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AROUND THE VALLEYS – October 29, 2012

SANTA CLARITA VALLEY VALENCIA Family restaurant Mimi’s Café has opened a test concept of a “store within a store” at its Valencia location. The new layout of the French Country-themed eatery includes a bakery, a café serving specialty coffees and a grab-and-go section where customers can get items such as quiche to take back to the office during a lunch break. “We’re calling this our French revolution brand reimage program,” said Mark Mears, Mimi’s president and chief concept officer, and a resident of Santa Clarita. “This is a whole new business model.” The Valencia location was chosen out of the 145 Mimi’s nationwide because of its proximity to the company’s headquarters in Irvine. The chain is a subsidiary of Bob Evans Farms Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, “We really wanted a Southern California location, given that we’re based in Southern California,” he said. The concept will eventually extend to all Mimi’s locations in 24 states. Mears said that so far the restaurant, which opened Oct. 12, has been well received and might eventually lead to stand-alone bakery and café locations within strip malls. The new concept has created 50 new jobs in Santa Clarita. Bakers, bartenders, baristas and waiters were hired to oversee the operation. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY WOODLAND HILLS JMPR Public Relations of Woodland Hills has been hired to handle the U.S. marketing of Infiniti, the luxury nameplate of Japanese car company Nissan Motor Co. The firm will handle the launch of the Infiniti JX, a seven- passenger luxury crossover, and a zero-emission luxury sedan. It also will do broader work, such as developing a lifestyle campaign to help the brand reach new customers. “Infiniti is entering an inspired era and we are so excited to be a part of it,” said JMPR owner Joseph Molina, in a statement. JMPR is a 35-year-old agency that focuses on promoting specialty vehicles. It counts Bentley Motors of Cheshire, England and Automobiles Ettore Bugatti of Alsace, France among its clients. Molina was originally a journalist covering music and entertainment before he moved to the public relations side of the media business and focused on car campaigns. ENCINO NAI Capital, an Encino-based commercial real estate brokerage, has launched an international division called Asia Pacific Group. The division includes a dozen professionals familiar with Chinese, Korean, Japanese and South Asian cultures. The group will help Asian companies and investors who want to expand into North American real estate. “APG recognizes the changing demographic in the U.S. as some high-density cities now have more than 50 percent Asian population,” said Daniel Hu, founder of Asia Pacific Group, in a statement. “This population is rapidly increasing along with the new trend of Asian investors coming to U.S. and injecting billions of dollars into the market. NAI has 14 offices in Southern California. APG is headquartered at 500 Citadel Drive in Los Angeles. The group opened for business Oct. 17. CONEJO VALLEY THOUSAND OAKS Hardata Corp., an Argentinian company that develops software for broadcast and entertainment companies, has hired Philip B. Cox as its chief executive. Cox, a veteran local tech executive, has been hired to establish a global headquarters for the company in Thousand Oaks. Hardata is seeking to grow its international business. “Philip Cox brings the high level leadership and international connections that we wanted, and he will be spearheading initiatives to expand Hardata’s reach and manufacturing capacity,” said Gustavo Pesci, the company’s co-founder. Hardata makes software that allows radio and television broadcaster to manage digital content distribution. Among its customers are 3,000 radio stations. It also serves the television industry. The company’s global headquarters will be on Hillcrest Drive, but it will maintain an office in Buenos Aires. Cox previously worked at several area technology companies, including CalAmp Inc. in Oxnard and 360 Systems in Newbury Park, where he was involved in managing the sales organization and international marketing. – Staff reports

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