Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza Announces Grand Opening of New California Central Valley Location

Central California

May 8, 2017
www.franchising,com

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, the fast-casual concept known for its chef-driven menu and casually hip restaurants, today announced that it will open a new Central California location, in Clovis on May 11. The Clovis restaurant is located at 1840 Herndon Ave., features a 2,500-square foot interior with interior seating for 51 and exterior seating for 26, and is located in the Buchanan Crossroads Center at Herndon and Fowler Avenues. To celebrate the grand opening, the Clovis restaurant will offer FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas on Thursday, May 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Blaze also has additional central valley locations in Lodi (1537 Lower Sacramento Road), Tracy (2976 W. Grant Line Rd.), and Stockton at the Weberstown Mall (4950 Pacific Ave).

Blaze Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” that has been inspiring excitement and cultivating fanatics for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies since it opened its first location in 2012. Each restaurant features an interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu’s signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of carefully sourced, high-quality ingredients – all for around $8. The generously-sized 11″ pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven – the centerpiece of the restaurant – where dedicated pizzasmiths ensure that the thin-crust pies are fast-fire’d and ready to eat in just 180 seconds. Each restaurant makes its own dough from scratch using a recipe developed by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent (the “Pizza Whisperer”), which requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce his signature light-as-air, crisp crust. For pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. The Clovis restaurant will also feature a selection of wine and craft beer.

To create the perfect vibe inside the Clovis restaurant, award-winning design architect Ana Henton has added several unique, modern touches, including an oversized wall graphic custom-built to suit the space. Additionally, in support of the company’s commitment to “Intelligent Choices for Our Pizzas, People & Planet”, the Clovis restaurant will use both recycled and sustainable materials and energy-efficient LED lighting, and will feature eco-friendly, compostable packaging.

“At Blaze, we’re all about creating an engaging dining experience where guests can enjoy artisanal pizza that’s both fast and affordable,” said Jim Mizes, president & COO of Blaze Pizza. “The authenticity of our food, plus a service culture that genuinely focuses on the happiness of our guests and crew – have been key to our popularity and expansion.”

The newest Blaze restaurant is looking forward to building strong roots within the community, offering a spot where guests can connect, create and enjoy. To that end, the restaurant promotes a turnkey fundraiser program that returns 20 percent of an event’s proceeds back to the organization, helping schools, sports clubs and other local groups “cause a scene for a good cause.”

The Clovis Blaze Pizza location will be locally owned and operated by DAMM Fine Pizza LLC, a franchise group developing locations throughout Central California.

Modesto data project to launch

Central California

February 28, 2017
Central Valley Business Journal

 

Modesto, get ready to learn a lot more about yourself.

The city has been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative, a national philanthropic effort to enhance the use of data in the public sector.

“They’re going to help us formulate what measures we should be measuring for our community,” said Deputy City Manager Joe Lopez. “They’re going to help us put it together and publish that information so that it’s useful for our community.”

The project will help the city organize and release more of the data it collects. Such information could include demographics, vacant properties, permit requests, arrest records or traffic stops.

Lopez said the first data to be released would likely focus on the city’s Great Safe Neighborhoods initiative.

Schools and universities, nonprofits, the business community, entrepreneurs, developers and others could use the information for their own projects.

The project will last six months with a possible expansion.

Developers unveil plans for lifestyle center at East Hills Mall

Central California

January 18, 2017
By James Burger
Bakersfield.com

The new owners of the East Hills Mall announced Wednesday plans to renovate the property into a 350,000-square-foot “destination open-air lifestyle center” with restaurants, shopping and a brand new movie theater.

Local developers Chris Hayden and Mark Shuman of MarkChris Investments and Craig and Grant Carver of C & C Properties Inc. purchased the northeast Bakersfield mall in December.

On Wednesday they described their plans for turning the faltering mall into a destination shopping center.

Their plans call for a dramatic change to the complex. The center of the mall would be demolished and converted to an open-air courtyard with a fountain anchored by the new movie theater and flanked by shops and restaurants. The theater appears from plans to sit on the same footprint as the current Regency Theaters.

“We are looking forward to providing Bakersfield and especially northeast Bakersfield an exciting, first-class shopping and entertainment experience,” Craig Carver said in a statement. “Our design inspiration is a blend of mid-century modern and contemporary-style architecture so it will uniquely stand out in the market.”

The plans show room for 10 major retail shops fronting on pedestrian walkways, not the interior space of the mall, as well as plenty of other smaller retail and restaurant space.

