The former Rite Aid building on McHenry Avenue has been sold and will reopen this week as a furniture store.
The site at 2401 McHenry Ave. has been empty since November when the Rite Aid closed to make way for its new location at the southwest corner of McHenry and Briggsmore avenues.
New owner Tom Nguyen closed escrow last month and will open to the public as the Furniture Outlet later this week.
Nguyen, who owned Lifestyle Furniture from 1994 to 2005 at the corner of Briggsmore and Sisk Road, said the time felt right to get back into the business.
"I am really confident about this town, the people of Modesto and this location," he said. "This is the right time to come back for any kind of business. This will be a better year than 2009 and eventually it will all be better."
The Modesto businessman declined to say how much he paid for the nearly 60,000-square- foot building. It listed publicly last spring for $3.3 million.
Nguyen said he will split the space into a 30,000- square-foot showroom with the additional space for warehouse and possible expansion later.
Furniture Outlet will sell new, name-brand furniture including living room and bedroom sets.
Nguyen said he plans to have a staff of about 10 people, including sales, delivery and warehouse workers. The store is still hiring for some positions.
A formal grand opening is planned around the end of the month. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 536-0888.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Longtime Sonora favorite Banny's Café has moved.
The restaurant, which had been in downtown Sonora for 22 years, is now at Mountain Springs Golf Course.
The new Banny's is perched in the Club House at Mountain Springs, 17566 Lime Kiln Road. Husband-and-wife owners Rob and Rosetta Bannwarth said the move was a good opportunity for them.
"The views from this place are amazing," Rosetta Bannwarth said.
Rob Bannwarth continues as executive chef. The restaurant is open only for lunch but will begin offering Friday dinners starting Feb. 5.
Banny's is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Friday dinners will be from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Banny's also does private parties and catering.
For more information, call 533-4709 ...
And finally, Royal India Indian Cuisine is bringing back some of the Early Dawn appeal. The Indian restaurant opened a year and a half ago in the site of the former Early Dawn steakhouse at 1000 Kansas Ave. Earlier this year it opened the other half of the building as the Early Dawn Bar.
Owner Rimpi Hundal, who runs the restaurant with her husband, brother and sister- in-law, said it took longer than expected to get permits and approvals.
She said they asked the former Early Dawn owners permission to use the name.
The bar is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. It features DJ music Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, with live country music on Fridays. The full bar, with a capacity of 135, also features a hookah bar and outdoor patio. For more information, call 524-4400.
Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Marijke Rowland at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; 578-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.