Bronco Wine expansion, with 30 new jobs, wins support

Central California

 May 5, 2017
Modesto Bee
By John Holland

Bronco Wine Co. got support Thursday night for a major expansion at its headquarters south of Ceres — and praise for a notable product.

The Stanislaus County Planning Commission voted 7-0 for a rezoning that will ease the way for new warehouse and office space. The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on the plan, expected to create about 30 jobs at the Keyes Road site.

Bronco markets its wines under dozens of labels and also sells bulk wine to other producers. It is best known for Charles Shaw, which first sold for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s stores and came to be known as Two Buck Chuck. It’s now up to $2.99.

Commissioner Katherine Borges recalled that a 2005 version was named best chardonnay at the California State Fair. It competed against about 350 higher-priced bottles.

Borges suggested that Bronco add a tasting room, but company representative Dan Leonard said that is not in the plan.

“It’s a production facility supporting ag, supporting grapes,” said Leonard, a vice president and treasurer.

Bronco, founded in 1974, is one of the nation’s largest wine producers. The Keyes Road site does crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling of a large part of its volume. About 325 people work there year-round, and seasonal employees can bring the total to 550.

Leonard declined to say how much the expansion will cost. The first phase, taking up to five years, includes a 120,000-square-foot warehouse that is part of an eventual 613,000 square feet of new storage. This phase also involves two spurs from the Union Pacific Railroad line next to the site, which Leonard said would cut down on truck traffic.

Bronco plans to move into the later phases as wine sales grow. They include 81,000 square feet for offices and other space for training and other needs.

Dust Bowl Brewing Company Extends Distribution in California

Central California

Published  February 13, 2017

Dust Bowl Brewing Company recently signed with Premium Beverage Company, expanding the growing brewery’s distribution into California’s Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

Founded in 2005, Premium Beverage is based in Salinas, California and distributes domestic, craft and imported beers along with ciders and an extensive portfolio of non-alcoholic products. Premium Beverage services all major chains, independent grocers, restaurants, liquor stores and convenience stores. Dust Bowl Brewing Co. joins other leading craft brands including Rogue, Shiner and Trumer to name a few.

“Now that we are fully operational in our new brewery, we are poised to grow our distribution. Our ability to brew significantly more beer allows us to aggressively pursue new territories as we navigate the competitive craft beer industry,” shares founder, Brett Tate. “Premium Beverage Company shares our same commitment to superior customer service and is aligned with our growth strategy. The timing is ideal.”

“We’re excited to add Dust Bowl Brewing Company to our portfolio,” adds John Holt, President, Premium Beverage Co. “The Central Valley brewery has experienced impressive sales growth since its inception in 2009 and is committed to expanding their product offering even more in 2017. Their brand recognition is on the rise, they produce quality beer and they’re clearly invested in the future. Dust Bowl is an excellent fit with our craft beer model.”

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. produces a wide range of draft beer along with a portfolio of year-around and limited-release bottled products. The company opened its new brewery, located in Turlock, California, in June 2016 and plans to produce 15,000-20,000 barrels in the first year, compared to 5,000 barrels in 2015.

In addition to Premium Beverage Company, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. currently has six other distributors: Delta Sierra Beverage covers the California Central Valley, Mussetter Distributing handles the Sacramento region, Delta Pacific covers the Fresno region, Morris Distributing handles San Francisco and the North Bay, Bay Area Distributing services Contra Costa and Alameda counties and Barone Distribution covers the state of Nevada.

Current expansion plans include further south down the Central Coast, Southern California and into the Pacific Northwest.

Dust Bowl Brewing Company produced its first beer in May 2009. The Company forecasts 15,000-20,000 barrels annual production. Dust Bowl Brewing Company beers are available in 5 and 15.5 gallon kegs along with selected styles in 22oz. and 12oz. bottles. Distribution includes Central and Northern California, Nevada and Vermont. The craft brewery showcases a wide variety of its beers at its two Turlock, Calif. taproom locations, Brewery Taproom and Downtown Taproom. More information may be found at www.dustbowlbrewing.com.

Which comes first, the chicken, the egg or the egg-production facility?

Central California
It will be the largest egg-production facility Kern County has ever seen, housing more than 3 million chickens and at its peak, producing more than 36 million eggs per month. And all done 100 percent cage-free. Already under construction on Gun Club Road, northwest of Wasco, the facility developed by Central Valley Eggs LLC will be massive, totaling more than 700,000 square feet.

