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3,500 applicants for 175 positions; tasting room possible for GeyservilleMi Pueblo Foods opened its San Rafael store, renovated from a 36,000-square-foot shuttered Circuit City store, on Wednesday. About 3,500 people applied for 175 jobs in the store, according to the company.

The San Jose-based ethnic-flavored grocery chain plans to open a Vallejo store in 2011.

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[caption id="attachment_19606" align="alignright" width="313" caption="The second location for Rancho Mendoza Super Mercado, located in Palm Square in northwest Santa Rosa, was being prepared for opening last week. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)"][/caption]

Rancho Mendoza Super Mercado is reworking 14,000 square feet of former high-technology development and furniture store space at 1201 Piner Road in northwest Santa Rosa to create a second location.

The market's 7,000-square-foot first location is at 640 Sebastopol Road in the southwest area of the city.

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last week expanded the critical habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog into six counties not covered by the 2006 ruling on habitat, including 21,814 acres along Mill Creek on the Mendocino Coast and two locations in Sonoma County, encompassing 1,564 acres in and around Annadel State Park east of Santa Rosa and 4,932 acres on Sonoma Mountain.

That's part of 1.6 million acres declared as habitat statewide as part of a court settlement.

Previously designated North Bay habitat includes 2,524 acres on Wragg Creek in east Napa County, more than 61,000 acres in north and west Marin County and nearly 12,000 acres in Sky Valley of Solano County.

The new rule includes the 4(d) "safe harbor" rule for land-use activities that help frog population recover, such as stock ponds. Also in the new rule is the expansion of habitat from 200 feet away streams in the previous rule to 1 mile.

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Ken Lafranchi of Santa Rosa-based Lafranchi Architecture and Development said the bulk of interest for the forthcoming remodel of the 2,400-square-foot Geyserville Post Office is coming from a group of boutique vintners interested in setting up a collective tasting room. Also interested are a beer-tasting venue and a bakery.

Despite some setbacks in recent times such as the departure of Lampson Tractor & Equipment to Cloverdale and Santi's restaurant for Santa Rosa, the community has been garnering attention from such companies because of its location as the gateway to Alexander Valley wineries and River Rock Casino, according to Mr. Lafranchi.

He has a building permit to undertake the seismic retrofit and have the building ready to occupy this summer, depending on signed leases. The project could cost $300,000, split between renovation and improvements.

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The Dutra Group's proposal for an asphalt plant and aggregate distribution facility along the Petaluma River was postponed from March 16 to the May 11 Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting.

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Memphis-based AutoZone plans to finish its two North Bay stores under construction by year-end. At the Napa Junction mixed-use development in American Canyon, the car parts retailer plans to build a 6,800-square-foot store by the end of December, according to a spokeswoman. A Petaluma store under construction is set to be done by May.

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Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256 or fax 707-521-5292.