Biz News: Uniqlo to open Sept. 3 at South Coast Plaza

Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo will open its first Southern California stores this fall, including one at South Coast Plaza on Sept. 3.

The chain will hire several hundred employees to run the new locations, which include Los Cerritos Center, the Glendale Galleria, the Beverly Center and Northridge Fashion Center.

Uniqlo, known for its array of basics, has 20 open stores in the U.S. and 1,200 worldwide. The brand is owned by Japanese holding company Fast Retailing Co., which also owns apparel names such as Theory and Helmut Lang, which recently opened its first U.S. outlet store at Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

The first Uniqlo opened in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1984.

Uniqlo is often compared to U.S. company Gap, though its stores employ distinctive tactics, such as handing customers back their payment cards with both hands, per Japanese custom.


Komen and Knott's raise $100,000

A partnership between Costa Mesa-based Susan G. Komen Orange County and Knott's Berry Farm has raised $100,000 for uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients, according to a news release.

Knott's seeded the promotion with a $25,000 donation and sold "Pink Tickets" and "Knotts for the Cure" memorabilia to raise money for the cause.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., which owns Knott's, has raised nearly $1 million for Susan G. Komen in five years, the release said.


Mother's sponsors kids run

Costa Mesa's Mother's Market & Kitchen is sponsoring the Kids Run The OC, a charity event tied to OC Marathon-related events. The sponsorship will help buy 6,000 race T-shirts for children from 80 schools participating in Saturday's Kids Run The OC Training Program, which is aimed at promoting fitness among pre-adolescents, according to a news release.


Blackmarket among the 'Best of Irvine'

Blackmarket Bakery, which has locations in Costa Mesa and Irvine, has won the 2014 Best of Irvine Award in the bakery category.

"Each year, the Irvine Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category," according to a news release. "These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community."


Rutan makes donation to UCI Law

Costa Mesa-based Rutan & Tucker has agreed to donate $15,000 to the UC Irvine School of Law scholarship fund. The law firm has donated $78,000 to the law school's scholarship fund in the past five years, according to a news release.


Keller Williams names team leader

Mayur Thakarar has been named team leader of Keller Williams Newport Estates.

Thakarar, who began selling real estate in 2005, previously owned his own brokerage and was a recruiter for First Team Real Estate, according to a news release.


Lee makes Pham a V.P.

Mia Pham has been promoted to vice president of Lee & Associates, a commercial real estate concern in Irvine.

Pham, according to a news release, is an expert in the leasing and sales of multi-tenant office, medical and industrial buildings in Orange County.


New CEO at Healthy Smiles

Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County, a nonprofit organization, has named Ria Berger chief executive officer.

Berger has 25 years of experience in operations, human resources and business development in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, according to a news release.

The Irvine resident previously served as vice president of human resources at Hospital Corp. of America and Vanguard Health Systems/Tenet Healthcare, and also worked for other firms.


Wyndham remodels Irvine hotel

Wyndham Irvine – Orange County Airport has completed an extensive renovation, according to a news release. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts took over the hotel in 2012.

"Hotel rooms and common space have been transformed to reflect a hip and modern style, meeting the needs of both business professionals and leisure travelers," according to a news release.

Among the improvements are a refinished entrance and lobby and upgraded lighting, floors, walls and window treatments. There are also new beds and bedding in the guest rooms, 40-inch HDTVs and improved Wi-Fi.

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