Arizona Republic
March 27, 2007

Author: Produced by Hal Mattern, The Arizona Republic

Contributors: William Hermann and JJ Hensley Estimated printed pages: 2

The conversation at most Valley coffeehouses is typically in English, and sometimes Spanish.

But ma foi! At Pleaissant Croissants bakery in south Tempe, the coffee talk, c'est francais, pur et simple.

At least on Fridays between about 10 a.m. and noon.

That's the day Arian Farvin meets with folks who want to polish their French conversational skills. As the coffee is sipped and the croissants are munched, Farvin helps adults get ready for a trip across the Atlantic or perhaps just improve their ability to enjoy authors like Charles Baudelaire, Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola in their original language.

But the emphasis at the Friday sessions is on conversation. Farvin said most of his students have a knowledge of French fundamentals and may be able to read it pretty well, "but it's one thing to read French and quite another to speak it."

"There just is no substitute for regular conversation in French or any other language you're trying to master," he said.

Farvin spent several years in France as part of a church mission. Community service is a requirement in his studies at Mesa Community College, so he figured tutoring would be a good way to comply.

He said anyone who would like to join into the French conversation sessions is welcome to drop by Pleaissant Croissants, on the northwestern corner of Rural and Elliot roads.

Salesman, baker, granola maker

He has been a baker and a salesman, but Jay Lunt measures his future in handfuls of granola.

The Mesa resident, who works for a janitorial supply company, started making all-natural granola in his garage and giving away bags of the goodies as gifts.

But when the former Las Vegas bakery owner realized how well-liked his collection of oats and fruits was, he saw the opportunity to move the operation from garage to grocer.

The product is manufactured by a Tempe-based company and is sold at the AJ's Fine Foods in Chandler.

Lunt also is trying to get Nature's Gold granola in other area grocers, too, because of the growing demand for more-healthful foods. And he says his product is even more nutritious than some items touted as health foods.

"Look at the list of ingredients on the back of the PowerBar, it's like a paragraph," Lunt said. "Mine has oats, honey, raisins, apricots, cranberries and brown sugar."

Not to mention...

... Drug war recruits: The Partnership for a Drug-Free America's Arizona chapter has named three Valley businesspeople to its board. They are:

Chandler resident Jyllene Miller, executive vice president of Arete Sleep Health; Scottsdale resident Michelle Petersen, president of Strategic Learning Solutions; and Phoenix resident Peter Woodfork, assistant general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

CAPTION: Arian Farvin (center, facing camera) leads a French-language conversation group at Pleaissant Croissants in south Tempe. The group meets on Friday mornings.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Business
Page: D2
Column: SEEN & HEARD