Manufacturer sells low-flow innovation

Central California

March 2, 2017
Central Valley Business Journal
By SIM RISSO

It’s not uncommon to hear about the decline of American manufacturing, but one Central Valley Company is building its business making water-efficient showerheads with made-in-California parts.

High Sierra Showerheads works with California vendors, including a screw manufacturer in Merced, to make low-flow showerheads.

“Most folks are willing to pay more for a product that’s made here and innovative,” said the company’s owner, David Malcolm. “If you’re going to charge twice as much, it better work twice as good. That’s kind of how our showerheads work.

Malcolm has been making showerheads since 2010, but the company really took off in 2015, when High Sierra Showerheads landed a contract to supply all the showerheads for correctional institutions in California. The U.S. Air Force Academy, Yale University, Purdue University and the Fresno Housing Authority also use High Sierra Showerheads to outfit their operations.

Malcolm said his company has solved one of the biggest complaints about low-flow showerheads: lower water pressure and the tendency to clog.

Most low-flow showerheads are designed as a large diameter disc with lots of nozzles. But High Sierra showerheads are fashioned as a smaller nozzle with only one large opening. That larger opening allows for more water pressure even with a lower flow. It also produces less clogging.

“We are limited to the amount of water per showerhead,” Malcolm said. “When you have too many nozzles, your flow per nozzle is going to be very low, and it probably won’t be coming out with much pressure.”

In California, showerheads are limited to two gallons per minute, while High Sierra’s showerheads use 1.5 to 1.8 gallons per minute.

High Sierra’s innovation in the industry caught the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2016, the agency awarded the company the U.S. EPA WaterSense Excellence Award for its work retrofitting more than 6,000 showerheads in California correctional facilities.

High Sierra’s low-flow showerheads are projected to save the state more than 385 million gallons of water annually.

“There are hundreds of applicants, and we were one of a few that got it,” Malcolm said of the award. “It gives us some credibility because we are a small company. Not too many people had heard of us. But when they find us and see we received this prestigious award, this national award, it helps give us some credibility.”

Malcolm took over his father’s business developing sprinkler heads for golf courses and agricultural irrigation in 1992. One of the golf course superintendents was looking for a nozzle that could be attached to a hose to hit hotspots on putting greens. Malcolm set out to design a nozzle that produced an even spray.

After many attempts, Malcolm came up with a solution by accident. He inserted a pin at the top and put a conical orifice plate, which is concave, over the top of it. He found the pin didn’t break the stream but divided it into two streams. The conical orifice cupped the two streams back together, which caused them to collide. That collision of the two streams produced an even spray of large droplets.

In addition to showerheads, High Sierra also produces the Reflections mirror, which the company sells as a shaving mirror. It is an aluminum disc with a mirror finish that attaches to the showerhead.

“It’s a 100 percent fog-free mirror,” said Malcolm. “It doesn’t require any kind of coating on it. It’s just the heat from the water flowing to the showerhead heats it up, keeps it hotter than the surrounding air, and that prevents it from fogging.”

High Sierra’s products are available on its website and through Amazon.com. Products range include handheld heads, classic showerheads and the Reflections mirror.

Sales have soared thanks to the drought and the increased emphasis on saving. In 2014, High Sierra sold 10,000 showerheads. In 2016, the company sold more than 30,000.

The company has six full-time employees. Malcolm would like to see sales continue to increase and to get a bigger piece of the market.

“We get a piece of the pie now, and it’s enough to provide a good living for me and my family, but I really would like it to get much larger,” said Malcolm. “Instead of $1 million plus in sales, I’d like to see it get to $5-10 million, and I really do believe it can.”

Tour gives glimpse of job-training center planned for Modesto Bee building

Central California

MARCH 1, 2017
The Modesto Bee
By Nan Austin

Cutting-edge plans will breathe new life into the cavernous facility that once printed 95,000 Modesto Bee newspapers a day. But the goal of helping develop the region through information and education continues.

A tour given Tuesday in the industrial back half of the old Bee building – an area speakers described as part aircraft hangar, part prison block – laid out a vision for a flexible training facility geared to supply ready workers for waiting jobs.

Opportunity Stanislaus, an economic development nonprofit, will run business-driven technical training classes. The Stanislaus County Office of Education will hold classes and workforce training through its Come Back Kids charter for adults who dropped out of high school. Around 600 adults attend the school.

A daycare facility is planned for the front of the building, serving trainees’ children while training future preschool workers. The old “Beestro” cafe on the second floor may one day provide a culinary arts classroom, said Scott Kuykendall, SCOE’s head of educational options.

