The JackRabbit mini e-bike. Image from company video

Battery based e-bikes have soared in popularity in recent years—as ubiquitous as the famed beach cruisers seen up and down SoCal’s ocean front communities. Well, a team of three San Diego entrepreneurs are coming to the end of their Kickstarter campaign for the second generation of their JackRabbit mini e-bike. The campaign ends Sept. 2.

The diminutive 23-pound e-bike, which features a swappable battery, is the collaborative brainchild of Jason Kenagy, JackRabbit’s co-founder and CEO, who previously spent 23 years at Qualcomm; Tom Piszkin, who has more than 35 years in designing bicycles; and cycling enthusiast Dave Doehr, who heads up the marketing effort. The 2020 version of mini e-bike will sell for $499 if one pledges that amount before the campaign closes.

According to their team’s Kickstarter website, the campaign has raised just close to $68,000 of their $80,000 goal as of Aug. 24. They hope to sell at least 200 bikes from the campaign and then another 200 before opening an e-commerce site next year where they will peddle direct to consumers.

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COVID news: Local cable and internet service provider Cox Communications recently donated 112,500 medical-quality face masks to Sharp HealthCare in San Diego to support hospital workers’ efforts to combat COVID-19. The James M. Cox Foundation, Cox’s charitable arm, partnered in the donation. The gift is part of a package valued at more than $2.2 million to help hospitals in their response to the pandemic.

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San Diego-based eco-coffee purveyor National Parks Coffee Company will officially start operations Aug. 25 with the introduction of four of its planned 12 single-serve ground coffee packets that feature no string, tabs or plastic wrappings. Each of the new bags is named for a national park: Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree. Local entrepreneur Ray Hivoral launched his new coffee company with an initial investment of $100,000 of his own money as startup capital and he owns 100% of the business. The Aug. 25 date marks the 104th birthday of the National Park Service, established in 1916.

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And speaking of new products …. popular Miramar neighborhood distiller Cutwater Spirits is launching the latest in a long menu of prepackaged cocktails—a Long Island Iced Tea drink. The tea features rum, gin and tequila mixed with cola, citrus, tea and honeysuckle. The drink represents the 20th in a series of packaged spirits introduced by the distiller, according to co-founder Yuseff Cherney. He launched with partner Earl Kight in 2017. Oh, by the way, the new concoction has quite a kick, 13.2% alcohol by volume, or ABV. Cheers!

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Independent regional natural grocery store chain Jimbo’s has started renovations at its Carlsbad location. The work is expected to be completed later this year. A media release said that inspiration for the re-do come from the design and layout of its Carmel Valley store, which opened last year. The grocer is adding new cases in produce, dairy, meat and deli sections, as well as expanding the bakery and outdoor dining area. Store founder Jim “Jimbo” Someck said plans to eliminate single-use plastics after the remodel is completed.

A home for sale in Del Mar in July. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Median home prices in San Diego hit a record high, touching $634,000 in July, according to a report from consumer reporting agency CoreLogic. That median price is 9.3% higher from same time a year ago. In June, the figure hovered just over $600,000. In addition to San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties all saw home selling prices touch record levels. The median price of a home in the region was $585,000 in July, up 8.5% year-over-year and up almost $30,000 from June’s record high. That is the largest one-month price hike in CoreLogic’s 32-year-old history of tracking.

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Well, San Diego’s hospitality industry may have taken a licking in the Pandemic, but it keeps on ticking, according to the latest mid-year survey of hotel development in California published by Orange County hotel broker Alan Reay. The county is adding four hotels with 458 rooms; the largest being the 142-room Homewood Suites in Carlsbad. The report found there are 11 hotels with 1,238 rooms under construction countywide, with the 226-room Destination Hotel Resort in Oceanside the largest. The county has 100 hotels (up 2% from 2019) with 16,125 rooms in the planning stages (down 9.8% from last year).

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Finally. Let the games begin! Chula Vista’s Seven Mile Casino is moving to the great outdoors. On Aug. 25, the casino’s cardroom reopens after shifting operations to a 5,500 square-foot tent, which was set up to better protect guests from potential infections from the COVID-19 virus. More than 250 workers have been recalled from furlough, which is particularly good news for the city’s economy.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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