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Published February 11th, 2015
business briefs
Voytek Konopka Photo Sophie Braccini

Novina is Closing
3559 Mt Diablo Blvd., Lafayette - (925) 283-1800

Voytek Konopka says that it is time for him to retire. The 67-year-old jewelry designer and watchmaker's retirement marks the end of a local craft that is very hard to find in this part of the world. Konopka was trained as a watchmaker in his original Poland and it is his craft that landed him his first job in New York where he had come for just a visit. The talented artisan had also learned jewelry making because he loved the artistry of that part of the business. After leaving New York he worked for Taylor & Jacobson of Walnut Creek as a designer and creator of unique jewelry pieces. Finally, 20 years ago he opened his own business in Lafayette, Novina. There he created custom jewelry, brooches, pendants, rings, and boxes for patrons. Clients from all over the country sent him their high-end mechanical watches for service. "I want to do other things now," says the friendly jeweler and watchmaker. "I want to travel back to Europe and visit my family, and enjoy life." Konopka plans to sell his inventory before closing the store on the evening of Feb. 14. Everything in the store is on sale. Konopka is conscious of the fact that this country does not have any school to teach watchmaking and that his skill is in very short supply. "I will continue to service my clients' watches," he says. He will keep his phone number active so they can continue to reach him, after he is back from Europe.

Senior Helpers Announces New Lamorinda / Walnut Creek Senior Discount Card
1550 Viader Drive, Suite D, Moraga - (925) 268-8327

Senior Helpers of the East Bay announced that its new 2015-16 Lamorinda / Walnut Creek Senior Discount Card is now available to Lamorinda and Walnut Creek seniors. The current edition of the card that was first introduced in 2007 features discounts of between 10 and 20 percent at local restaurants, hardware stores, hair salons, bookstores, car washes, bakeries and more. The cards are available at the Senior Helpers office at as well as local senior services departments in Lafayette and Walnut Creek. In addition, several participating businesses such as Ace Hardware on Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, UPS stores in Lafayette and Moraga, and many participating restaurants will also distribute the cards. "We love supporting this local discount program," said Ristorante Amoroma (Moraga) owner Hafiz Haidari. "We view it as a way to give back to our senior community and our customers and appreciate Senior Helpers' work in putting this program together."

Local Designer Receives Awards
LMK Interiors - 1009 Oak Hill Road, Suite 301, Lafayette - (925) 962-9610

Photo provided

The Northern California Chapter of the Kitchen and Bath Association honored Leslie Kalish of LMK Interiors in Lafayette with first place for the Judges' and People's Choice Kitchen (that project also earned second place in the Large Kitchen category). Kalish won the prize with co-designer Jennifer Hobson for their Alamo Farmhouse Kitchen design. Kalish founded LMK Interiors 12 years ago. She started her career as a buyer, moving to textile and clothing design, and as design director at Obermeyer Ski Wear in Aspen, Colo. She is certified by the State of California as an interior designer. Nine years ago Gayle Leksan, a certified Color for Your Home color consultant, joined the team. LMK specializes in remodeling, new construction, space planning and furnishings, and inside or outside color consultation.

New Contra Costa Community News Group Forms

From left: Denise Rousset (Valley Sentinel), Elena Hutslar, Rebecca Coburn (Community Focus), Wendy Scheck (Lamorinda Weekly) and Tamara Steiner (Claylon Pioneer and Condord Pioneer) Photo Rochellez Photography

Five local community papers are banding together to create the new Contra Costa Community News Group. Publishers from the Clayton Pioneer, Concord Pioneer, Lamorinda Weekly, Community Focus and Valley Sentinel launched the new CCCNG late in 2014, mainly as an avenue to attract national and regional advertising. The combined circulation of the new enterprise is 150,000 with free delivery to homes and businesses. Wendy Scheck, associate publisher of the Lamorinda Weekly, explains: "As all of our papers are written and printed with significant costs and delivered free to all the single family homes in each of our communities, by forming this group and making it easier and more efficient for regional and national advertisers to place media buys with us, our newspapers will be stronger financially - and that means we can continue providing the local coverage our communities have grown accustomed to."

News from the Three Chambers of Commerce

Ribbon Cutting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 at Bay Sotheby's International Realty's new building at 3725 Mt. Diablo Blvd. (This ribbon cutting was rescheduled from Jan. 29).

Monthly Mixer begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25 at Indigo & Poppy, 1009 Oak Hill Road.

Dinner celebration of the 2014 Business Person of the Year, Moraga Royale Dianne Wilson, on Tuesday Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Moraga Country Club. Reservations required. For information, email kather@moragachamber.org.

Chamber Luncheon starting at11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 20 at the Orinda Country Club. The Orinda Chamber of Commerce will present annual awards recognizing outstanding contributions to the Chamber and Orinda business community. For tickets, visit the chamber website: www.orindachamber.org.

Save the date for Live at the Orinda 2015 comedy night at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6, with Jimmie "JJ" Walker, Jeff Applebaum and Master of Ceremonies Anthony Hill. Advanced tickets are available at the chamber website: www.orindachamber.org.


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