They show the addition of five new, smaller buildings along the Mall View Road frontage like those that typically contain stand-alone restaurants and banks in other Bakersfield shopping centers.

Carver said the owners are in lease negotiations with several national and regional retailers and restaurants as well as a national theater chain. He did not name names, which is typical before final deals are struck.

Reconstruction is scheduled to start in the “second quarter or early third quarter” of 2017 and be finished roughly a year later. Current tenants will move out by March 3, a press release said.

It said those tenants will have an opportunity to relocate to the new shopping center at current market lease rates.

The project will need city approvals before it can move forward.

Paul Johnson, a principal planner with the City of Bakersfield, said the property is currently zoned for a planned commercial development.

If the developers choose to proceed under that zoning, they would need to submit plans to the city for review and get approval by both the Bakersfield Planning Commission and the Bakersfield City Council.

If the developers choose to rezone the property, they would have to undergo a more extensive zone change process, which could include environmental review up to and including an environmental impact report, Johnson said.

He said formal plans have not been submitted to the city for review.

East Hills Mall, built in 1988, sits between Mount Vernon Avenue and Oswell Street. There are 250,000 people in the project’s primary trade area and about 500,000 people in a 10-mile radius, said Duane Keathley, senior director/principal at Cushman & Wakefield/Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors.

“This redevelopment has been a long time coming,” he said in a statement. “It’s great news for the people of east Bakersfield and for the city of Bakersfield in general. It will be an impressive retail and entertainment center.”

CalCom and SunLink Partner to Bring Solar to Farms in California’s Central Valley

Central California

February 15, 2017
Business Wire

With shared expertise in designing, permitting, building and optimizing solar energy systems for agricultural operations, SunLink Corporation and CalCom Solar have successfully completed three solar projects in Shafter and Wasco, Calif. – the first in a larger Central Valley portfolio of installations.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170215005355/en/

To streamline all project construction, SunLink standardized its mounting solution design and permit set to align with CalCom’s installation preferences. SunLink PowerCare geotechnical testing was also performed on sites in Madera and Tipton, Calif., to optimize designs and inform the installation teams in order to further accelerate these projects’ timelines. CalCom was then able to customize and complete the installation per that customer’s needs, such as uneven terrain and boundary constraints.

“When it comes to the geotechnical, engineering and installation expertise essential for agricultural solar projects, our suite of products+services+software solutions answers the needs of farmers and growers for lower project costs, reduced risk and easy long-term operation. We understand the project priorities and drivers of this market,” said SunLink CEO Michael Maulick. “Working closely with the other agricultural experts at CalCom, we are able to streamline the entire project lifecycle and deliver more successful energy assets.”

“CalCom Solar has the technology and knowledge that can help make solar work for many farmers both financially and operationally. By going solar, farming operations can significantly lower operational costs, saving them more money annually on utility bills. The system will also help hedge against raising utility rates, delivering significate utility savings over the next 25 years,” stated Dylan Dupre, CEO of CalCom Solar. “CalCom has made a name for itself as a leader in Central Valley agricultural solar with more than 100 MW deployed at some of the largest agricultural sites in the region. We seek out partners who also pride themselves with capabilities in this area, and SunLink’s demonstrated success from engineering to mounting solutions has proven a valuable asset.”

About SunLink

SunLink Corporation brings powerful solar energy solutions to market through innovative, highly engineered products, in-demand customer services and best-of-breed software that make solar PV electricity easier, safer, more reliable and less expensive to install. In addition to bringing to market well-designed products that are agile in their implementation, the company leverages unparalleled R&D, a legacy of more than a GW of successful projects, state-of-the-art engineering and creative problem solving to develop optimized, full-scope product+service+software solutions for roof and ground-mount solar projects of every size and complexity. It is this unique combination of trusted insights, products, services and EnTech convergence that helps solar developers and installers overcome obstacles and furthers the industry’s shared mission of advancing universal solar power adoption. For more information, visit www.sunlink.com or follow twitter.com/sunlink.

About CalCom Solar

Founded in California’s Central Valley, CalCom Solar provides energy solutions for commercial agricultural operations and water management organizations. Today CalCom Solar employs 58 people full-time, and hires as many as 70 temporary employees from the local community. The success of the company reflects CalCom Solar’s sustainability ethic and strong conviction that a company can provide customers with reliable energy solutions, maintain profitability, and have a positive impact on the community and the environment. For more information, please visit www.calcomsolar.co

Wonderful Real Estate Signs 10 Year Lease for 400,000 SF BTS Facility at Wonderful Industrial Park

Central California

Published on Jason Gremillion
Wonderful Real Estate

We are excited to announce our newest success at Wonderful Industrial Park. WRE has signed a 10 year lease for a new 405ksf BTS facility. WRE worked closely with the tenant over the past two months utilizing WRE’s ProCore software to create a seamless and expedited design process. The result will allow WRE to commence construction by mid-June 2017 and deliver the completed facility by February 2018!

