a monthly dispatch of interesting business news


Maria’s Italian Kitchen opened its first Maria’s Pronto, a new quick-serve restaurant concept, on July 21 at 4248 Lincoln Blvd. in Marina del Rey. Maria’s Pronto features traditional Italian salads, sandwiches, pizza, calzones and pastas available for patio dining, delivery and takeout that can be ordered by phone or online. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. (310) 823-3000; mariasitaliankitchen.com

Zippy Shell USA, a mobile self-storage and shipping service, has opened its first Los Angeles franchise on the Westside, the company announced recently. Designed to simplify the moving process, Zippy Shell portable trailers are dropped off at a customer’s home and picked up for travel or storage after they are packed.  Zippy Shell of West Los Angeles is owned by Susan and Kevin Lillestol, Dean and Maria Moss, and Ken Grossman. (888) 947-7974; zippyshell.com

The Candy Bar Hookah Shoppe offers a touch of class

The Candy Bar Hookah Shoppe offers a touch of class

The Candy Bar Hookah Shoppe celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday evening. Billed as “an alluring alternative to the grungy dens of a typical smoke shop,” the hookah/vapor lounge and boutique is located at 6208 W. 87th St. in Westchester. The store is open daily, with happy hour ($16 hookah bowls and $8 refills) from 4 to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays.  (310) 670-0708; thecandybarhookahshoppe.com

Sifted:LA — a store that “sifts” the city for unique and vintage clothing, housewares, oddities and collectibles — opened in July at 6259 W. 87th St. in Westchester, around the corner from Dollar Plus. The mural above the store was painted by celebrated Venice graffiti artist Jules Muck. Owner Chris Getto said his hopes for the store include creating a space supportive for local artists and developing a vocational and social skills training program for adults with developmental disabilities. “I decided to combine my love for treasure hunting and my passion for serving this population by creating my own store where I could develop the type of program that I felt was missing — one that takes place in a real-life setting and that develops into actual employment,” said Getto, formerly a job coach and employment case manager. He hopes to start hosting an “always open” open mic for poetry readings, music and other creative expression. siftedla.com

A mural by Venice artist Jules Muck graces the roof of Sifted:LA, an innovative vintage shop that opened last month in Westchester

A mural by Venice artist Jules Muck graces the roof of Sifted:LA, an innovative vintage shop that opened last month in Westchester

SusieCakes Bakery opened a new location at the Marina Square Shopping Center (4714 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey) with a family-friendly celebration on July 19. The company, which specializes in recipes made from scratch by on-site bakers, opened its first store eight years ago in Brentwood. This is its ninth location, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. (310) 742-2253; susiecakes.com

SusieCakes opened a Lincoln Boulevard location in July

SusieCakes opened a Lincoln Boulevard location in July

Sara The Wine Bar, formerly on Jefferson Boulevard, reopened on July 24 in its new location at 3936 Sepulveda Blvd. in Culver
City. The authentic Italian restaurant (Sara is from Italy; the recipes are from mom) and
wine bar is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and starts serving dinner at 4 p.m., with happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. sarathewinebar.com

Philz Coffee, a popular Bay Area coffee destination, opened its first Southern California shop at 525 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica in July. The coffee shop is open from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. philzcoffee.com

The Humble Potato in Westchester plans to expand by opening a second location in Culver City next month.

Sibyl Buchanan, who worked as a community affairs representative for Playa Capital and then Brookfield Residential during the development of Playa Vista, has retired, the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce announced. Buchanan chaired the chamber’s board in 2011 and volunteered there and at other local organizations for more than two decades.Sibyl Buchanan retired in July

Sibyl Buchanan retired in July

Jeff Blair Fitness in Westchester celebrated its second anniversary on Aug. 1. Blair, a Men’s Fitness magazine advisory board member, offers personal training services at the SoCal Sport & Fitness Personal Training Studio, 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 111. “We treat each client as special and unique. I think that is why we are doing well,” Blair said. (310) 497-0863; jeffblairfitness.com

Del Frisco’s Grille Santa Monica celebrated the one-year anniversary of its 1551 Ocean Ave. location on July 18. (310) 395-7333; delfriscosgrille.com

Christine T. Alfieri of Action Property Management Inc. and the Azzurra Homeowners Assoc. in Marina del Rey has been designated a Certified Community Association Manager by the California Assoc. of Community Managers. To earn certification, Alfieri completed coursework on California law, ethics and best practices.

LAPD Pacific Division Capt. Brian Johnson swore in new board members of the Venice Chamber of Commerce during a July 23 installation party on the rooftop of Lincoln Place Apartment Homes.

The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce is hosting a “binge networking” hour from 8 to 9 a.m. on Aug. 15 in their officers at 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester and a special networking mixer from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Whiskey Red’s, 13813 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. laxcoastal.com