Local Business Reporting

Just the facts here, ma'am

I don’t read any news any more. I left metropolis to come work at Clute because small businesses matter. From real estate to breweries, small businesses drive the whole world. Also Clark was getting obnoxious.

Louis Lane

Chief Executive Reporter on Local Business, Daily Planet

Locals Only

Changes Are The Only Constant

Changes Are The Only Constant

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said “The only constant in life is change.”

If there is any universal truth in existence, it is that life, despite our best efforts in planning, will rarely go according to plan. Sometimes, no matter what preventative or proactive measures we take, it is always impossible to eliminate risk.

Whether you are an individual or a business owner, risk is incurred in every facet of life. For instance, you must first sign a lease, if not purchase a car, in order to be the owner of a vehicle. Car accidents are always a looming possibility on the roads, which is why car owners or lessees purchase car insurance. In business, no matter what industry you are in, every entrepreneur or corporation takes on a certain degree of risk in starting a new business. There is additional risk that carries through the lifetime of the business itself. This is why enterprises have business insurance.

The best way to mitigate risk is to be prepared for the tragedies of life.

White Dump Truck Near Pine Tress during Daytime

David Weber has owned and operated a small distribution chain in California for the past ten years. “I have anywhere between five to ten trucks going out at any time throughout the day. Our drivers are on the road 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through alternating shifts, in order to ensure that our shipments are delivered on schedule,” he says. For nine of those years, his business ran smoothly, without any hiccups or accidents. However, on one evening, three months ago, one of his trucks had been hit by a drunk driver at around midnight on the highway. “It was a complete shock. Highway accidents might be common in the trucking industry, but it just had never happened to us. And you tend to hear these things on the news and think, ‘Oh, but it won’t happen to me or my company.'”

Luckily, Weber had business insurance. His company was able to recover the cost of the damages to the truck, and his driver received compensation for the physical injury and trauma.

Everyone should be insured in the event of any unforeseen personal or business incident. We wanted to highlight Byron Galindo, a State Farm Santa Monica Agent that offers home, renter, auto, and business insurance. Team Galindo has a focus on commercial trucking workers’ compensation insurance, landlord insurance, and earthquake insurance.

If you are contemplating whether or not you need insurance, consider the cost of doing business or living life without preparation for all of its uncertainties. The harsh reality is that—yes, anything could happen to any of us. No one is universally safe from the laws of nature. We are all human, and life is fragile. We should never take life for granted or assume only the best case scenarios.

If you are looking for an insurance agent to discuss the best form of coverage for you, you can give Byron Galindo’s office a call.

Byron Galindo – State Farm Insurance Agent
214 Pier Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405, United States

Accidents Happen. Don’t Let Yourself Be Caught Unprepared

Accidents Happen. Don’t Let Yourself Be Caught Unprepared

Today began like any other day – wake up at 5:30, gym, shower, breakfast on the drive to the office. As I was pulling out of the parking lot of my favorite café, however, things took a frightening turn.

As I drove forward, looking both ways, I slowly took my left turn, seeing that the light at the nearby intersection hadn’t turned to let traffic coming my way go. As I hit the middle lane, however, I took one cautionary look to make sure I hadn’t missed anyone, and that’s when I saw the massive SUV that absolutely dwarfed my compact barreling down the road towards me, completely ignoring the fact that he had a red light.

Things seemed to slow, with my car inching towards a lane that inevitable death was screaming down towards, not 100 feet from impact. I jerked the wheel, and the SUV did as well, tires squealing on pavement as we passed mere inches away from one another. He honked his horn at me as I righted myself back into the lane, cold sweat dripping down my spine.

The whole drive to the office I clenched the wheel with white knuckles, the image of the impact that was so narrowly avoided playing again and again in my head. What would have happened if I hadn’t taken that last cursory glance over my shoulder?

It’s times like these that I’m really glad I know some excellent legal advisors around Poway, the town the café is in, and with this event on my mind, I began asking around to see what I could have expected if I were in a crash. They directed me to who, in their opinion, is the best in the biz in town, Villasenor Accident Law Firm.

