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REGIONAL REPORT: San Diego

OCEANSIDE

Temecula Franchisee Set to

Reopen Sizzler Steakhouse

Culver City-based steakhouse restaurant chain Sizzler USA Inc. is remodeling and reopening two previously closed Southern California locations, including one in Oceanside.

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A company statement April 19 said the Sizzler restaurant at 3805 Plaza Drive, which was formerly owned by another franchisee, will be reopened by the end of May by Temecula-based franchisee BMW Management Inc.

Also in May, Sizzler USA itself will reopen a Cathedral City restaurant that had been owned by a franchisee but closed in 2009. The company in recent months has been revamping its menu to emphasize fresh ingredients.

The statement said Sizzler’s mobile food truck, currently based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, will soon be taking to the road throughout Southern California to serve up new and traditional Sizzler menu items.

Sizzler owns or franchises more than 260 restaurants worldwide, including four in San Diego County. It is owned by Australia-based Pacific Equity Partners.

— Lou Hirsh

SAN DIEGO

Gen-Probe’s Stock Jumps

As FDA OKs Infection Test

Gen-Probe Inc. said April 20 that the Food and Drug Administration has approved its test for the sexually transmitted infection Trichomonas vaginalis. The amplified nucleic acid test uses Gen­-Probe’s fully automated Tigris system. Trichomonas vaginalis is the most common curable sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., according to the company.

Gen-Probe stock trades on the Nasdaq as GPRO. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $69.90 when the markets closed early for the week April 21. The stock’s 52-week low was $42.

— Brad Graves

LAKESIDE

Chamber Preps Businesses

For Inland Trade Show

The Poway Chamber of Commerce is organizing a new event: the San Diego Inland Business Expo.

The business-to-business fair is set to run from 3 to 7 p.m. June 2 at the Barona Resort & Casino’s golf center. The venue is in the Barona Indian Reservation casino complex on Wildcat Canyon Road.

Admission will be $10.

In addition to exhibitors, event organizers have planned a lineup of speakers which includes Linden Blue, chief executive officer of General Atomics. Blue is scheduled to make remarks at 3:30 p.m.

There is also a perk to help prospective exhibitors prepare. A trade show training session with speaker Jim Hernandez is set for May 24.

The Poway Chamber of Commerce is accepting exhibitor applications at its office at 13381 Poway Road. For more information, visit poway.com or contact Leslie Paver at 858-748-0016.

— Brad Graves

VISTA

Pair of Toy Reviewers Give

Smart Blocks ‘A’ Grade

Smart Blocks Inc., a home-based business making a toy called Smarcks, said it was recognized by two toy reviewing organizations last year.

Owner Scott Seligman said the products received approval from Parents Choice and Dr. Toy, two well-known reviewers that have helped increase awareness.

In addition, Seligman said the toys, building blocks that help young children learn, have been reviewed by about 50 “mommy bloggers” in 27 states.

Seligman, a mechanical engineer in the medical industry, was inspired to create the toy by observing the playing of his four children. Founded in 2007, sales didn’t begin until late last year.

— Mike Allen

CARLSBAD

Industrial Products Firm

Expands Local Operations

Pennsylvania-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc., which supplies gases, electronics materials and other industrial products to various industries, announced April 20 that it will expand its electronics materials and production facility in Carlsbad. Financial and employment figures related to the expansion were not available.

An April 20 company statement said new materials developed in Carlsbad will be geared to next-generation consumer devices including smart phones and tablet computers. The Carlsbad plant is at 1969 Palomar Oaks Way.

In an April 21 conference call announcing second-quarter earnings, investor relations director Simon Moore said the Carlsbad expansion would support product development, process demonstration and performance testing “to create the next-generation materials our electronics customers need.”

The company was founded in 1940 and has headquarters in Lehigh Valley, Pa. It serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and health care markets worldwide.

— Lou Hirsh

ESCONDIDO

Electrical Establishment

Celebrates Its 73rd Year

Baker Electric Inc., which celebrated its 73rd year in business last month, continues to maintain its family-owned status. The business founded by Leroy Neville Baker in 1938 after acquiring an existing electrical business for $4,800 is purportedly the area’s oldest electrical contractor.

Today, BEI has 60 employees and annual revenue of more than $50 million. It has completed multimillion-dollar contracts throughout Southern California, working on all sorts of projects including schools, hospitals, laboratories and casinos. Among its current tasks is working as a subcontractor on a design/build of three military quarters at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in Twentynine Palms.

— Mike Allen

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