Category: New Location

1,000-plus new jobs coming to Stockton, Tracy

Two new employers are coming to San Joaquin County, each promising 500 or more well-paying jobs to a region with an unemployment rate that is 1 percentage higher than the state average.

The city of Tracy on Thursday announced that Katerra, a Menlo Park-based firm, will open a 577,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the first half of 2019. The building is under construction.

Katerra plans to open a high-tech factory that will produce building components including wall panels, floor systems, windows and cabinets.

Downtown Stockton, meanwhile, is the intended home for ConSol USA, a new firm that founder Robert Tibbs said will focus on developing artificial-intelligence technology to be used in the medical and financial sectors.

Of special note concerning ConSol USA is its planned workforce. Tibbs, 63, said he intends to provide jobs to young people from Stockton, giving them opportunities to begin in entry-level positions that will lead to living-wage careers with the company.

“We really have to demonstrate we’re committed to the (geographic) areas that really have the most needs,” said Tibbs, who added that he escaped an impoverished childhood to become a lifelong entrepreneur.

“It’s about zeroing in on communities like Stockton and putting our money where our mouth is. There are thousands of people in the Stockton area that have as much talent, intellect and energy as do I. It’s about giving them an opportunity.”

The ConSol USA plan was announced Thursday at a news conference featuring Mayor Michael Tubbs, the University of the Pacific and Valley Vision, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization.

The main purpose of the news conference was to publicly release a “workforce development action plan” for Stockton produced with private funds. The 30-page plan offers a road map intended to bring better-paying jobs to Stockton while developing a better-prepared workforce to fill those positions.

“We want to build a future here in Stockton,” Tubbs said. “If we continue the status quo, we will continue to grow low-wage jobs. This report outlines our challenges but it also shows that with the right focus, we can set Stockton on a path toward economic prosperity.”

According to government data, Stockton’s 6.3 percent unemployment rate at the end of May was 2.1 percentage points higher than the state’s jobless rate of 4.2 percent. San Joaquin County’s unemployment rate in the same government report was 5.3 percent. Tracy’s was 3.4 percent.

At roughly the same time as the Stockton announcement, Tracy Mayor Robert Rickman spoke optimistically about the new jobs Katerra will bring to the region beginning next year.

“Tracy’s proximity to workforce talent, affordable land and state-of-the-art building opportunities provide a business-supportive environment for advanced manufacturing companies such as Katerra to thrive,” Rickman said.

Tibbs said he hopes to have a more detailed announcement of ConSol USA’s plan within two months.

What’s the deal with Dunkin’ Donuts?

What’s the deal with Dunkin’ Donuts?

Dunkin’ Donuts is teaming with shoe brand Saucony for a limited edition athletic-shoe company created for the Boston Marathon. The pink and orange sneaker is sure to make you hungry! Buzz60


new development on the corner of Mooney Boulevard and Walnut Avenue has Visalia residents buzzing.

The nearly-completed building has room for three tenants, one of which has a drive-thru window facing Mooney.

Rumor has it Dunkin’ Donuts will soon be filling the space.

Employees of other businesses in the area also heard a bank and Chick-fil-A are vying for the new space.

But with “available space” signs posted on every corner of the property, for now, the potential list of businesses is just that — a rumor.

A new space

While the location has not been confirmed, a Dunkin’ Donuts is making its way to Visalia.

“A location for Dunkin’ Donuts is currently planned for Visalia, but I can’t confirm any other details at this time,” said Tricia Paulson, an account executive with Fineman PR.

According to the coffee giant’s website, there are more than 12,500 locations worldwide that serve approximately 2 billion cups of hot and iced coffee every year.

Over the long-term, the company plans to grow its U.S. presence resulting in more than 18,000 restaurants, according to the website.

If they do decide to make Visalia their new home, the location on Mooney and Walnut could bring the coffee and doughnut magnate a steady flow of foot traffic.

In July 2016, commercial real estate developers, The Orosco Group, purchased the building formerly home to Weatherby’s furniture.