The Poway-based firm and its name holder, Christopher Villasenor, has been helping victims of accidents and personal injuries for over 25 years and has built his brand as the best accident attorney in Poway through blood, sweat, and tears. The firm has helped hundreds of people recover revenues lost due to injury as well as receive restitution for the wounds they’ve received due to the negligence of others.

This whole experience has taught me a couple of lessons:

  1. Don’t expect other people to know or respect the laws and rules of the road. Seriously, the guy honked at me as he drove away, despite the fact that he ran a red light! What a moron.
  2. Accidents can happen at any time, and you need to do the groundwork now to be prepared for the worst if and when it happens.

In the interests of this last point, I highly recommend you seek out the best accident attorney in your area, and make sure you ask other lawyers who it is so you know which one won’t jerk you around and cost you a bunch of extra money with nothing to show for it. If you’re in the San Diego area, I definitely would recommend you seek out the services of Villasenor Law Firm.

Villasenor Law Firm

(858) 707-7771

12396 World Trade Dr, San Diego, CA 92128

Better Land For Man’s Best Friend

Better Land For Man’s Best Friend

Matt Christensen woke up after a long night in his home office. He stumbled into the kitchen for his morning coffee ritual. 30 grams of Estonian medium roast, hand-ground. Unbleached, biodegradable coffee filters steamed for one minute. Sixteen ounces of boiled water, no cooler than 195 F and no hotter than 205 F. Frothed almond milk and a touch of cinnamon.

Photo Of Dog on Grass

“Oreo” was Matt’s canine best friend. He was a well-natured dog who had been with him through many life changes: moving twice across the country, career changes, and a divorce. Oreo loved Matt unconditionally. He would greet him at door with a wagging tail and smile every time Matt came home. Whenever Matt seemed to feel anxious, Oreo would jump up onto his lap and cuddle with him.

Matt had the tendency to take his curiosities to extremes. He was a former marine biologist turned cartographer, with a fascination for all of nature’s creations. He had been up all night in studying the cellular biology of grass. The day before, he noticed that Oreo was walking in a strange way on the lawn. He seemed to be in uncomfortable and wouldn’t place each paw down as he walked. Matt was puzzled. Per his curious and quirky self, he got down on all fours to mimic his four-legged friend.

“Ouch!” he said. The grass was prickly! “How can this be?” he thought. He had spent all summer caring for the lawn to try to grow it into a luscious playground for Oreo.

The next morning, Matt sat down at his desk with his freshly brewed cup of coffee. Through his research, Matt realized that the city he had just moved to was notorious for prickly, yellow grass, rather than the soft, green grass he had been trying to grow for his lawn. The issue seemed to be the moisture levels and the type of clay of the soil underneath. He needed to figure out how to replace the grass in his backyard without a ground excavation. After researching his options for brand new turf, he stumbled upon artificial grass. It seemed like the best choice: easy installation, low maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing.

Now he had to find the best artificial lawn installation company in Orange County. After reading reviews on Yelp, he found NoMow Turf Grass, a service specializing in synthetic grass and pet turf. It turns out that many pet-owners opt for artificial lawns because their animals have been destroying the natural grass. Moreover, it turns out that pets can go to the bathroom on the turf, as long as it is maintained with deodorizer and regular washing.

NoMow Turf has a specialty pet turf line that looks and feels so real that most animals are unable to tell the difference. It is made for pets of all sizes and is guaranteed to withstand the roughest of wear and tear.

If you are interested in a better land for man’s best friend, give NoMow Turf, Inc. a call!

NoMow Turf, Inc. – Synthetic Lawns & Putting Greens
26674 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA 92630, United States

A Top-Rated Company For Your Pest Problem

A Top-Rated Company For Your Pest Problem

Here at the Clute Institute, we focus on local businesses that can make a positive difference in your life, no matter the industry they operate in. Today, we’re looking into the pest control and extermination industry, something a lot of people tend to either ignore completely or look at with some level of distaste, yet is an entirely necessary aspect of what makes modern society possible.

In our ancient past, lack of pest control led to a number of rather horrific consequences – famines, plagues, structural collapses, you name a calamity, you can bet some rather poor pest control could lead to it. In that vein, there are quite a few companies that operate within the industry that have some rather shady practices, leading to the necessity of us once again getting to the bottom of which companies provide good, honest service without the bilking or fraud that is so endemic in our society.

