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Week In Review

December 30, 2007

The ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles saw a lot less traffic this year, a sign that retailers played it conservatively this year, said Eduardo Martinez, an economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, which also researches business trends in Orange County.

Orange County is especially vulnerable to the subprime mortgage problem because of a concentration of mortgage lender employees in Irvine and Orange, Martinez said.

 El Pollo Loco, the fast food chain headquartered in Costa Mesa, announced that it would open more than 50 new restaurants nationwide in 2008 after netting $45 million in equity funds.

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Julie Weeks, the company’s vice president for communications, said the funding would go toward corporate needs and also toward new restaurants in the South, New England and other regions of the country.

El Pollo Loco opened its first restaurant in Mexico in 1975 and now operates more than 350 U.S. locations.

“We’re very excited to continue to expand this wonderful brand across the nation, and we look forward to the opportunity to share with more people our great food,” Weeks said.

EDUCATION

Two buyers looking into purchase of Rabbit Island

OCC’s Rabbit Island will get visits from two potential buyers early next year, OCC Foundation Executive Director Doug Bennett said Wednesday.

Bennett was admittedly surprised the college was approached this time of year. After the school nearly closed escrow in October only to have the deal fall through, Bennett said the chances of selling the island before next summer were slim.

Rabbit Island is a 36-acre island north of Vancouver at the top of the Strait of George in Canada. Yachting enthusiast Henry Wheeler donated the island to OCC in 2003.

The island’s annual maintenance proved too much of a financial drain for the school and was placed on the market earlier this year. The island is listed at $2.495 million.


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