Category Archives: Business Spotlight

Frubble to Hold Fundraiser for New Stage

Frubble, the hot Santee eatery that just made the 10News A-List for best tea house (think Thai tea with boba), is having a special fundraising event on Saturday for a special cause – the community. Mark and Caroline Baker, owners of Frubble, opened the restaurant two years ago in part to provide a safe place for Santee kids to hang out. They have three computers, free wi-fi, good food, and plenty of comfy couches and chairs to crash in. In the past they have held an After-Prom night to give seniors a fun, alcohol-free party for after the prom, and Frubble is possibly the only all-ages music venue in East County.

Over the two years, Frubble has hosted over 40 local and regional acts for free concerts, but one thing has been sorely lacking – an actual stage for performances. In order to rectify this problem, the Bakers are holding a special fundraising day on Saturday, January 15, with all proceeds going toward building the stage. Mark and Caroline have worked hard to make Frubble a special place in Santee and a safe haven for kids, and they deserve all the support they can get. If you have never been to Frubble, consider this the perfect time to check them out. Order a frubble and a wrap with homemade chips and you’ll be glad you did (my favorite combination is a large peach frubble and a tuna wrap). You can also donate directly to the stage fund. Frubble is located in the Pathways Community Church center at the intersection of Mast Blvd. and Carlton Hills Blvd. You can also visit them on the web at

More Frubble Stories:

I Frubble, Do You?

Frubble Hosts First After-Prom Party

Frubble Open Mic Night

On Food Patrol – Frubble

Frubble Fundraiser to Help Mobile Home Residents

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Business Spotlight – Simply Spa


Welcome to the second in my occasional Spotlights on local businesses.  This time around the light is shining on Simply Spa, located next to Ross in the Town Center shopping district.

Simply Spa opened in January of 2008 with the goal of providing a “simple” no-pressure experience for clients.  Owners Thomas and Caroline Hootman spent time analyzing the market before opening their doors.  They decided to go with only organic or all-natural products (their only “non-organic” lotion has natural lanolin in it, so can’t qualify as organic), to avoid high-pressure tactics, and to differentiate between men and women clients.  This last decision was not “sexist” – rather it was realistic.  As Thomas explained, men and women have different needs because they carry stress in different parts of the body.  So all the therapists at Simply Spa go through special training to be able to identify a client’s particular massage needs.  Additionally, Hootman says, most men don’t want to come out of a spa “smelling like a woman.”

In order to provide a variety of experiences, Simply Spa has four differently themed treatment rooms: Asian, Mediterranean, New England, and Sedona.  Each room’s theme is carried through colors, scents, and music to give a client the feeling of that particular location.  Additionally, the Sedona and Mediterranean rooms are designed to allow for couple massages.  They also tailor each person’s treatment to their need.  Not everyone needs deep tissue massage, Thomas points out, and it’s up to clients to explain what they need and therapists to find out.  Good communication between client and therapist is important, and the Hootmans insist on that.

The Simply Spa way is to create an atmosphere that appeals to everyone.  As Thomas explains, they want clients to feel “like we’re inviting them to our own home.”  People have so much stress in their lives, and the Hootmans want clients to be able to “forget about their issues and focus only on their own health.”  As a part of this goal, Simply Spa takes many types of insurance (including Kaiser), and it is easy to set up with their program.  They also accept Spa Finder gift certificates and have their own Simply Spa Rewards program in the works.

I can personally recommend Simply Spa.  I went there for a massage after spending several weeks moving furniture, and the entire process could not have been more, well, simple.  I felt more relaxed after that than I had in a long time.  And in case you are wondering, no, I didn’t get a special deal for writing this review.  I had the massage first, then talked to Thomas later about the business later.

Simply Spa is located at 278 Town Center Drive, Suite 101, in Santee.  You can call them at 619-258-5810 for an appointment or you can now book online through their website.

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2009, A Santee Review – Part 4

We have gone back over 2009 in chunks: first January through April, then May and June, and last July through September. And now, at long last, we reach the final months of the year.

The first event I covered in October was the monthly Chamber of Commerce After-5 Mixer, this time at Pinnacle Peak Steak House. This restaurant has been in Santee for many years, and has built a reputation on their food – which is quite delicious. For the Mixer they set out some of their pork ribs and signature baked beans, along with other goodies. It was one of the best-attended Mixers I’ve seen.

The main event for the month was the annual Chamber Awards Night, this year held at Barona Resort and Casino. This is an opportunity to recognize the people and businesses that help make Santee a special place to live. Among the recipients in 2009 were Ronn Hall Insurance as Small Business of the Year, GTM General Discount Store as Medium Business of the Year, and Barona Resort and Casino as Large Business of the Year. There was also special recognition for Santee’s two adopted USMC units: 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines from Camp Pendleton and Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 from Miramar MCAS.