It seems we’ve hit the jackpot with the company we’re spotlighting today – we’ve rarely seen so many glowing testimonials for a small business in our neck of the woods than what we’ve found for Grand Oaks Termite Control in Pasadena. In fact, it may be the best reviewed pest and termite exterminators we’ve found in all our years of reporting.

A quick peek at their Yelp page reveals a number of testimonials that paint a positive and heartfelt picture of the business’s owner and his employees. Carina Z. of Duarte, California, has this to say about Justin, the owner of the company, and his partner Gary:

“I am in awe of Grand Oaks Termite Control. Justin and Gary came out and inspected my home and they were punctual, polite and very knowledgeable. I was so worried about my home being infested with termites, but Justin put my mind at ease. He determined that I had an isolated infestation in one room of my home and that there was no need to be tented. He gave me a fair quote and treatment of the room literally took maybe an hour. He explained that the process would not harm my family or cat and termites and eggs will not survive after the treatment. He and Gary came out a week later for the water damage of the affected area. My husband and I are so pleased and grateful we chose this company. Gary did an impeccable job of the repairs that took about 6-7 hours and you can’t even tell I had any termites or water damage. They are both so pleasant and polite and will highly recommend them to anyone. Thanks guys for an outstanding and affordable job.”


As you scroll through the reviews, each similar in tone to Carina’s, you begin to understand that Justin and Grand Oaks are the real deal, providing excellent service at a very fair price. They go so far as to provide prompt carpentry services to fix damaged wood fixtures in your house as a part of the service, leaving your pest problem in the past in as quickly as a week or less.

If you are in the Grand Oaks area of southern California and are looking for pest or termite control, you could do much worse than getting the guys from Grand Oaks Termite Control to come out and take a look.

Grand Oaks Termite Control

(626) 538-4156

110 S Worthy Dr., Glendora, CA 91741

Don’t Burn Down the Barn…

Don’t Burn Down the Barn…

We as people have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to pest control, and this is exemplified nowhere better than in the agricultural sector. One of the top pesticides used during the corn growing cycle is a chemical called Atrazine, which has an unfortunate tendency to cause hormonal disruptions in any animals that inject it (which is why it’s so effective in the first place).

These endocrine disruptors leach into our water system, where they flow eventually into the natural waterways of our nation to flow out into the ocean. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen before it not only interacts with a significant amount of our natural wildlife, but also our drinking water.

The effects of pesticides like Atrazine on the wildlife that it interacts with are startling and quite concerning – in the frog populations in the ponds and eddies fed by the waterways polluted with Atrazine, it is a common occurrence for male frogs to experience a large number of sexual ailments, from being born with malformed genitalia to having the hormonal profile of a female frog despite being genetically male.

All across our country, the chemical warfare we’re waging against pests are starting to backfire, not only on the environment and animals around us, but also on our own communities. Algae blooms are destroying our natural fisheries, bees are dying due to fungicides and pesticides, and our own health is quickly being shown to be negatively affected by the myriad ghastly poisons we use to try to make our corn product as profitable as possible.

The same mindset is applied to common household pests like cockroaches, ants, and termites. The second these creatures are typically discovered, the first thing most exterminators want to do is get in there and murder the lot of them with some gas made in the early 20th century for ghastly purposes outside the purview of most exterminators.

Well, I say no more to all of that dastardly, destructive hoo hah! If there’s a way to do these things naturally, then I think it’s high time we abandoned our industrial mechanized way of pest control and started taking the naturist’s way, whether that be to eat organic or using all natural termite control!

If you’re in the southern Los Angeles or northern Orange County area and you agree with me, I recommend you start using Natural Science Exterminating for your pest control needs as soon as your next scheduled inspection. The company uses a combination of a number of oils and extractions to naturally deter the critters and pests that are most likely to invade your home, and the concoctions they use to kill them once they’re in are made to harm the environment as little as possible.

Whether your house has already been infested or you’re looking to make sure it never does, don’t settle for more harmful chemicals being sprayed into your living space just to be breathed into your lungs or washed into the water supply, choose Natural Science termite extermination for ethical and conscientious pest control

Natural Science Exterminating

1-800-246-7378

11642 Knott Street #9 Garden Grove, CA 92841

Why Can’t We Just Meet In The Middle?

