By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
A summer of new businesses for Ceres
July openings planned for Togos, Hot Rod Diner, Ross
Hot Rod Diner
A new black and white tile floor has been installed at the former Jennys Family Dining in preparation for Hot Rod Diner to open this summer. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Black and white tiles have been installed in a checkerboard pattern what will soon be the dining room of Hot Rod Diner adjacent to Highway 99 south of Hatch Road. The dim interior of the former home of Jenny's Family Dining, Delhart's Family Dining, the Stone Pony and Crazy Delbert's, will be bustling with breakfast, lunch and dinner patrons in late July or early August.

Owner Lupe Saavedra said he needs more time to finish additional work on outdoor siding, refurbishing the banquet room, installation of equipment, signage and landscaping.

It's just one of a number of new commercial enterprises filling vacant space along Hatch Road.

A block to the east, the building that once housed Hollywood Video followed by Neo X clothing store, has three spaces with businesses up and running and two more on the way. Verizon and T-Mobile have opened their stores as has Cosmo Prof, a beauty supply wholesaler to licensed cosmetologists and barbers.

Togo's will open its new eatery on July 14, according to Ranjeet Singh, who owns Togo restaurants in Oakdale and Ripon. On Thursday workers were installing the soda machine as Singh explained that he's still taking applications to cover 20 new positions. Most of the hiring occurred after a May 24 job fair.

There was no activity going on inside the future home of Big Kahuna Frozen Yogurt but there furnishings inside of the space indicate some progress. Big Kahuna is a chain of self-serve yogurt shops with locations in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Woodland, Visalia, Tulare, Clovis, Porterville, Hanford, Reedley, Livermore, Selma and Oakhurst.

North of Hatch Road where Staples occupied a large space, a banner has announced that Ross Dress for Less is hiring new employees through the company website, The former Staples building, has been vacant - except for a seasonal use as a Halloween costume store - since its closure on June 28, 2014. The national clothing chain has been around for 30 years and has grown to approximately 1,300 stores. Ross is affiliated with dd's discounts, which opened in Ceres in 2014.

Cosmo Prof, which opened Monday, June20, wholesales hair products, such as hair sprays, shampoos, dyes, blow dryers and nail care products only to the licensed beauty industry professionals. Michelle High said the Ceres store replaces the one that operated on Evergreen in Modesto.

"There were three stores there so we all kind of competed for the same customers," said High. "So here we're not, really, because a lot of our customers would come from Ceres. They did enough research that there was enough beauty salons and people in the industry that it would benefit to relocate here and make it more convenient for them."

Over 1,000 Cosmo Prof stores operate in the United States, catering only to barber shops, nail artists, hair stylists, estheticians and massage therapists. Hours of the Ceres store are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

Hot Rod Diner plans to serve dinner - a change from its practice in Turlock - because of the volume of traffic at the Ceres location. The eatery will follow the 50s and 60s theme, which was inspired when Saavedra couldn't get his mind off of the beautiful actress Marilyn Monroe. In Turlock the diner is known for their country cooking, decent prices and large portion sizes and it will be the same in Ceres, said Saavedra. Biscuits and gravy have people coming back, noted Ashleigh Johnson, manager of Hot Rod Diners. Breakfast offerings also include chicken fried steak, hearty omelets like the La Bamba with chorizo and avocado, and Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes for kids. Lunch items include the Philly Steak Sandwich and of course burgers and fries.

"We have 50s and 60s music playing and it's just a really fun atmosphere," said Johnson. "It's awesome and no one leaves disappointed."

The flurry of new business activity is a sign that the economy is growing stronger in Ceres, said Steve Hallam, the city's Redevelopment/Economic Development Manager.

"Hatch Road was one of the city's first major commercial corridors, and is still important to us today," said Hallam. "With almost 30,000 vehicles traveling through this corridor each day, Hatch Road is a desirable shopping area for many local and national retailers and we expect to see the retail mix increase. While some older strip commercial and retail centers still exist, we expect to see revitalization to these centers occur as the city continues to grow, particularly as we approach a population of 50,000 residents, a key variable for many major national retailers."