The Orosco Group, based in Monterey, has several developments throughout the city, including the heavily-visited Packwood Creek shopping center, also on Mooney.

Currently, the company is also working to finish the new Starbucks in Tulare, located at the southwest corner of J Street and Cross Avenue.

The company has kept the list of potential tenants quiet since the start of the project, creating speculation among residents on what businesses will soon take over the corner.

Liz Wynn, a Visalia planning commissioner, said it is normal for developers to keep the lid shut on new developments. Still, she said if they had tenants who had already agreed to move into the building, the public would know.

“If they had it pre-leased, they would have already announced it,” Wynn said.

Wynn, who originally voted against the development because of limited parking and the idea of a drive-through on the busiest intersection in the county, also heard a Dunkin’ Donuts was a probable tenant.

Build it and they will come

Patrick Orosco, a partner with the group, said he could not discuss any businesses looking into the spaces on Mooney and Walnut just yet.

But, community members won’t have to wait much longer.

Visalia residents can expect to find out which businesses will move into the building in about a month, Orosco said.

The building will hold one fast-casual restaurant and two retail spaces.

“We’re getting quite close with two of what will be three tenants,” Orosco said. “We’re not at the point where things are signed yet.”

There are several benefits of building commercial space before leasing to tenants, Orosco said.

“Tenants have more certainty than ground-up projects that can take years,” he said. “For large-scale projects, you find raw dirt, typically ag land. The starting point for them then tends to be more elusive.”

Having a building complete or nearly complete before signing contracts also means all businesses are on the same time frame.

A newly-completed building with modern design also helps bring larger companies to smaller cities like Visalia and Tulare. The design seems “familiar” to companies with locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Orosco said.

“Oftentimes, retailers come from outside of Tulare County,” Orosco said. “They test the concept in larger demographics then backfill smaller markets.”

The new designs can also add a modern look to once-dated areas.

“Our goal is to leave it better than it was before we touched it,” Orosco said. “We want to create best of class projects and bring cutting-edge trends in architect and landscaping.”

HVAC company expands in Central Valley


  • Legacy Air opens new Bakersfield operation
  • “Legacy Air … now is entering a new phase of growth”

The Brea-based HVAC service company known as Legacy Air is expanding its footprint in the Central Valley with the opening of a new office in Bakersfield. Legacy opened a Sacramento office earlier.

“Legacy Air has grown significantly since the company was founded and now is entering a new phase of growth with our expansion in Hawaii and throughout California,” says Jay Parker, president and founder of Legacy Air.

The new Central Valley office in Bakersfield is Legacy Air’s fifth  in the state. At present, the company also has California branches in San Diego, Orange County, and in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas. The new office will support the growing demand for Legacy Air’s services in California as well the needs of service technicians in the field.

Donovan Taylor has been named service manager at the new Bakersfield office. Mr. Taylor brings more than 17 years of experience in the HVAC service profession to his new role. He first joined Legacy Air in 2017 after being a college instructor, entrepreneur and residential HVAC professional in Bakersfield. In February 2018, he became an interim service manager in Los Angeles.

Legacy Air’s technicians work on HVAC, refrigeration, kitchen equipment and preventive maintenance projects for customers ranging from restaurants to cell towers to big box and convenience stores.



Facility for Manufacturing Building Components to Be Located in California’s Central Valley

Menlo Park, CA – July, 2018 – Katerra, a technology company redefining the construction industry, today announced its plans to open a new advanced manufacturing factory in Tracy, Calif., where it will produce building components including wall panels, floor systems, roof truss assemblies, windows, cabinets and finishes. Manufacturing of building components in a factory setting allows for rapid assembly at the job site, significantly reducing construction time, costs and waste while improving quality.

Katerra is expanding its U.S. operations as it delivers on $3.7 billion in new build project bookings. With its new 577K square foot factory, Katerra’s manufacturing presence in Tracy will add more than 500 jobs. This new manufacturing facility will complement Katerra’s existing California operations, including its headquarters in Menlo Park and office in San Francisco.

