West Coast Franchise Expo scheduled Oct. 2-4 in L.A.

The International Franchise Association’s West Coast Franchise Expo will take place Oct. 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  “Potential investors interested in purchasing a franchised small business can examine hundreds of franchised concepts” at the event, according to a news release. The event is free for military veterans.  For registration information, go to www.franchise.org or call (201) 226-1130.

Riverside credit union slates credit score workshops

Altura Credit Union will hold workshops on how to understand and improve your credit score at four of its branches.  All classes will meet from 6 – 7:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.  Dates and locations:

- Oct. 7 at 10725 Magnolia Ave., Riverside

- Oct. 13 at 40412 Murrieta Hot Springs Road, Murrieta

- Oct. 22 at 320 S. Sanderson Ave., Hemet

- Oct. 28 at 36-101 Bob Hope Drive, Suite E9, Rancho Mirage

Space is limited, so reservations are requested.  Information: (951) 571-5369; or visit www.AlturaCU.com or e-mail ananni@alturacu.com

Inland Empire-based public relations firm gains new client

Desmond McLeish Inc., a public relations firm with offices throughout the region including their newest location in Redlands, recently announced the addition of its newest client, TWC Aviation of Van Nuys, to its roster of Southern California Customers.  According to a news release, the addition extends the firm’s experience in aviation public relations.  Previous aviation clients include Aera Space Technologies, Allegro Air Charter, Guardian Air Services and the Guardian Jet Center.  Information: www.dmpublicrelations.com

Nonprofit plans seminar in Upland for homebuyers

Lenders Who Care, a nonprofit made up of mortgage lending professionals, will hold a seminar for homebuyers, titled “Understanding the Home-Buying Process in the Current Market,” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the multipurpose room of the Upland Public Library, 460 N. Euclid Ave.  The event is free and is educational only; there are no sales pitches, according to a news release.  Information: (877) 811-1592; www.lenderswhocare.org

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Yucaipa chamber to launch local rewards card program

The Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce will launch its Yucaipa First rewards card program at their general mixer, scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Yucaipa Community Center, 34900 Oak Glen Road.  Rewards Card materials — posters, rewards cards, informational flyer, validation stickers and customer handouts — can be picked up at the mixer.  The program is designed to encourage shopping locally and generate store traffic for Yucaipa First sponsors and member businesses, according to a chamber news release.  Information: (909) 790-1841; or e-mail info@yucaipachamber.org

Ontario hockey team hires new public relations firm

Rancho Cucamonga-based marketing firm Ignite Design & Advertising is now the official advertising agency of Ontario Reign hockey team, according to a news release.  Ignite Design & Advertising has developed marketing campaigns for San Antonio Community Hospital, the Inland Valley Humane Society and S.P.C.A. and the L.A. County Fair, according to the release.

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SoCal Gas Co. receives top customer ranking in nation

Southern California Gas Co., a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, earned the top customer satisfaction ranking among natural gas utilities in the West and had the highest score among all utilities nationwide, according to the J.D. Power and Associates “2009 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.”  According to a news release, the study is based on a random survey of U.S. residential natural gas utility customers.  In the study, Southern California Gas Co. received a customer-satisfaction score of 671, the highest score among all natural gas utilities.  The J.D. Power and Associates study ranks 75 of the nation’s largest natural gas utilities and this year interviewed more than 54,000 customers, according to the release.

Multi-chamber mixer planned in Claremont

PVW, a Montclair-based nonprofit, will hold an “Oktoberfest”-themed multi-chamber mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the DoubleTree Hotel, 555 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont.  The mixer will include the Chino Valley, Claremont, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland chambers of commerce and feature beer and wine tasting along with themed food items.  Cost: $15.  PVW is seeking area distributors, breweries and wineries to participate in the event as sponsors.  Community businesses also are sought to sponsor raffle prizes for the event.  Information: (909) 624-3555, ext. 239; or e-mail terri@pvwonline.org

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Colton company represents Ashley Furniture in multiple transactions

Colton-based Hodgdon Group has announced that company President Aaron Hodgdon represented Ashley Furniture HomeStore in a lease transaction to occupy the former 42,000-square-foot Wickes Furniture Store building in the Sierra Commons shopping center in Palmdale.  The landlord, GRAE Ventures LLC in Los Angeles, was represented by Rick Edwards and Winston Lee of GRAE Ventures.  Hodgdon-Miank Construction, also based in the Inland Empire, will serve as contractor for tenant improvements, with Dan Wallner serving as the project manager.  Ashley Furniture HomeStore plans to open on Oct. 2.  Recently, the Hodgdon Group also represented Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. in the purchase of two industrial buildings in Colton.  Rick John of Collins Commercial in Ontario worked with Aaron Hodgdon in the transaction.

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