More coffee is coming to Old Towne Orange while a familiar institution says goodbye.

The Wells Fargo in Orange’s historic plaza is closing next year. The last day tellers will help clients from behind bullet-proof glass and under a soaring ceiling dating to 1928 is March 8, according to letters sent to customers and posters seen at the bank.

The bank property then will be sold, a Wells Fargo employee said Friday.

Meanwhile, a familiar but new concept is brewing at 101 E. Chapman Ave.

According to advertising walls placed in front of the bank tellers, Play Coffee is “coming soon.”

Play Coffee reps in an Instagram message to the Register said the company is “really excited” about its second location opening in Orange. The coffee concept in Fullerton is built inside several shipping containers in the city’s downtown district. Play Coffee on its website says it uses beans provided by local roasters and offers an array of coffee and espresso drinks.

While Wells Fargo announces it is closing the branch at 101 E. Chapman Ave. in Old Towne Orange’s historic plaza, a new coffee concept is ready to stake a claim on the 1928 lobby. Play Coffee says it’s excited to be coming to Orange in 2023. (Samantha Gowen / Orange County Register)

A new coffee concept is ready to stake a claim on the 1928 lobby at 101 E. Chapman Ave. in Orange. Play Coffee says it’s excited to be coming to the city’s historic plaza in 2023. The Wells Fargo branch behind these walls is closing March 8. (Samantha Gowen / Orange County Register)

The Wells Fargo branch at 101 E. Chapman Ave. in Old Towne Orange’s historic plaza is closing in early March. (Samantha Gowen / Orange County Register)



The Wells Fargo branch was no stranger to coffee. The bank was the first to host a Starbucks in the plaza.

The Seattle coffee chain opened a kiosk in the bank’s lobby around 1997. It would go on to serve lattes, frappuccinos and scones for 22 years before closing in February 2019. A second Starbucks opened in 2006 and still operates in the former Dietrich’s coffee on the opposite side of the traffic circle.

At the same time Starbucks was shrinking its plaza presence, coffee shops were percolating on just about every leg of the historic plaza. (There have been a few closures, too.)

Urth Caffe debuted just a month before Starbucks exited Wells Fargo. Also new to “the circle” at that time was Pandor Artisan Bakery & Cafe (formerly Lucca’s). Aussie Bean and Portola (inside Provisions) have since closed.

Even newer to Old Towne’s coffee nation are Philz Coffee, Bluestone Lane Old Towne Orange Cafe and Blk Dot Coffee. And if those aren’t enough for you, there’s also Contra Coffee and Tea, The Pie Hole and numerous eateries that serve hot cups of joe.

No opening date for Play Coffee has been announced, but the signs say “2023.”

Bank employees say they’ll likely be placed at other branches in the area.

Volunteers are needed to support the Meals on Wheels program in Irvine. (iStockphoto)

Volunteers needed for Irvine’s Meals on Wheels program

Volunteers are needed to support the Meals on Wheels program in Irvine.

The program is back up and running after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Seniors are again getting hot meals delivered to their door thanks to volunteer food packers and drivers. The program in the city is organized by the nonprofit Age Well Senior Services.

The organization says it needs at least 20 drivers and three packers each day to keep the meals coming.

Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday for two hours each day. All delivery routes begin at the Lakeview Senior Center at 20 Lake Road in Irvine.

To volunteer, go to, email, or call 949.616.2357.

Founder and CTO of Enevate, Ben Park, left, and Robert Rango, president and CEO, are seen at their facility in Irvine on Friday, June 18, 2021. Rango is retiring and being replaced by Robert “Bob” A. Kruse Jr., formerly of Faraday Future Intelligent Electrics. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Leadership change at battery startup Enevate

The Irvine-based battery startup Enevate Corp. announced last week that CEO and President Robert A. Rango is retiring.

Rango, who will remain on Enevate’s board of directors, is being replaced by Robert “Bob” A. Kruse Jr., formerly senior vice president of product execution at Faraday Future Intelligent Electrics.

“As we look toward the future and the tremendous growth in global electric vehicle markets, we are extremely pleased to welcome Bob Kruse and his deep experience in both the EV and battery industries,” Rango said in a statement. “Bob Kruse will lead Enevate into our next chapter of growth, execution and innovation.”

The company is developing fast-charge, high-density battery technologies. It recently moved into a larger headquarters at UCI Research Park in Irvine.

Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo has appointed Melanie Wolf as its new chief medical officer. (Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital)

.hen Wang has been hired asFounder Community manager at Sunstone Management. Wang, a resident of Arcadia, assumed his role in November. (Courtesy of Sunstone Management)



On the move

Providence Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo has appointed Melanie Wolf as its new chief medical officer. She has 20 years of experience as a skilled internal medicine doctor. For the past year, Wolf has served as chief of the Providence Mission Hospital medical staff and medical director for utilization management. She will assume her new role in early January following the retirement of Linda Sieglen.

Zhen Wang has been hired as Founder Community manager at Sunstone Management. Wang, an Arcadia resident, assumed his role in November. The program supports startup founders, providing technical assistance, mentoring, and network support to founders within Sunstone’s portfolio of companies. Wang is the co-founder and chief financial officer of Extra  Financial Inc, (aka Cheese) which provides simple banking and credit-building services to underserved communities.

UCI partners with Deloitte for accounting scholarships

The Deloitte Foundation has a plan in place with UC Irvine to help certain students entering The Paul Merage School of Business Master of Professional Accountancy program.

The Deloitte Foundation Accounting Scholars Program or DFASP will cover qualifying students with a scholarship to cover tuition (excluding books and living expenses).

The Deloitte Foundation expects to fund $30 million in scholarships for students over the next several years at nearly 20 participating colleges and universities across the U.S. The program is part of a larger $75 million commitment to get more diverse participation in accounting and tax careers.

Interested students should apply to UCI’s Master of Professional Accountancy program for entry in fall 2023 and separately apply to be considered for the DFASP.

For more information about the DFASP, contact Jana Cheng, the associate director of recruitment and admissions for the program, at


The Orange County Community Foundation recently received a $400,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation and a $100,000 grant from The Nicholas Endowment to support its Workforce Development Initiative. WDI aims to create pipelines for community college students seeking career-orientated, middle-skill jobs in Orange County.

Status Update is compiled from press releases by contributing writer Karen Levin and edited by Business Editor Samantha Gowen. Submit items and high-resolution photos to Allow at least one week for publication. Items are edited for length and clarity.

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