Other posts for October included previews and promotions for the CYT East production of Bridge to Terebithia, a Chamber Business Partnership presentation, Grossmont Center’s Shop for a Cure to support the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Breast Health Navigator Program, and the Auction Stampede 2009 fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County.

November featured two grand openings. The first was Aloha Pet Grooming, located on the west side of Santee; the second opening was Nutrition Zone in the Vons Center. Both are on Mission Gorge Road. Both of these were very well attended, and showed the feeling of community and support Santee has for new businesses. A very special event, although I didn’t get a post up until December, was a fundraiser held at Philippi’s Pizza for a young Santee girl severely injured in an auto accident.

Also in November was the annual Santee Pancake Breakfast to support Santee Santas. This event is held at Fire Station 4 and is hosted by the Santee Firefighters and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. The Firefighters cook, the Deputies serve, and the community gets involved both as donors and sponsors and as hungry guests. All proceeds go toward helping struggling families in Santee.

December kicked off with a preview of the annual Taste of Santee Mixer, then went back to cover two important November events. The first of these was the fundraiser at Philippi’s Pizza Grotto to help the family of Jordyn Niemiec, who was severely inured in an auto accident in October. The event was coordinated by a wonderful group of family and friends who call themselves Team Jordyn, Philippi’s donated a room and a percentage of proceeds, and host duties were shared by local radio personality Clint August and businessman/DJ Thomas Hootman. People came literally from all over East County to help this little girl and her family, donating a total of nearly $8,000.

The other big November event I wrote about in December was the annual Holiday Lighting Celebration at Santee Trolley Square. The Celebration always includes music, community booths, carriage rides, and the lighting of the tree on the amphitheater stage. This year’s entertainment featured Singing Solo and the U.S. Navy Band Southwest Brass Quintet. Even though the overall event was a bit lower-key than the previous year’s, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

December’s big event was the annual Taste of Santee Mixer, which raises funds, food, and toys for Santee Santas. Union Bank in the CVS/Best Buy Center hosts this evening, which brings together restaurants and other food businesses with Chamber members and other community members. Among the dignitaries attending were Mayor Randy Voepel, Councilmember John Minto, Chamber CEO Warren Savage, and incoming Chamber President John Olsen.

Just before the holiday school break, the Lakeside Middle School Show Choir performed a selection of holiday songs at the Trolley Square Amphitheater. The Lakeside Farms Elementary School choir joined the older kids in sharing the musical fun. Other stories I covered in December were a DUI checkpoint conducted by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the planned closure of SR-67 for construction, and the demolition of the old Edgemoor Hospital facilities. Finally, I started off a new Business Spotlight with a post on Prestige Beauty Supply.

This brings us to the end of 2009 – a year with its share of bad news, but still a lot of positives for Santee. January 2010 will bring us new challenges as well as new opportunities to show just what it is that makes this city special. The first event of the year will be the annual Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner for the new officers. I also plan to continue On Food Patrol and Business Spotlight, and I plan to kick off a Meet Your Neighbor series to introduce you to some of the people who make Santee special.

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Business Spotlight – Prestige Beauty Supply

Today I’m kicking off my new “Business Spotlight” series with a post on Prestige Beauty Supply in the CVS/Best Buy shopping center. Prestige focuses on beauty needs and products,  and has been around over 20 years. The store was bought by new owners Janet and Paul Seeger about 3 years ago, and they have worked to keep up the business’s good reputation – especially in light of some poor reviews online about a similarly named shop. From what I could tell the few times I have stopped in, everyone seems to be pleasant, cheerful, and helpful.

Manager Amy Boerner (L) and Owner Janet Seeger (R)

Earlier this month Janet and Paul started what they hope will be a monthly event: Queen for a Day. They know that women, especially mothers, need a little special pampering now and then, so they brought in massage therapists from Chiropractic Healing Arts to provide chair massages at $5 for 10 minutes. They also invited in Mary Kay consultant Cynthia Howard to provide makeovers and Brenda Plasting of Original Sprout to share samples and information.

Chair Massages

You can tell that Prestige is dedicated more to the customer than to the bottom line. Not only are they becoming active in the Santee Chamber of Commerce, they have a working relationship with Sally’s Beauty Supply. If anyone comes in to one of the shops and can’t find what they are looking for, they will be referred to the other store. I found this to be true when I stopped by Prestige to find a wig cap for my daughter (for a role in a church play). Since they don’t carry wig caps separately, the sent us over to Sally’s where we were able to find what we needed.

Prestige Beauty Supply is located at 9740-C Mission Gorge Road. You can reach them at 619-258-2700 or online at, or on Facebook. They also have a shop in Ramona in the Stater Brother’s Center.

Mary Kay Consultant Cynthia Howard giving makeup tips

Brenda Plasting of Original Sprout


Filed under Business, Business Spotlight