The McClatchy Co. built the building in the 1950s, but sold it in 2011 and leases roughly a quarter of it for Modesto Bee offices and newsroom. The Bee expects to move to another Modesto location this summer.

SCOE, based a block away on H Street, bought the blue-tiled building at 1100 H St. and a nearby parking lot for $6.9 million from 1325 H Street LLC of Hanford. Renovation on the back half of the building will start in August, with classes expected to begin in the fall.

Opportunity Stanislaus is leasing much of what used to house the two-story press, ad-insertion area and newsprint storage. The property has back bays designed for truck loading, and a forklift-carrying elevator rises to the second story. Its 600 amps running downstairs and 400 upstairs can power any number of assembly-line training scenarios.

Standing on a concrete floor built 5 feet thick to hold the press, project manager Jim Mortensen said that for 30 years different efforts had been made in the region to train workers. The time is ripe and the need is great, he told assembled business leaders and educators.

“We need a younger generation to just keep the businesses we have, let alone expand. You’re not going to bring anybody to town when they say, ‘Well, what have you got for skilled labor?’ We don’t. We’re scalping from each other,” Mortensen said. “This is the opportunity we have.”

The VOLT Institute, as Opportunity Stanislaus has named its project, hopes to train 250 students a year, explained Dave White of Opportunity Stanislaus. VOLT stands for Valley Occupational and Learning Technical Institute.

The training sessions will have three parts, he said. The first is two weeks of business “boot camp,” teaching things such as arriving on time and staying off cell phones, that will also act as an employer-screening process. The second will be three weeks of training with tools and basic systems. The third phase will be 10 to 12 weeks of intensive training on specific skills employers have identified as a need.

“When we look back 20 years from now, and we think of all the lives it has touched, all the people who will be going to this center when it’s fully up and running, to gain vocation skills that are absolutely critical to their futures,” said business advisory committee member Rich Coffey. “Also 20 years out from now, we’ll look back at all the business in this area here and all the economic development that will come by way of having a dedicated vocational training center.”

10 things to know – and love – about Fresno

Central California

Posted 4/14/2017 by Bill McEwen
Fresno County
By Bill McEwen

The New York Times put together a quick piece on Fresno this week, pointing out that our town is one of the most affordable places to live in the country.

The story went on to say “the Central Valley’s biggest city has sometimes gotten a bad rap from outsiders. … but to many residents, the problems are no worse than those of other California cities.”

Told about the good ink, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand sounded like Sally Field accepting the 1984 Academy Award for her leading role in “Places in the Heart.”

Brand didn’t actually say “The New York Times loves us!” but he came darn close: “To have the ‘New York Times tell the world about ‘Reasons to Love Fresno’ is something that should make us all proud.”

Along with affordability, The Times cited Fresno’s mid-California location, lively arts scene, CSU campus, abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, growing tech economy and potential link to San Francisco and Los Angeles via “the new bullet train.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg – not that Fresno has any of those. Here are other tidbits and opinions about the city where six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald was raised:

1. If you are thinking of moving to Fresno and like what you see, odds are greater you will land in Clovis next door. While Fresno is America’s 34th largest city with a population of 520,052 and has grown 5.13 percent since the 2010 census, Clovis – the nation’s 287th largest city – has grown nearly 9 percent since 2010. Its population is 104,180.

2. Fresno politics are complicated by water (more specifically by the lack of sufficient supplies to completely irrigate the fertile soil surrounding the city.) Thus if you want to hold your own in any debate, you best bone up on the delta smelt, the Endangered Species Act, subsidence, and the water pumps in the Delta north of Fresno. Then read “Cadillac Desert” for good measure.

Don’t believe – even for a second – that saying “why don’t the farmers, the environmentalists and the regulators all get in the same room and work something out?” will win you a Nobel Peace Prize. Folks have been saying that for 50 years, and it’s never happened.

3. Keeping with politics: Although Fresno County is one of the most conservative places in California, it has more registered Democrats than Republicans. So color us purple. Whether conservative or liberal, many Fresnans gravitate to the extremes. If you are a moderate, expect to hear someone call you “a spineless sellout.”

4. Are tacos your favorite food? Then get-to ASAP. We have the best tacos on the planet. That’s my assessment, anyway, and a good place to start feasting is at La Elegante, a Food Network favorite.

Another smart bet is El Premio Mayor, two-time defending champion of the annual TacoTruck Throwdown. Alton Brown, of the “Eat Your Science” and “Edible Inevitable” tours, threw some love El Premio Mayor’s way last month.

