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Santa Monica Means Business:

In recognition of Earth Day 2006, which is observed this Saturday, April 22, the Mirror this week features a selection – merely a selection – of Santa Monica green enterprises which demonstrate that business need not be at odds with the environment; indeed, they can not only coexist but even embrace.

ACME Environmental Group, located at Santa Monica Airport, provides environmentally friendly solutions for construction, heating, cooling, plumbing and power generation. The company, founded in 1996, holds California contractor licenses in general engineering, general building, mechanical, plumbing and solar, and states that it is one of the largest Radiant installers in Southern California. Owner Jacob Gooze says that the business of ACME is “tying together a number of green technologies into one effective combination to provide economic construction, comfort and a small environmental footprint.” Business is expanding rapidly, he says, in response to “local market desire for cost-effective, energy-saving green technologies.” www.acmegreen.com

Cleaner by Nature, serving customers on Wilshire Blvd., is listed as “Los Angeles’ first non-toxic dry cleaner” on the Citysearch website. The company’s nearby plant uses a Green Earth cleaning system that avoids chemicals harmful to the water supply and to soils because the solution breaks down into basic harmless elements. Owner Dan Park took over the business in October 2005, and his son and manager, Eugene Park, says the company remains committed to environmentally safe cleaning.

Roxbury Capital Management, LLC, in the 100 Wilshire building, offers an array of value-added equity and fixed income investment strategies across the market capitalization spectrum. Founded by Tony Browne, who grew up in a Wall Street family, the firm just celebrated its 20th anniversary, employs about 50 people in Santa Monica and has offices in San Diego, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland. Roxbury offers investors the option of a “socially responsible” investment strategy in which companies are evaluated for commitment to community, environment, employees and diversity, and also allows investors to choose specialized screening criteria in an otherwise general portfolio. www.roxcap.com

Minawear Natural Fiber Clothing has been designing, manufacturing and selling hemp clothing since 1998. The company’s products include organic cotton as well, and consist of active wear, loungewear and “yoga wear.” Owner Mina Hegaard expects the company to grow with the market for organic clothing and the popularity of the California lifestyle. Minawear clothing is available directly from the company on its website or at Bikini Islands on Washington Blvd. in neighboring Venice. www.minawear.com

Santa Monica Seafood Company has been a local institution since 1939, first on the pier then, since 1969, at Colorado Blvd. and 12th St. Although the company moved its headquarters to state-of-the-art facilities in Rancho Dominguez in 2003, it supports 23 employees at the Santa Monica retail location, according to General Manager and Director of Retail Ezequiel Rocha. The company only deals in “sustainably caught” seafood, and does not carry, for example, orange roughly because of the threat to the species owing to its 30-year reproduction cycle. www.santamonicaseafood.com

The Ambrose is a 77-room, Craftsman-styled secret of a hotel on 20th St. that owner Deirdre Wallace opened in 2003. Many Santa Monicans have driven by the site without knowing that such a hostelry was there – a tribute to how well it fits in its residential environment. At The Ambrose, housekeeping uses nontoxic cleaning products, rooms feature organic mattresses, and “we did Feng Shui on the hotel as well,” says Ms. Wallace. General Manager Daniel Howery calls the traveling public’s reception of the hotel – which received the Sustainable41 award from the California State Legislature – “remarkable,” and says that a second inn is in the advanced planning stage for nearby Venice.

The Green Media Group, LLC this week introduces Greenopia, subtitled “the urban dweller’s guide to green living.” The book – a shopping guide and resource for the eco-minded – is itself a green product “printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper” and “printed with soy inks.” The Montana Ave. Green Media Group employs 12 and plans to take the Greenopia concept to other cities and other media. Meanwhile, the listings and evaluations of “businesses…that provide green materials, products and services” will be available for purchase locally in bookstores, organic markets and the like. www.thegreencityguide.com

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