Why Can’t We Just Meet In The Middle?

No one imagines that their marriage will end in divorce, and when it does happen, most pray and hope that their divorce will be seamless. Why not just split assets evenly and amicably? After all, isn’t heartbreak painful enough to endure? Why add more difficulty to the situation?

But why does it seem impossible to meet in the middle? Unfortunately, the process of separation often becomes more combative than procedural. Lovers turn into enemies; a relationship that began as the art of seduction ends as the art of war. As the old adage goes, “Love and hate are one in the same coin.”

We’ve all heard of funny or horrific stories of parties acting out of spite or pettiness during divorce litigation. As we listen, we wonder how grown adults come to behave so childishly, in an effort to make someone they once loved now feel bad.

What if you find yourself in a divorce where you cannot agree on anything with your soon-to-be-former spouse? You might be embarrassed to admit to family and friends that matters have become tedious.

In the United States, the average divorce costs $15,000 in legal fees, and couples tend to separate more during the holiday and new year season. For those looking for a fresh start in life without the hefty price tag, more and more couples are looking for more cost-efficient ways to cut the cord. Our investigative reporter Jacques Godiva spoke with legal expert Alice Donovan to learn about an alternative to litigation. “In my opinion and experience, litigation requires more time, energy, and money than what most people anticipate. Couples rarely come away from the process feeling like each got what they deserved on fair terms.” Donovan recommends that couples consider mediation. “Mediation is the facilitation of negotiation and resolution by a neutral third party. The meditator helps the couple navigate toward an informed settlement that is privately agreed upon by the family members, rather than publicly in front of a judge.”

We reviewed several divorce mediation firms based in Orange County and were so pleased to find McNamee Mediations that we decided to highlight them here. Mediation specialist Colleen McNamee has a stellar track record and one of the best Yelp reviewed profiles we have ever come across. One of the many five-star reviewers explains how mediating through Colleen had been the best decision she made throughout her divorce:

“I learned that I could a) hire a lawyer, (and he hire a lawyer) and we go through litigation in a very public court room setting with the risk of a bitter fight and be completely drained financially with money we really don’t have, or b) find a good mediator and dissolve the marriage amicably, peacefully and as budget friendly as possible.  I looked everywhere – and found a couple mediators, but none that were as responsive, capable, knowledgeable, calm and professional as Colleen.  I cannot speak highly enough about her.  She is on top of every single detail.”

Photo of McNamee Mediations - Irvine, CA, United States. 2016 Top Legal Power Players in O.C.

If you are considering a divorce through a family law attorney but want to first explore your other options, you can give McNamee Mediations a call.

McNamee Mediations
4590 MacArthur Blvd #500, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Just the Facts on Divorce

Here at the Clute Institute, we stick to the facts and don’t let emotions get in the way. That rule applies to everything, including emotionally heavy subject matter like death, war, and divorce. The fact is, these things exist, and we need to have a way of analyzing them to figure out why they happen and what we can do to best avoid them in the future.

That being said, here are some facts about divorce:

  • While the divorce rate has lowered from its 1980’s high of over 5 divorces per 1,000 people to around 3 divorces per 1,000, it’s estimated that the divorce rate for all marriages is still 50%
  • For first-time marriages, 41% end in divorce. For second marriages, the statistic jumps to 60%. For third marriages, it jumps once again to 73%.
  • For first-time marriages that end in divorce, the marriage typically lasts around 8 years
  • The wife is far more likely to initiate divorce, with women initiating proceedings 75% of the time
  • Divorce rates have more than doubled for people aged 50 or older over the last twenty years

With this knowledge in hand, we know that divorce is not at all a rare occurrence, and every one of use knows at least one person who has gone threw a divorce or grew up in a household where a divorce occurred, if we did not experience this ourselves. The reasons for divorce typically come down to a lack of commitment, too much strife, infidelity, or a lack of reasonable expectations in our relationships, no doubt influenced at least in part by unrealistic portrayals of love and marriage in the media.

