surprise gift from the DPOA. Tickets are $35 ea., $45 for ticket and bus ride. There are a limited number of seats available, so reserve yours now. The game is sold out, once the 75 DPOA reserved tickets are sold...sorry, no more. Contact the DPOA at 909-469-1121, or for game time and to reserve and pay for your ticket.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Early Pomona

Wonder what the city's residents thought about Pomona back then. They most likely were a proud bunch. Who wouldn't be, just look at the serenity and warmth of the downtown at that time. Those are some proud buildings folks, a reflection of the people who built them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you and yours...