5. As everyone who parachutes in and writes about Fresno observes, it’s just a few hours away from the beach, the mountains, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But you don’t have to leave Fresno to have a good time.

The Save Mart Center hosts the biggest names in music – think Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Selena Gomez, Bruno Mars – and the city has many smaller music venues. Like other cities its size, Fresno has a symphony orchestra and a regular schedule of touring Broadway shows.

Fresno also has Good Company Players, a theater company that has entertained people and graduated young performers to Hollywood and Broadway since 1973. It represents the spirit of Fresno at its best. Evidence of that comes from these two sentences on the Good Company Players website:

“We believe that the performing arts keeps us civilized; teaching us to think and express ourselves coherently, to hear and respect other perspectives, to appreciate beauty and live a little more compassionately. We believe that theatre is a team sport and unites performers, technicians, writers and audience members at every performance in a common goal – to understand humanity a little better.”

6. Interested in wine-making as a career? Enroll at Fresno State. Its viticulture and enology students learn their craft on a campus with a 140-acre vineyard and bonded winery. And the university’s graduates occupy top positions in the industry throughout the country and the world.

Think about how a conversation might go:

“Well, young lady, how’s college going?”

“Really well.”

“And what are you studying – economics, psychology, business, engineering?”

“I am going for my master’s in enology.

“What in tarnation is that, some kind of liberal studies program?”

“It’s wine-making.”

“Let me know when you’re done and I’ll buy the first case.”

7. From the end of February to the middle of March, the Blossom Trail erupts in colors that will simultaneously excite and soothe you. The beautifully manicured orchards are a photographer’s dream.

People come from all over California and points well beyond to see the white citrus, plum, apple and almond blossoms, and the pink peach, apricot and nectarine blossoms. Bike it or drive it. Either way, you’ll have a great time.

8. Sooner or later, someone will bring up crime and paint Fresno as the homicide capital of America. The reality is that Fresno’s crime rate is similar to most big cities in California.

Central Valley’s largest cities fairly good places to start a business

Central Valley

Posted 5/1/2017
by Central Valley Business Times

•  Fresno in top third of cities studied

•  Bakersfield, Stockton close behind

Among the nation’s 150 largest cities, Central Valley cities are fairly good places to start a business, suggests a new study by the personal-finance website WalletHub, a unit of Evolution Finance Inc., of Washington, D.C.

The study ranks Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as the best location, followed by Salt Lake City, Utah; Charlotte, North Carolina; Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The bottom five have Seattle at 150th and then Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Vancouver, Washington; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Providence, Rhode Island.

The Central Valley, so often at the bottom of such “best places” lists, actually does middling well, according to WalletHub.

When it comes to starting a business, Fresno ranks 45th overall, followed by Bakersfield at 52nd and Stockton at 69th. Sacramento comes in at 114th out of 150.

Fresno, Bakersfield and Stockton are ranked second, third and fourth in the nation for “highest availability of human capital,” a positive in the WalletHub calculations.

Merced among fastest-growing counties in the state, report says

Central California

MARCH 16, 2017
The Merced Sun Star
BY THADDEUS MILLER AND DOUGLAS E. BEEMAN

A growing UC Merced footprint and one of the youngest populations in the state put Merced County in the third spot for fasting growing counties in California, according to the latest growth projections from the state Department of Finance.

The state’s report, released this month, also projects that Madera and Kern counties will be among the state’s 10 fastest-growing counties by mid-century. The three counties trail only Yolo, the report says.

Merced County’s population is projected to grow by nearly 68 percent between 2015 and 2060, reaching 452,519 residents. If the state’s estimates prove accurate in other parts of the state, Kern will overtake Fresno in the 10th most populated county by 2052.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that UC Merced’s next phase of growth is expected to bring new people to Merced and be an economic driver in the region, but there’s another reason for growth, according to Walter Schwarm, a demographer at the Department of Finance.

67.8 percent      

Merced County’s projected to growth between 2015 and 2060

Scwarm said that Merced’s relatively young population means the county has a higher-than-average birth rate.

“There’s still fairly healthy growth in the number of children in Merced. That contributes differentially relative to the other counties.”

High housing prices along the coast and in the north part of the state – and a reluctance to build more there to meet the demand – will continue to push more people inland, including those who live in the Valley but commute for better-paying jobs, he said.

That growth, fueled in part by cheap land and relatively inexpensive housing compared to the state’s coastal areas, likely will mean more traffic and wear-and-tear on the region’s roads, said Tony Boren, executive director of the Fresno Council of Governments, a regional planning agency.