If you ever find yourself in a marriage whose end is clearly in sight and about to add to the divorce statistics, you need to know exactly what it is you need to do. The law, as always, is enigmatic and impenetrable to those who have not trained for years in how to interpret it, which means that finding a solid attorney is the logical first step to protect yourself and your family. A good attorney can mean the difference between being out in the cold without a shirt and living at least reasonably comfortably in your new single lifestyle.

For those of us looking for Divorce and Family Law Offices in Orange County, the Clute Institute recommends the Shuff Law Firm, a father-daughter law team that has been operating in the county for the past 45 years. That kind of experience is nothing to sneeze at, and when it comes to attorneys, experience and a mastery over the field of law being practiced go hand in hand.

Many current and former clients have provided testimonials and feedback over the years, leading to a shocking full 5 star review rating on Yelp. The firm’s attorneys are noted as being not only extremely professional and diligent, but also very caring and personally invested in their clientele. Read this review by Laura K. to get a feel for the kind of work they provide:

Read Laura K.‘s review of Shuff Law Firm on Yelp

If you’re looking for a family attorney in Santa Ana or the Orange County area in general, you can’t go wrong with a firm that has nearly 50 years of history and experience.

Shuff Law Firm

(714) 834-0175 2107 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92706

A Home With Your Autograph

When building a custom home, how can you ensure a beautiful house design that is suited for you? After all, your home style is a statement of your unique identity.

Over the years, we’ve seen the landscape of Newport Beach evolve, thanks to custom home builders such as Sailhouse Custom Homes. They offer a wide range of services and are involved in every step of the process – from selecting the location to designing and constructing the home.

We looked at their Sailhouse’s Signature Home offering to understand how they provide the highest quality of design to their clients. Their online portfolio boasts an impressive range of  projects. Distinctive style is highly evident in every project, reflecting the particular aesthetic of the homeowner.

The firm’s portfolio demonstrates its ability to fulfill different tastes, from modern to classic, french to Californian, and traditional to futuristic. Not only are the homes built to impress, they are built to function for the different needs of each homeowner’s life.

Melinda Thomson is a local resident who has lived in Newport Beach for the last 10 years. She heard about Sailhouse Custom Homes through Alex Atia, one of her fellow residents in her neighbourhood, who had a completed custom built home by Sailhouse. “Alex’s custom home became the jewel of the neighbourhood as soon as it was completed. I knew that one day, I too would be the proud owner of a custom home. I reached out to Alex to understand what they had done. I was so impressed to hear how involved the firm was in the design and construction of the home. My main concern was choosing a homebuilder who would be able to execute my vision.”

Melinda describes her style as modern french country. She says that her home’s primary function is to be a space of creativity for her busy family of 3 gifted children. “I wanted a spacious foyer that went straight into the living room so that my children would feel welcome and excited to come home from school every day. My daughter paints and my two sons make pottery. I wanted to have a large living room to basically serve as a creative studio for them.”

Her requirements required some careful planning to choose the appropriate location. Luckily, Sailhouse was diligently involved in choosing the best site for construction. “I also wanted the living room, which would end up being the creative studio, to have large windows facing the sun to let in as much natural light as possible. Sailhouse chose the perfect site and created the perfect design to make my dream into a reality.”

Today, the custom home builder is expanding across Newport Beach, transforming lives, one house at a time. We are impressed by their dedication and expertise, and we can’t wait to see their future projects. If you are interested in turning your custom home dreams into reality, you can give them a call.

Sailhouse Custom Homes
170 Newport Center Dr Suite 220, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Protecting Yourself With A Competent Immigration Lawyer

Here at Clute we pride ourselves on reporting on just the facts when it comes to recommending and reviewing local businesses. When it comes to the difficult and contentious issue of immigration law, we are not going to delve into the ethics and politics of the subject that so seems to plague our nation today.

The fact is, immigration law exists, and it is a complicated and ever-changing maze. There are good, honest people who are in need of legal experts and lawyers who know what they’re doing to ensure that they are following the law and will not get into any unneeded trouble with law enforcement. This goes for those non-citizens that are in our country legally and business owners who are hoping to hire those workers that may not be citizens.

