Town Crier: Starbucks shows interest in Montclair Village storefront, too

Montclarion: February 18, 2015

It seems there’s another contender in the fight for the “soul of Montclair.” Starbucks is showing interest in the hotly contested empty storefront at the corner of Mountain Boulevard and La Salle Avenue. It’s no secret they’ve been eyeing a bigger space.

Montclair Village Association Executive Director Daniel Swafford says Starbucks has presented a concept for use of the old Wheels of Justice and Raimondi’s property, which includes staying open until 9 p.m. and serving beer and wine.

Meanwhile, MVA President Jeff Diamond calls the other interested party, Farmers and Merchants Bank of the Central Valley, “a wonderful community bank,” but says the storefront in question is the heart of the community and “the wrong spot for them in Montclair.”

Although this column was written on deadline before the Wednesday MVA meeting, Diamond says the MVA land use and beautification committee will recommend to the MVA board that they “write to zoning as being against the bank moving in.” Stay tuned.

Musical notes: Oakland has always been big in the music scene and local songwriter and producer Dan Orth has a winner with his R&B/funk/rock band Patton Leatha. Orth co-wrote seven of the 19 songs on the “Treasure” album, and owns the band’s label, Lounge Renown Records.

“My being an executive producer and songwriter has always been the reason I’m in the music business,” says Orth, who has teamed up with talented keyboard/guitarist Jaee Logan from Patton Leatha. Logan has worked with big name musicians like Bobby Brown, Sheila E. and MC Hammer.

“The ‘Treasure’ album can take any other new album releases in the world. The tough part is getting our ‘Treasure’ album to the masses. If they can listen to it, they’ll buy it,” says Orth.

You can hear a preview of the “Treasure” album at

Around town: Two Thornhill moms are raising money to open a new cafe and wine bar in Montclair. Lisa McFadin and Claudia Ward are using the online site Indiegogo to help open Duvin, A Gathering Place. They’ve been working on the former pizza takeout site at 5736 Thornhill for a few months now and have applied for a beer and wine license. Find out more about their vision at–2.

Email bag: It’s the gift that keeps on giving. But it may be time to take down the Christmas decorations on the redwood tree at the Highway 13 at the Thornhill Drive and Moraga Avenue off-ramp. Reader Rissa Copland says “it was charming in December … but February?”

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at



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