“Establishing a manufacturing presence in the Central Valley made sense to efficiently serve the West Coast market while gaining access to talent to operate advanced robotic equipment,” said Michael Marks, chairman and co-founder of Katerra. “We’re excited to be adding jobs to California’s economy as we apply technology to deliver high-quality buildings faster.”

Katerra’s integrated factory model seamlessly connects building design to the factory floor and job site. Compared to its first factory located in Phoenix, Ariz., Katerra’s next generation plant will be an advanced manufacturing facility with significantly more automation. The operation will include fully automated wood frame wall production lines, automated floor lines, automated cabinet and finish areas, automated roof truss lines, an automated window line and a light gauge steel production line. The factory will be able to produce, on an annual basis, the equivalent of 12,500 multifamily units.

“We are very excited about the economic impact that Katerra will bring to the City of Tracy and the region,” stated City of Tracy Mayor, Robert Rickman. “Tracy’s proximity to workforce talent, affordable land, and state-of-the-art building opportunities, provide a business supportive environment for advanced manufacturing companies such as Katerra to thrive. I would like to welcome Katerra to the City of Tracy and thank them for ‘Thinking Inside the Triangle’.”

Additional facts and figures about Katerra’s Tracy factory include:

 The new facility will be strategically located near rail, shipping ports and freeways

 To support the factory’s operation, more than 500 jobs will be created in San Joaquin County, which is designated by the state as a high unemployment area

 Production is slated to begin in 2019

In addition to its factories in Arizona and California, Katerra is constructing a mass timber manufacturing facility in Spokane, Wash., which will produce cross-laminated timber wall panels and floor systems when it comes online in 2019. Katerra’s near-term manufacturing expansion plans for the U.S. includes three more building components factories to serve the South and East Coast markets, as well as another mass timber production facility to be located in the Southeast.

About Katerra

Katerra is a technology company optimizing every aspect of building development, design, and construction. With leaders from the most groundbreaking technology, design, manufacturing and construction companies, Katerra transforms how buildings and spaces come to life. Founded in 2015, Katerra has a growing number of domestic and international offices, factories and building projects. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Robin Clewley | VP, Marketing & Communications, Katerra



Published On June 15, 2018 – 11:40 AM
Written By Edward Smith, Staff Writer

On June 16, Macy’s in the Visalia Mall officially unveiled its newest addition—the off-price retail brand Macy’s Backstage.

Macy’s celebrated the event with a DJ, photo booth and food vendors, as well as giveaways throughout the day and scratch-off tickets for the first 200 guests with prizes for the grand opening, according to Raul Diaz, store manager. The ribbon was cut at 9:50 a.m., shortly before the store opened.

Over the course of only a month, the clothing retailer transformed 14,000 square feet of its second floor to the company’s newest foray in the fight against slipping sales by introducing “the thrill of the hunt” into its shopping experience.

Off-price retailers often work by ordering clothes in volume and out-of-season to sell them at a deeper discount. In the case of Macy’s Backstage, a whole division with its own executives was dedicated to not only shipping but ordering as well. The project began in 2013 with 60 stores, according to Joy Deinla, media relations director at Macy’s and in 2018, it will open 100 new stores across the nation.

The store looks like a Ross or Marshalls with racks of discounted men and women’s clothing, footwear, handbags, even furniture and toys.

“For us, it’s about the thrill of the hunt,” said Diaz. There are brands familiar to Macy’s shoppers as well as brands exclusive to the Backstage division of the company that shoppers can search through to discover those rare finds.

“If there is a brand that matters most to this community, we have the opportunity to communicate that,” Diaz said.

This all comes as stores like Macy’s and JCPenney have been falling in terms of sales with the rise of online competition.

In fiscal year 2012, Macy’s generated $26.4 billion in revenue which represented 5.6 percent growth for the year, according to the stock analysis website, That percentage fell each year, bottoming out in fiscal year 2017 to $24.837 billion, down 3.7 percent compared to FY 2016, according to Business Wire.