The consequences of not following these laws is just too great to leave to pure chance. You need professionals working at your behest who are diligent, caring, and communicative to successfully stay out of the unforgiving and long-reaching gaze of the law.

To these ends, today we’re profiling a local law firm that specializes in every facet of immigration law: acquiring green cards and visas of all kinds, establishing a pathway to citizen ship, and providing employers with the appropriate documentation that will allow them to work with noncitizen workers. K Nair Law is the premier immigration law firm of Orange County, providing dozens of clients the conscientious care that is so necessary in the world of immigration law.

Kiran Nair, the owner and name holder of the firm, has been working as an attorney for the better part of 15 years, starting off as a criminal defense lawyer for a primarily noncitizen client base. Through her work in criminal defense, she realized she could help more people avoid the rigors of criminal case hearings by providing them with competent legal guidance as an immigration attorney in Orange County, and thus started the K Nair Law Firm.

We realize that, as non-lawyers, it’s easy for use to provide a recommendation based on the limited work we’ve seen but it may not hold as much weight as another profession with more readily observable results, like a landscaping firm. If you are looking for a weightier referral, look no further than the firm’s Yelp page, where Meghan T., a fellow attorney, provides the following observation:

Read Damon M.‘s review of K Nair Law Group on Yelp

K Nair Law Firm is an organization that was built on a passion to help one of the most vulnerable sections of our society, the noncitizens who have fallen through the cracks and are in danger of being reaped by the uncaring scythe of the government. Through this passion, the firm provides dedication to its clientele not often seen from other lawyers in any field, let alone the tumultuous area of immigration.

If you are in need of legal representation or council as a legal noncitizen, or as an illegal noncitizen who is hoping to get back on track towards the bounds of the law, please give K Nair Law a call and schedule a consultation as soon as possible.

K Nair Law

(949) 493-4150

Protect Your Home with Science (and Orange Oil)

Protect Your Home with Science (and Orange Oil)

The Nightmare: waking up with bugs crawling all over you. Horror movies, novels, and creepy stories told around a campfire with a flashlight propped up under your chin tell of bugs taking over your house, your bed, your body. It sounds like a work of science fiction, right? Not for your home. For many homes, it’s a reality.

Termites are determined little buggers that live in colonies and eat wood (yes, the same kind of wood your house is built out of). There can be as many as 60,000 to 1,000,000 termites per colony in your house. It takes a professional to tell how many you’ve got, but if you only have two or three buzzing about a window—that’s a sign of many more. Some numbers even range past 10 million. That’s a lot of bugs. That’s a lot of damage.

They say prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? We take care of our health, our children, pets, and vehicles by doing regular inspections and maintenance work. Why not do the same for your home? In the warm, temperate environment of Southern California, termites can be an overwhelming and expensive issue. Termites will eat the wooden structure of your home, costing expensive and heartbreaking structural damage. Having regular inspections can ensure that your house is not at risk, and if it is, then being on the front end of the issue can still solve the problem!

And what happens if you do have an issue? Take care of it in an effective, natural way. Natural termite extermination in Orange County is possibly the safest way to go about it. Natural Science Extermination uses natural means to get rid of the pests while keeping your family, pets, and plants healthy and live. They use organic compounds like orange oil, which–in the hands of trained professionals–is generally safe and very effective. That’s the part of the horror movie you don’t see–the exterminators coming in with the orange oil! Now, that’s a movie I’d like to watch.

Orange Oil is one of the only organic, certified oils and it is considered an official and primary treatment for dry wood termites. For something lacking chemicals and being safe for your yard and pets—this is a surprising and a huge benefit! And, once the termites have been exterminated, Natural Science Exterminating employs licensed carpenters and other tradesmen that will assist you in the repair and restoration of your home. Not many other termite exterminators can say that, can they? It just goes to show, despite being ruthless bug killers, they’ve got huge hearts for the people and pets they service. 

And, once they’ve gotten rid of the little nasties, they can offer you a low-cost preventative plan! So, let these guys take care of your home with as few chemicals as possible, with preventative care and natural termite extermination. It’s that time of year, Southern California. Let’s beat this intense summer heat and the bugs that come with it!

If you have termites, don’t wait to contact them:

Natural Science Exterminating

11642 Knott Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92841

(800) 246-7378