Advanced Micro Resource focuses on forensics, training

Central California

Dec 12, 2016
By Kelly Bearden

Successful entrepreneurs must be creative, competent and hard working to succeed. They also must be quick and nimble — able to recognize new opportunities and adjust their business plans and systems to capitalize on emerging markets.

Alphonso Rivera demonstrated these qualities as he guided Bakersfield-based Advanced Micro Resource through the exciting, challenging and ever-changing technology industry.

Like other local company owners who have been clients of the Small Business Development Center at California State University, Bakersfield, the key to Rivera’s success is having a strong, but flexible business plan, marketing strategy and business systems that not only accommodate growth, but encourage it.

Rivera’s company, which is located at 3434 Truxtun Ave., Suite 180, in Bakersfield, focuses on computer education and forensics.

Growing up in Bakersfield, Rivera began tinkering with electronics as a young child. His interest led to his completion of courses at Bakersfield and Taft colleges and then at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied systems management and information technology. He continued his studies at Western Governors University.

His work experience includes jobs with the technology giant Tandy Corp. and with Henkel’s & McCoy, a utility construction company. He worked as the Bakersfield and Rosamond training director for New Horizons Computer Learning Service before organizing his own company in 2000.

The company’s initial focus was on providing computer training and augmenting STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – programs in area schools. Advanced Micro Resource provides instructors and training equipment to enhance student computer skills.

Almond huller’s solar panels make efficient use of land

Central California 

MARCH 31, 2017
Modesto Bee
BY JOHN HOLLAND

A triangle of land is doing double duty at Cortez Hulling, which takes the hulls off almonds at a plant near Ballico.

At ground level is a basin that captures heavy storm runoff directed away from the stockpiles of hulls, which are used mainly for dairy feed. On top are solar panels that provide 74 percent of the plant’s electricity.

JKB Energy of Turlock installed the system that way to minimize the footprint on this high-value ground.

“It uses the land in the most efficient way,” Chad Cummings, director of sales and marketing at JKB, said Wednesday. “I think that fits with the values of the ag industry and the values of solar.”

The plant, at Santa Fe and Cortez avenues, is a longtime part of the California almond industry. Booming sales have led to large gains in land values.

The solar system has cut conventional power costs by about $110,000 a year.

“It keeps our Turlock Irrigation District bill low, and doesn’t get in the way of operations,” said David Thiel, general manager of the Cortez Growers Association, which owns the plant.

Cummings said the installation cost was slightly higher than normal because of the need to put the panels on concrete supports above the basin, but it still penciled out.

JKB is one of several solar companies working with farmers and food processors. They have conserved land also by putting panels on rooftops or using them to shade parking lots.

Three new brewers set their sights on Downtown Fresno

Central California

February 10, 2017
Written by Valerie Shelton

A trio of new brewers are looking to locate production of craft beer to Downtown Fresno, joining trailblazer Tioga-Sequoia.A trio of new brewers are looking to locate production of craft beer to Downtown Fresno, joining trailblazer Tioga-Sequoia.With revitalization efforts well underway in Downtown Fresno, and the success of long-time local breweries Tioga-Sequoia and Full Circle Brewing, other brewers are getting ready to plant their flag near new Fulton Street and revolutionize the area.

Already on tap for some time, Sanger brewery House of Pendragon, which has a popular tasting room in Clovis, is teaming up with Visalia restaurant and gastropub Pita Kabob to bring HoP/PK to an old two-story sports bar located at 820 Van Ness Ave. After more than a year of renovation, the long-awaited 32-tap bar and Mediterranean restaurant is finally set to open by June.

While excitement mounts for HoP/PK, three brand new breweries have also announced plans to establish roots in Downtown Fresno this year.

In January, Border Hop Brewing signed a lease on a 9,600 square-foot building at 721 Broadway St. in the South Stadium District. And just down the street, at 411 Broadway St., another business has signed on to bring a brewery and the city’s first craft distillery under the company name 411 Broadway Ales and Spirits. A third operation, Zack’s Brewing, is currently assessing a property a mile and a half away in the Mural District.

