Posted by Veronica Stumpf
After a strong 1.5-year run, Fresno Brewing Company (FBC) closed its Fulton Mall doors. Fans had the chance to enjoy the pub one last time, last Tuesday, for Brew Bingo.
Brew Bingo takes place the 2nd Tuesday of every month. It’s a celebration of beer, Bingo, and prizes. Uncle Kenny (I’m not related to him but I’m going to call him “Uncle Kenny” like my mom’s generation called Walt Disney “Uncle Walt”) was the local celebrity caller for last Tuesday’s Brew Bingo. He dressed up as Santa Claus…or is he the real Santa Claus?
I felt bitter-sweet walking inside FBC, one last time. The pub/cafe was proof that revitalization is possible. During my first tour with Downtown Academy, last year, we stopped at FBC. The owner, Ephiram Bosse, spoke to us downtown newbies. He said something that, to this day, still sticks with me: “Revitalization is not coming. It’s already here.”
The last Brew Bingo was special because it marked a great beginning. Craig Scharton and Michelle Wong introduced plans of a new business that will take over FBC’s location. The business is called Peeve’s Public House & Local Market. Peeve’s is named after Craig’s dog, Peeve (his “pet peeve.” Ha!). Craig Scharton is the business owner and Michelle Wong (I’m convinced she’s Wonder Woman of downtown Fresno) will be the manager. Peeve’s Public House will be a pub/restaurant. The space next door, Fulton Cycle Works former space (now located at Iron Bird Lofts in downtown Fresno), will be a market for local food.
AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY
Craig was not planning on opening a business anytime soon. “Sometimes, the best things happen when you are not planning it,” Craig says about this unexpected opportunity. The idea for Peeve’s came along when he witnessed a strong sense of community and enthusiasm at FBC. “They can’t stop,” Craig said about FBC, “There’s too much good here.” Craig decided to step in and continue with FBC’s momentum. At the same time, he thought of ways to build upon their business concept.
A ONE STOP SHOP
Craig wants Peeve’s to be a place that represents everything that is great about the Central Valley.
The local market side of the business is meant to introduce food-related businesses to downtown Fresno. A lot of people want to pursue their dream of opening a business but don’t know how to start in an affordable manner. Or they do not know how to increase the exposure of their product. The recent implementation of the California Homemade Food Act makes it easier for people to sell their own food. Craig hopes that businesses will expand and locate to their own storefront on the Fulton Mall.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Things you love about FBC that you can expect at Peeve’s
- Craft beer – Peeve’s will continue to sell craft beer, including locally-brewed beer such as Tioga Sequoia.
- Coffee and Tea
- All ages and different backgrounds welcomed
- Live music and community events
So, what is new? Plenty!
- Wine – Winos will appreciate the addition of wine on the menu.
- Public Market – Locally-made food items will be sold in the space next door.
- New kitchen equipment – New equipment will be installed so food can be cooked for patrons.
- Food made from locally-produced ingredients – Expect breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and pub food to be served. Food will be fresh and will celebrate what is in season in the Valley.
- Extended Hours – Craig and Michelle are in the process of extending hours from Monday to Saturday 7AM-2AM.
- Opened on Sunday?! – Does anyone fancy champagne and a lil’ gospel on a lovely Sunday? Serious; it’s a possibility.
- More cyclist-friendly – There will be more bike racks for patrons.
- More outdoor seating
- Guest chef nights
- Regular community events – Peeve’s will be the destination for fun events that will make you ask, “Where else can I do that?!”
IT TAKES A COMMUNITY
Craig and Michelle’s ideas made the entire room excited for the future. They bluntly stated the reality: they cannot make Peeve’s successful on their own. “For this to work,” Craig said, “it’s going to take effort from the community.”
Community. That’s a key ingredient most of us do not think about when it comes to running a business. Peeve’s is no different. The first step we can do is create buzz about Peeve’s on the social media. Social media is the easiest and most effective marketing tool for local businesses. It takes one click to “like” a fanpage. One click to share a status or an article. These simple actions will increase the amount of people who know about Peeve’s.
Craig wants Peeve’s to be a place where the entire community is free to voice ways to improve the business. The community’s creativity is what gives him confidence that Peeve’s will be successful.
Our patience and flexibility is also needed. “Hang in with us,” Craig requests. Some of his ideas will not work. Other ideas will be not a reality right away. The least he can do is put all his effort into promoting an event or idea.
Company – Peeve’s Public House and Market
Location 1243 Fulton Mall (FBC former space; near the north end of the Fulton Mall) Click here for a map.
Social Media For updates or to contact Peeve’s with your great idea…
“Like” on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/peeves ) Follow on Twitter (https://twitter.com/peevespub )
Target open date – Sept. 5th, 2013 (ArtHop).
Check out another blog written about Peeve’s Public House by DFP members California Creative Group.
My friends and I had horrible times every time we went to FBC. We were treated like crap, felt uncomfortable, and the employees were rude. Maybe that’s why they went out of business. I know they lost all of mine and my friends’ business after a couple of visits of being mistreated.
I urge you to stop by when Peeve’s opens up. If you have a similar experience, please express any negative, past experiences or concern to the staff.
I always had a pleasant experience at FBC. It felt like a community and I later became friends with the frequent visitors.
Let me know how it turns out and have a lovely day in Fresno!
I’m not sure what this has to do with the new incarnation of the place, unless it’s just blowing off a little steam long after the fact. The place changed hands. It’s not the same place now.
Additionally, FBC closed for entirely different reasons than the ones you suggest.
I dont find anything so great about the micro beer places in the tower and downtown areas, over priced products, people smokeing dope on the sidewalks and crappy parking as well as bad areas of town , no not for me been their done that .Maybe another 250 million thrown at downtown will help but i doubt it since the first 250 million failed !
The one on Olive is overly brightly lit and charges a corkage fee, which is annoying and expensive. This may be to do with the kind of license they have- depending on the license, they might not have a choice. Spokeasy, on the other hand, has a minimalist but pleasant atmosphere and excellent beers. FBC was hands-down the best atmosphere of the three, since it was a big space with possibility for bands and lazy hanging out. FBC really was good for Fulton Mall.
Cencorship is alive and well !!!
Many of Scharton’s ideas are already in place at Organic Fresno. We’ll see how his experiment works out.
I’m rooting for him.
Just adding my extremely hopeful and positive two cents…
I felt like FBC had become one of the pillars of our downtown community. I was incredibly saddened to see what (at first glance) looked like the dream of revitalization dying out… Peeve’s is indeed an experiment with a less-than-certain outcome, but what else are we to do with an area of Fresno that is often neglected, forgotten, and under-appreciated? Seems like boldness is exactly the right approach here.
I’m very excited to see what comes of Peeve’s! If it builds on the momentum, community, and culture created by FBC, we will go far.
People in Fresno are so used to either stagnation or failure that pessimism pervades comments about laudable efforts to do interesting, forward-thinking things. FBC seemed perfectly viable, but the mall needs more bold people to make things happen. FBC brought people down to the mall who likely wouldn’t have gone down there for anything. FBC’s contribution was 100% positive, and I hope Craig can keep it going and that others will follow fBC’s lead with what he did with FBC.