Business Buzz – January 2020

(Elana O'Loskey, Photographer)
The staff at Travel Adventures Unlimited welcome the community to their new office at 1515 Oakland Blvd, Suite 100 in Walnut Creek. Back row (L-R): Sheena Shastri, Randie Lundy, Michael McKay II, Sarah Klein, Valerie O’Connell and Ari Kim. Front row (L-R): Jennifer Shindelus, Coleen O’Connell and Allison Conrad.

Travel Adventures Unlimited
    Valerie and Colleen O’Connell are a dynamic mother-daughter team. They developed their Travel Adventures Unlimited (TAU) Locust Street location in Walnut Creek to the point where they were bursting at the seams. Their new offices at 1515 Oakland Blvd. in Walnut Creek are light filled and spacious.
    The main floor is punctuated by comfy bright purple chairs in front of each travel advisors’ station except for the two rocking chairs for those who prefer to rock. Framed photos from every corner of the globe shot by clients beckon one to Egypt, Africa, Russia, France, Australia, Japan, China, Antarctica and Switzerland.
    Success breeds expansion and the O’Connells say their success, 35 years in the making, is largely due to returning clients and word-of-mouth referrals. But they say it’s the network of 50 TAU Bay Area travel advisors who make it all real for clients. These advisors journey regularly to every continent to gather information ensuring clients’ travel needs are arranged down to the last detail.
    Advisors say the collegial environment means they can work together, develop individual specialties and refer to each other depending on what the client wants to do.
    “We have trusted relationships around the world that are local in destination; this means we can offer unique travel experiences,” says travel advisor Sheena Shastri of Orinda.
    Visit Travel Adventures Unlimited at 1515 Oakland Blvd., Suite 100, Walnut Creek, call 925-935-7447 or 800-788-0193, email them at or go online to for more information.

(Elana O'Loskey, Photographer)
Ariston Heating and Cooling brothers Alekos and Michael Gailas are offering a 10% discount on installation to readers of The Orinda News who are new customers in the month of January.

    Alekos Gailas and his brother, Michael, who grew up and attended schools in Orinda, are now busy installing HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units in Lamorinda, the Diablo Valley and beyond.
    Locals may remember Alekos Café, the previous incarnation of Orinda’s Petra Café. It was owned by Alekos’ father, Alexander Gailas, who now owns AG Realty, also in Orinda.
    A Moraga resident, Alekos has been a local, licensed C20 contractor since 1988 and opened Ariston Heating and Cooling (Ariston) in 2016. He and his team work out of a warehouse in Concord.
    “There’s no point in opening a local business if you can’t help your neighbors,” says Alekos. He says Ariston is derived from the greek Αριοτων meaning the “best, excellence.”
    “We offer experience with smart home, integrated high-efficiency heat pump/air handler upgrades, furnaces, hybrid and dual-fuel solar-optimized systems, air conditioners, ducting and indoor air quality,” says Alekos.
    As to staying on the leading edge of HVAC equipment, he says it takes constant training and traveling to keep up with industry changes.
    According to Michael, figuring out the correct system – and the choices are many – increases property value, decreases utility bills and elevates comfort. They both say it is only after the right HVAC for their 21st century home is installed that customers experience the reality of these promises. Judging by their Yelp reviews, Ariston keeps its promises.
    Contact Ariston at 925-421-0888, email them at or visit to explore more about their services.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.