Meanwhile, Downtown Fresno’s two existing breweries are gearing up for expansion. Tioga-Sequoia recently acquired the 14,000 square-foot Amvets building on Inyo and Broadway streets next to its current beer garden and taproom on 745 Fulton St. And under new ownership, Full Circle Brewing is planning to expand its beer selection and production with hopes to bring bottles to local stores.

These stirring plans are just the beginning according to Downtown Fresno Partnership President and CEO Aaron Blair.

“The craft beer industry is starting to boom in Downtown Fresno, and this is a very important part of our success,” Blair said. “They contribute to place making, are growth-oriented exporters and attract tourists. Craft beer is the perfect fit for the ever-changing downtown culture and creative spirit.”

Tioga-Sequoia — the trailblazer

Home of the General Sherman IPA, 99 Golden Ale, and other beers featuring a local moniker, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.’s beer garden has been a popular downtown hangout since 2010. A great place to grab a cold one after a Grizzlies game, the brewery’s outdoor patio has been known to draw hundreds, and even thousands, of craft beer enthusiasts downtown to events like FresYes Fest.

With an additional 14,000 square-foot building at its disposal, Tioga-Sequoia Marketing Manager Michael Cruz said the brewery plans to enhance its current beer garden and ramp up its production.

Currently, Cruz said, Tioga-Sequoia produces close to 9,000 barrels annually, but theoretically, Tioga-Sequoia now has the capacity to produce upwards of 40,000 barrels.

“The top 50 breweries in the country are producing around 80,000 barrels, so this is significant,” Cruz said. “Of course, capacity is one thing and being able to sell that much is another.”

Phase one of expansion plans, Cruz said, is to move all production and storage into the new facility, creating more space for guests at the beer garden. New tanks and upgraded equipment will also be added to steadily increase production, while the beer garden will get a facelift with upgraded aesthetics, such as façade improvements.

Moving into phase two, Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia plans to continue adding tanks and upgrading equipment, and there is a possibility an indoor tasting room could be added for special events. In the beer garden, he said, phase two will come after purchasing the property or renegotiating the lease. The hope, he said, is to add permanent restroom facilities, a pergola, heaters/coolers, misters and other more permanent changes.

In stretching its downtown roots, Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia wants to continue bringing attention to Fresno.

“It was a conscious decision to plant our flag here. Now we want to grow our roots even deeper and help aid the cause of downtown by being a beacon for change,” Cruz said.

Cruz said Tioga-Sequoia is happy to see other breweries choosing to set up shop downtown as well.

“Breweries get along well together,” Cruz said. “The best part is we all know each other. These are local brewers, not big out-of-town brewers who don’t understand the culture, so I think our businesses will all be successful downtown as we support one another.”

An old favorite comes Full Circle

Arthur Moye, one of the new co-owners of Downtown Fresno’s oldest modern brewpub, Full Circle Brewing Co., which first opened its doors in an 8,700 square-foot warehouse on F Street in 2000, said he too is excited to see new breweries headed downtown.

“Revitalization is all about the density of stuff to do, and if there is cool stuff going on in close proximity to Full Circle and more people coming downtown, that is good for us,” Moye said, adding that he envisions an original craft beer community in Fresno that can sustain around 30 breweries.

As others breweries get established downtown, Moye said Full Circle Brewing is focusing on broadening its influence in the craft beer community by bottling its beers to sell in Central Valley liquor stores. To make this possible, three tanks are being added to the Full Circle Brewing system.

Most likely, bottled selections will include Full Circle’s keynote, the Juicy Northeastern IPA, and its flagship Cluster Fuggle Cream Ale, and one rotating seasonal beer.

$1 Billion Neighborhood

Central California

March 31, 2017
Manteca Bulletin
Dennis Wyatt

The 209’s most unique — and what could become the most prestigious — residential address will become available this spring.

River Islands at Lathrop plans to sell the first of 990 lots set aside for custom executive-style homes overlooking the San Joaquin River, Paradise Cut, and the Old River that will also back up to an 18-mile greenbelt park along the water’s edge encircling the 11,000-home planned community.

Lots will range in size from 8,000 to 20,000 square feet and will start at $200,000. To put that in perspective if all of the lots were to sell for $200,000 regardless of size or factoring in inflation over the years it takes for all to be sold, it represents $198 million in land sales alone.

And given the expectations the homes will all exceed $1 million, River Islands will one day be ringed by $1 billion worth of homes.

River Islands Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso indicated initial plans will be to develop 65 lots with no more than 10 lots ever being offered at one time. River Islands is likely to roll out the lots in conjunction with various phases over the community’s projected 20-year buildout.

