Jacques Spitzer
Jacques Spitzer of Raindrop

San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurants, known for its 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants in nine states, has named Raindrop, a San Diego brand agency, as its agency of record.

An announcement said Raindrop will lead brand and website development, photo and video production, media planning and buying, search marketing, social media advertising, public relations and design. As Garden Fresh launches a point-of-sale loyalty program, Raindrop also will revitalize the chain’s brand identity to reach various demographic audiences ranging from the restaurant’s original loyalists to multi-tasking moms and millennials, the statement said.

“The Raindrop team impressed us with their innovative thinking, unique storytelling ability and energized company culture,” said Nicole Bushnell, chief marketing officer of Garden Fresh Restaurants. “This exciting partnership will help elevate the Garden Fresh brand and reposition our restaurants as the place to enjoy a fun, delicious meal with the freshest ingredients, while making memories with family and friends.”

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Bushnell joined Garden Fresh as CMO in September 2019, after spending four years as VP of marketing for San Diego-based Luna Grill restaurants. Garden Fresh opened its first Souplantation in 1978 and Sweet Tomatoes in 1990. The restaurants, serving more than 25 million guests annually, are known for 50-foot-long salad bar, made-from-scratch soups, hot pastas and freshly-based focaccia pizzas, muffins and desserts.

“We are excited to work with a brand that has the same uplifting and energetic core values as we do,” said Jacques Spitzer, CEO, Raindrop. “Our team is inspired to accentuate the best parts of the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes concepts that everyone knows and loves, while introducing new elements in ways the public has never seen before. We look forward to a long, successful relationship with Garden Fresh full of ingenuity and fresh moves.”

Founded in 2009, Raindrop’s client roster includes hospitality and tourism, consumer packaged goods and arts organizations.

Four New Clients for c3 Communications

San Diego public relations firm c3 Communications, specializing in special event promotion and public relations, has announced it has been hired as the agency of record by four clients.

They include: Caliber 3 USA, an Israel-based personal security, combat fitness training and weapons safety company that recently opened its first North America facility in San Marcos; the Jan. 30 opening of the Rincon Reservation Road Brewery, the first certified Native American owned-and-operated brewery on tribal land in Southern California; a presentation ceremony hosted by US Sailing for the 2019 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards to be held on Feb. 2 at the USS Midway Museum; and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego-based nonprofit that raises money for reconstructive surgery for disadvantages infants, children and teens with physical deformities.

Joice Truban Curry founded c3 in 2000.

U-T Reporter Karen Pearlman Honored for School Coverage

Karen Pearlman
Karen Pearlman with her dog Chloe at the beach

San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer Karen Pearlman has been presented with a Golden Quill Award from the California School Boards Association. The award recognizes fair, insightful and accurate reporting on public school news by individual print, broadcast or online news media representatives.

Pearlman was nominated for the award by the Lemon Grove School District. School officials said Pearlman’s stories a board member’s resignation provided context and explanation, a contrast to emotionally heavy TV news reports which focused mostly on vocal, one-sided community complaints about the issue.

It’s the second time Pearlman has won a Golden Quill. Two years ago, the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District submitted her name for the award.

“I try to cover actual, factual news, and I do not decide to cover something based only on perceived ratings,” said Pearlman, an Illinois native who moved to San Diego as a teenager with her family in 1979. She joined the newspaper in 1996 and has covered San Diego’s East County region since 2010. “I’m living my dream as a reporter. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 11.”

Pearlman’s coverage of the 500-square-mile East County area and its half-million residents is not limited to a dozen or so school districts. She also covers East County’s four city councils (El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Lemon Grove) as well as special districts, including fire, water and a healthcare district. She often attends community events accompanied by her rescued dog, Chloe.

San Diego Press Club to Host Social Mixer

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The San Diego Press Club will host “Cheers to the New Year,” a social mixer from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd. Admission is $20 per person, which includes appetizers, live music and a cash bar. Press Club board members will be available to discuss 2020 plans and volunteer opportunities. The 21-and-over event is open to the public. Members and prospective members are invited to attend. For more information and to register in advance, visit www.sdpressclub.org.

Rick Griffin
Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.