Kings Beach businesses see upbeat future |

Kings Beach businesses see upbeat future

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun
Ryan Salm/Sierra SunChristy Lee Smith, the owner of Jai Yen in King's Beach speaks to Squaw Valley resident, Gordon Hewson about a tea set on Saturday, December 23rd. Jai Yen is one of King's Beach's newer stores and is having a great Christmas season.

When Christy Smith decided she wanted to open a Thai-themed retail shop more than two years ago, she looked no further than Kings Beach.

“I feel in love with the building a long time ago,” said Smith, a Kings Beach resident since 1990 and owner of Jai Yen in the eastern part of town. “I never considered anywhere else. This was home.”

Smith is like many other new small business owners in Kings Beach who have decided to open up shop in the community over the past two years. Many owners cite a bustling beachfront in the summer and year-round local support for reasons why they chose Kings Beach to start their endeavors.

“It’s a viable business community,” said Andrew Peluso, owner of Peluso’s A’pizza, which re-opened in downtown Kings Beach in February 2005 after a five-year hiatus. “It has the best beach and a good local community that supports local business.”

Additionally, business owners said they hope to benefit from the proposed improvements in Kings Beach, including sidewalks, lighting, a bike trail and a possible narrower highway. Construction on the project is slated to begin in the summer of 2008 and will continue for three seasons in order to have the least amount of impact on the local businesses, according to Dan LaPlante, Placer County associate civil engineer.

Harry King, who has owned Enviro-Rents for 15 years, recently relocated his business from Tahoe Vista to Kings Beach two months ago. This is the first time in five years King has opened his kayak shop year-round to include winter sports. Although he will keep the Tahoe Vista store, he says Kings Beach will be the primary location.

“The improvements seem to be happening faster in Kings Beach. We thought that all-in-all it would be a busier location,” King said. “Having sidewalks and people riding bicycles will improve business. Making it pedestrian friendly is a good thing.”

Straddles co-owner Cindy Sheridan said she and her husband opted to open their restaurant on the state line in Brockway a year ago because of the location, but she believes the renovations in Kings Beach will help her business as well.

“When it looks cleaner and nicer, it will bring more people here,” said Sheridan, who benefits from casino foot traffic.

Jai Yen’s Smith agrees.

“I hope the redevelopment … will bring more shops and restaurants and people here,” Smith said. “It’s difficult for people to go to shop in places like in Northstar, Squaw or Truckee. I hope sidewalks bring in more stores to Kings Beach.”

North Tahoe Business Association Executive Director Pam Jahnke said she will work with developers and property owners to come up with a plan to attract businesses to Kings Beach.

But for now the newer business owners are looking forward to the improvements.

“We’re excited to see the change,” said Dave Polivy, co-owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports, which opened as a retail shop in Kings Beach two months ago. “It will improve the quality of life here.”

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