“Department stores have not been performing well over the last five to seven years,” said Farla Efros, president at Illinois-based HRC Retail, who advises both healthy and unhealthy companies on business strategies. “It’s been a slow burn and has heightened over the last two to three years when debt repayment started to become an issue.”

Last year, Macy’s closed 70 stores across the country and has closed 156 locations since 2008, with another 11 coming closures announced for this year, according to a June 8 article in the Buffalo News.

Part of the problem has to do with competition. Beauty sections have been affected by competition from smaller and sleeker Ulta and Sephora brands while online shopping has affected all ends of the business.

“Because they’re not vertically integrated, they don’t really make that much of their own product,” Efros said. “All of that product is available on Amazon.”

To turn that around, the store hopes to use customer experience to bring people in. The ability to feel the clothes and hunt for bargains is an incredible magnet.

Being able to touch and feel the clothes is a major draw, said Diaz. Also, sifting through racks is a big part of getting people in the stores.

It’s about the treasure hunt. Efros calls it the “fear of missing out,” and its something that Costco and TJ Maxx have done incredibly, she said.

“I need to keep going back there because you never know what I can get,” Efros said. “I can get some incredible branded products for next to nothing.”

Macy’s hopes to bring that same sense of shopping urgency into its main-box stores. It began its off-price retail as stand-alone stores, but they see the store-within-a-store model as supplementing its main store, and according to Deinla, they’ve done so without cannibalizing sales from downstairs. They’ve seen an average of 7 percent growth in stores with a Backstage, said Deinla.

The off-price model is something familiar to Visalia. The TJ Maxx opened in 2013 and Home Goods opened at the end of 2015.

“Macy’s is also trying to reach that smart shopper,” said Gail Zurek, president of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

Coming to Visalia was a smart move in her eyes. The percentage of disposable income is high, said Zurek.

While the number of rooftops may be significantly fewer, retail sales per capita are much higher, with $14,744 in Visalia compared to $9,619 in Fresno, according to 2012 U.S. Census data.

The average median household income from data between 2012-2016 is $52,099 in Visalia compared to $45,963 in Fresno.

While smaller retailers may not have access to the ordering volume that can create the kind of sales that consistently draw in customers, there are three lessons to learn as the Macy’s story unfolds.

Department stores took on high interest loans that even improved sales are having trouble repaying. Efros cited Neiman Marcus who may have had a 6 percent comparative increase, but its high interest loans offset its ability to make money.

The second is real estate. “You don’t want to open too many stores,” Efros said. “You lose the customer experience that you had and you lose the control that you had as well.”

Lastly, as small businesses grow in this economy, they need to stay focused and understand who their customer is. “Sometimes you get executives come in with a different vision about who their shopper is,” said Efros. “That is what happened with JCPenney.”

One differentiating factor is that customer experience for small companies is more inherent in the business model.

“Smaller companies should focus on service and exclusivity versus price,” Efros said.

Essendant takes occupancy at Wonderful Industrial Park

Wonderful Industrial Park Press Release

May 2018

Essendant took occupancy of their 405,000 sf build-to-suit facility in May 2018. Essendant was looking to implement a new distribution strategy and sought out a facility that would allow them to distribute from North Los Angeles to the Bay Area. The newly implemented strategy allowed Essendant to consolidate several smaller faciliti

es into one large regional center.  Essendant was attracted to Wonderful Industrial park because of its access to an abundant, high quality labor force as well as Wonderful Real Estate Development’s ability to deliver a complex build-to-suit facility within a year of executing the lease.

Wonderful Real Estate Development also completed construction on its 1 million sf spec building, 4100 Express Avenue, in May 2018. The building features 300-foot truck courts, 700 trailer parking stalls, 183 dock-high doors, eight-inch slab designed to meet multi-level e-commerce uses, roofing that can accommodate 2.25MW of solar and a high-speed fiber optics network. Wonderful’s newest space also features 40-foot clear heights and well-spaced columns to allow for automated picking systems and highly efficient racking, as well as customizable office and mezzanine spaces. Please contact Joe Vargas ( or Erin Poulson Morris ( at Wonderful Real Estate Development for more information.