Dell’Osso said the lots will be offered for a period of a month or so to the 250 people that are on an interest list before they are made available to the general buying public.

When completed it will be the largest concentration of executive-style homes in the Great Central Valley if not Northern California outside of well-to-do enclaves such as Atherton when it is based on housing style and not simply price. There are $1 million homes in San Jose, as an example, that are previously owned KB tract homes that have been closing escrow as well as 60-year-old flattops with less than 1,800 square feet in Marin County.

The homes on the River Islands custom lots will be at least three times the median home value in Lathrop ($357,000) and Manteca ($345,000). To get a financially comparable property in the Bay Area it would have to sell for more than $3 million.

There is nowhere in the Central Valley where you can buy a home site next to a river that overlooks it. That’s because other locations where homes are sold next to the river have their view blocked by towering levees. The custom home sites at River Islands are on top of 300-foot wide super levees — at least six times wider than a typical levee. They have been certified to withstand the maximum flood that the Army Corps of Engineers rate levees for which is a 200-year flood or an event that has a 1 in 200 chance of happening in any given year.

Dell’Osso said the state is in the final stages of reviewing plans for the greenbelt looping River Islands. Besides a path suitable for bicycling, walking, and jogging plans call for exercise par courses throughout as well as planting native shrubs and vegetation.

It will also be universally accessible meaning anyone including non-River Islands residents can use the greenbelt. It also could end up with one — or no — interruptions. Last year River Islands modified the original design for the main entrance via the new bridge across the San Joaquin River so that the greenbelt trail would be connected by a bridge that is now in place across the four-lane road.

The current access road from Manthey Road will eventually be closed eliminating that disruption in the loop trail. The future western access to River Islands may also have a bridge across it to allow the entire trail not to have to cross a road.

That is something that the valley’s existing premier urban riverside trail — the American River Parkway in Sacramento — can’t claim.

To get an idea how far the 18 mile River Island loop trail would be, it is 18.5 miles from downtown Manteca to downtown Modesto.

While the exact name of the trail hasn’t been selected, Dell’Osso said it will be named after Lathrop’s quintessential couple — Bennie and Joyce Gatto.

Almonds from Escalon fuel NASCAR driver

Central California 

Published 4/12/17
Modesto Bee
BY JOHN HOLLAND

A longtime almond processor has launched a snack label aimed in part at motorsports fans. And it is sponsoring a stock car racer who is among the rising stars.

Nut Up, an offshoot of the Roche family’s four-generation business, has 10 flavors of chopped almonds in 1.5-ounce bags available at many grocery stores. It is promoting them with the help of Dylan Lupton, a Sacramento-area product racing on the NASCAR Xfinity circuit this year.

He said by phone Thursday that the nuts are part of a healthy diet that helps him endure the rigors of his sport, including 130-degree-plus temperatures inside his fireproof suit.

“These NASCAR races are pretty grueling,” Lupton said. “You have to be very conscious of what you fuel your body with.”

The Nut Up logo on his suit and car will be the most prominent among his sponsors for at least some of this year’s races, he said. Nut Up also is working with motocross and other motorcycling events.

The new products come from Roche Brothers International Family Nut Co., on Jones Road east of Escalon. President Joey Roche, who long has supported motorsports, partnered on the venture with almond broker Brad Klump.

“In the racing community, there’s not a lot of healthy snacks, so the kids need it,” Roche said during a tour of the plant Wednesday.

Roche Brothers employs about 140 people year-round at the plant and in the orchards. Most of its 20 million or so pounds of annual volume is basic products for the world market. A small part goes to Nut Up, the company’s first retail brand.

The almonds come in garlic-parmesan, ranch, lemon, barbecue, cinnamon toast, salted caramel, Caribbean jerk and a few other choices.

Nut Up also has almond butter in plain, salted caramel and cinnamon toast versions, along with almond flour and meal for cooking.

The products are at Save Mart, Food Maxx, Cost Less, O’Brien’s and a few other grocers. In-Shape fitness centers around the state sell them. So do the Ace hardware stores in Escalon and Oakdale, and the Menard’s hardware chain in the Midwest.

The nuts can be bought online at www.nutupindustries.com.

The sweet ones can be an ice cream topping and the savory ones can go on salads, Operations Manager Haily Azevedo said on the tour. She also suggested rubbing Caribbean jerk almonds onto chicken.

Or, the snack bags can just be part of the meal plan for a family headed to the racetrack.

“We needed to get the younger kids to try almonds,” Roche said. “It’s cool to eat almonds.”