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Wetzel’s Pretzels opens permanent location in Monte Vista Crossings

in business

After a summer season in 2020 traveling throughout Turlock in a food truck, Wetzel’s Pretzels is officially serving customers out of a new brick-and-mortar location at Monte Vista Crossings. 

Located in the former Dickey’s Barbecue Pit space next to Jamba Juice, Gyros & More and Panda Express, Turlock resident Tony Zaia couldn’t be happier to open his fourth Wetzel’s Pretzels restaurant in his own community. Zaia owns and operates three other locations in the Modesto and Merced malls and was forced to sell in Turlock out of the company’s food truck when the pandemic first hit last year. 

He had been hoping for a spot in Monte Vista Crossings for over five years, he said, and the community’s support of the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s truck only confirmed that Turlock would be the perfect landing spot for his next store.

“This has really been special here in Turlock. From day one when we brought in the truck until now, the community has been extremely supportive,” Zaia said. “COVID created an opportunity and when they called me to say there was an open spot, I jumped on it because I’ve been waiting for a long time. I knew that location is robust and busy, and so far it’s been true to my thinking.”

The new Wetzel’s Pretzels in Turlock celebrated its grand opening last Friday and the community celebrated, too. Now Turlockers have a permanent, one-stop shop for all of their pretzel needs, from knots topped with jalapenos and pepperoni to sweet, cinnamon-topped bites. 

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Backyard nursery offers plants at discounted prices

in business/Environment

Name of business: Green Aura Plant Life

Type of business: Backyard discount nursery

Location: 694 Mitchell Ave. in Turlock

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment Sunday through Monday

Contact information: 209-202-8839;; @green_aura_plant_life on Instagram

Specialty: Indoor plants for all skill levels

History of business:

Like many people throughout the country and the world, Turlock resident Audrina Mae’s world was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. The single mother lost her job thanks to the virus that shut the globe down, and as a result her mental health took a turn for the worst.

Also like many, Mae found solace in taking care of indoor plants — a quarantine hobby that not only helped pull her out of depression, but resulted in a business she could call her own.

“I found that plants were very therapeutic for me,” Mae said. “I really wanted to collect plants, but I couldn’t afford them.”

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Fair to offer shopping Pop-Up Palooza!

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Stanislaus County Fair visitors will have the chance to shop from local artisans and vendors as the Pop-Up Palooza will be open for business on the fairgrounds this year.

The pop-up shops will have free admission and be open to the public July 9-10, July 17, and July 23-24. Antiques, crafts, treasures and vendors of all sorts will be exhibited.

The first pop-up event will be hosted by Grandma’s Treasures of Denair and take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. On July 17, the Pop-Up Palooza will be hosted by Hey Turlock! The shops will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Grandma’s Treasures of Denair will return to host on from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 23 and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. July 24.

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Westside natives offer conchas, coffee and more with new food truck

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Name of business: Conchitas Truck

Type of business: Coffee and dessert mobile catering


Contact information: @conchitas.truck on Instagram

Specialty: Concha ice cream sandwiches

History of business:

Two childhood friends are hoping to cure Turlock’s sweet tooth with their new food truck, which puts a unique twist on a timeless Mexican classic.

Anne DiGrazia and Martha Jauregui both grew up on Turlock’s Westside, where their 25-year friendship first began. As children, they spent plenty of time looking forward to visits from the pan dulce truck and often indulged in the Mexican treat also known as sweet bread, or concha.

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Turlock mom unlocks benefits of almonds through skincare business

in business

Name of business: Bloom & Butter

Type of business: Skincare products


Contact information: @bloom.and.butter on Instagram

Specialty: 100% natural, cold-pressed almond oil

History of business:

Almonds are a nutritious nut which have become synonymous with the Central Valley, but one Turlock resident has turned their benefits into a skincare product which has customers glowing.

Tara Tickenoff is a mother to three and when she’s not taking care of her children, she’s working at her part time job or helping her husband with one of his several businesses — one of which produces almond cooking oil. When Tickenoff learned about all of the perks of almonds from her husband, she began using a cold-pressed version of the nut’s oil as a way to ward off stretch marks during her most recent pregnancy. 

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Turlock woman seeks donations for coffee cart with a cause

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After making an impact on local high school students with special needs through coffee, Turlock resident Destiny Silva is hoping the community will support her endeavor to branch out and employ even more people with disabilities. 

In the fall of 2018, Silva helped Denair schools start a small pop-up coffee cart that provided Special Education high school students with the chance to earn real life work experience taking orders, making drinks and counting change. The support from the community has grown overwhelmingly in the years since, Silva said, inspiring her to start her own coffee business in Turlock with the same mantra of kindness. 

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Yes, he can: Hilmar resident impresses with pickled offerings

in business/Food

Name of business: Green Vine Canning

Type of business: Pickled produce

Location: Turlock Certified Farmers Market, Turlock Flea Market, Riverbank Farmers Market and online at 

Contact information:, @green_vine_canning on Instagram

Specialty: Spicy pickled vegetables made in small batches

History of business:

When Hilmar resident Wayne Norman was laid off during the Great Recession of 2008, he had no idea that the hobby of pickling vegetables grown in his garden would develop into a beloved business over a decade later. 

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Dust Bowl expanding again with Elk Grove taproom

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After closing its downtown Turlock location last year, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. will soon have three taprooms once again after announcing plans for a new space in Elk Grove. 

The new taproom is expected to open at 9676 Railroad St. this fall and will see the Turlock-based brewery expand in Elk Grove’s Old Town Historic District. The announcement this week came one year after Dust Bowl’s original taproom in downtown Turlock closed due to the pandemic and two years after the opening of their first satellite taproom in Monterey.

“While we had hoped to open a new taproom in 2020, those plans were put on pause while we all weathered the impact of the pandemic,” said Dust Bowl owner Brett Honore. “We used the time wisely to conduct further research and are excited with our decision to expand in Elk Grove. It’s in close proximity to our brewery in Turlock, which makes delivering fresh beer on a regular basis easy to execute.” 

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Grant’s Stand

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Money doesn't grow on trees, but Grant Thorpe is making it grow with his budding plant business.

The seven-and a half- year-old Turlock resident has launched Grant's Stand and is selling plants and succulents via social media. Grant isn't doing it though to line his own pockets. Rather, he is donating 100 percent of the proceeds to local charities.

Grant gets his gardening roots from his mother Amy Thorpe, who is the farm manager of Rising Sun Farm and Garden, a special education program for 18- to 22-year-olds operating on 18 acres in Stanislaus County.

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Restaurants on the move in Turlock Town Center

in business/Food

More residents than ever are flocking to the Turlock Town Center for their shopping and dining needs thanks to its revitalization in recent years, and additional changes are on the way as some well-known businesses prepare to move into the growing retail hub. 

Although the grand opening of the center’s new anchor tenant, Smart & Final Extra! last summer seemingly marked the completion of a years-long effort to breathe new life into the shopping space, a restaurant shakeup is set to take place in the coming months as Mundo’s Latin Grill moves locations and others set up shop in the center as well.

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