New company launches to incubate Central Valley businesses

The Central Valley is home to thousands of businesses and now one organization wants to showcase entrepreneurs on a bigger platform.

“Fresno is a great place, not only are we a great place to raise a family, but we’re a great place to start a business and there’s profit to be made here, ” said Jennifer Lopez with Valley Innovators.

Lopez sees a major discrepancy in the way venture capitalist are investing in businesses.

“About 60-percent of VC (venture capitalist) funding goes to California companies, less than one-percent of that comes to the Valley,” Lopez said.

A lot of that has to do with marketing or perception. So Lopez and others funded Valley Innovators– a company that helps the business learn, network and market themselves and eventually attract big investors.

Valley Innovators hopes to serve businesses ranging from taco trucks to technology. They said the Valley is becoming home to a diverse amount of companies and owners.

“It means having more success stories come out of their organization, it means possibly having to expand their organization and contributing to the marketing of Fresno and the Valley as a whole, as a great place for innovation. A place for talent and a place for making things happen,” Lopez said.

The passion runs deep for this Valley native and former Bay Area resident.

“There’s talent here, there are people that are ambitious and want to give back and flex their entrepreneurial muscles,” Lopez said.

Valley innovators launches Tuesday night at the Tower Theater. Over the next few months, they’ll host educational opportunities and networking for businesses and one day a pitch contest in the spring. They believe the next great idea could be incubated in the Valley.

Bitwise continuing to spread its wings in downtown Fresno. Latest venture is colorful, too

Stifel opens Modesto branch

Stifel Financial Corporation has opened another Central Valley location in Modesto.

The location, at 1539 McHenry Ave., Ste. A, is the 39th Stifel office in California. It will be run by the team of Dane and Randy Anderson.Between them, the Andersons have more than 71 years of investment experience. They previously worked with Wells Fargo Advisors, handling upwards of $200 million in client assets.

The environment at Stifel appeals to the team due to the flexibility the company gives its advisors.

“Stifel is an entrepreneurial environment where advisors can run their business the way they think is best for them and their clients,” said Dane Anderson. “Thanks to Stifel’s advisor- and client-centric culture, I feel our clients will truly benefit in our transition to Stifel.”Many advisors in the investment industry have worked together in past roles, especially at places such as A.G. Edwards.

“I am thrilled to reunited with Dane and Randy after having worked with them for years at A.G. Edwards,” said John Lee, who is now the Western Region director for Stifel. “I maintain that this is a relationship business built on trust, and to have these trusted advisors join Stifel where they can be the center of the relationship with their clients and not worry about corporate interference is exciting for them, and we are excited to have them.”



Stifel was founded in 1890 by Benjamin Altheimer and Edward Rawlings as a general securities business. They brought Herman Charles Stifel onboard seven years later as their treasurer. Henry J. Nicolaus joined the company in 1910, along with his son Louis. In 1923, it was renamed Stifel, Nicolaus Investment Company.

Tire distribution facility to open in Fresno

By Central Valley Business Times

May15, 2018

  • It’s the 8th for SoCal-based Tire’s Warehouse •

“The location will increase our delivery and will-call efficiencies throughout Central California” Corona-based Tire’s Warehouse Inc. says it is opening its eighth distribution facility in Fresno.

The 122,000 square foot facility, to open in July, will bridge the gap between TWI’s Southern and Northern California branches. It will be the 8th warehouse for TWI, three of which have opened within the last three years, and brings their total distribution center square footage to over 700,000.

The new Fresno distribution center will service the Central Valley – TWI’s largest geographical service region to date.

“The new facility in Fresno will build upon the customer focused service Tire’s Warehouse has established for nearly 50 years,” says Dan King, TWI president.

“The location will increase our delivery and will-call efficiencies throughout Central California, providing our customers improved access to our portfolio of brands and the support they need to be successful.“