Keeping up with the additional vehicles and pounding they’ll bring to Valley roads will be an ongoing challenge for transportation planners, Boren said. With the state trying to encourage more use of public transit and alternate modes of transportation, like bicycles, Boren said the region is in a constant battle with the state over dollars to keep needed roads in good repair.

The trip from farm to market starts on a county road and continues on a state highway – and it takes vehicles to move the goods. “You’re not going to get a ton of raisins to market on the back of a bicycle,” Boren said.

Growth effects aren’t just going to be felt in Merced County. According to the state’s projections, Madera County – whose population was estimated at 154,956 in 2015 – could hit 262,065 residents by 2060. Fresno County’s population could grow from 979,357 to 1.46 million by 2060.

More broadly, the state projects several notable trends: California will become older, more Hispanic, and likely to join the ranks of Japan and some European countries that have more deaths than births. Migration is expected to keep California’s population growing.

But growth won’t be universal – or even. Counties in the northeast corner of California are expected to continue losing population. Coastal California will see growth slow as more people move into the inland regions like the Central Valley and inland Southern California.

452,519

The projected population of Merced County in 2060

About 14 percent of California’s population is 65 or older. By 2060, that could grow to 26 percent. In Merced County, the 65 and older crowd will grow from about 10.6 percent in 2015 to nearly 18.5 percent by 2060.

For years, baby boomers kept the state’s population skewing younger than the national average. Now they’re reaching Social Security age, and that’s pulling the average higher at a rate faster than the rest of the country, the Department of Finance said.

Officials won’t know how accurate such long-term projections are until 2060. Projections four decades out are based on current conditions, according to Bill Schooling, chief of demographic research at the Department of Finance. Past projections sometimes have been spot-on, while other times have been well off of the mark, particularly when unanticipated changes occur.

“You can be misled,” he said.

Economic impact continues to grow at Port of Stockton

Central California

Posted Feb 20, 2017
The Recorder
By Joe Goldeen

 

Anyone who travels Interstate 5 past downtown Stockton and looks west is well aware of the Port of Stockton with its massive, odd-shaped structures and, if you’re lucky, an ocean-going ship unloading at the docks.

But it didn’t take much to get lucky in 2016, with 232 ships sailing into the port — the second-highest number in the past six years, according to longtime Port Director Rick Aschieris.

“We’ve really grown to be an important part of the economic foundation of not just Stockton but San Joaquin County and this whole part of Northern California,” Aschieris said.

For many years, the port has stood as the reliable engine of commerce for Stockton, most recently supporting some 5,500 jobs around the county that generate approximately $180 million in salaries and benefits.

After 84 years of serving ocean-going vessels — the SS Daisy Gray was the first to arrive with a load of lumber on Feb. 2, 1933 — the port has served as the city’s window to the world ever since, increasing its trade relationships to more than 55 countries.

The products that come through the port — while typically not those used every day by your average consumer — play a critical role in the region and the entire West. More than 90 percent of all the fertilizer — both dry bulk and liquid fertilizers — used in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley comes through the port.

Another product, cement, had come back strong in the past couple of years.

“In 2014, we had six cement ships. This past year, we had 20,” Aschieris said. “That’s a lot of cement.”

And while the volume of one product — low-sulfur coal — has decreased significantly (down about 1 million tons in the past one or two years), the increased volume in steel imports is filling the void.

“We had more steel ships than anything else this past year; 43 steel ships coming from a variety of places in Asia, primarily Japan and Korea,” Aschieris said.

Mostly, the loads consist of 480-foot-long rails that go directly to a port-based facility operated by Union Pacific Railroad where three of them are welded together to create super-long rails more than four football fields long with just two welds that are shipped out via rail throughout the Western United States.

“That’s a good project that has been operating for over a full year now,” Aschieris said.

Heading outbound, the Valley’s rice farmers shipped just under 160 tons of bagged rice to Japan, about the same as last year but significantly more than two years ago.

The port has continued to work on major infrastructure projects that improve its roadways and rail lines for greater efficiency. That got a major boost recently with the completion of the mile-long extension of the Crosstown Freeway to Navy Drive, taking trucks away from the Boggs Tract residential neighborhood.

It also completed dredging the channel down to 35 feet along the docks on Rough and Ready Island, matching the depth of the Stockton Deep Water Channel for the first time since the port acquired the island from the federal government in 2000.

Aschieris also noted that private investment in the port has not slackened in recent years. Since the economic downturn of the past decade, more than $2 billion in private-sector investment has been made in port properties.

“It’s not dramatic, but it’s positive,” he said.

Continuing that trend, he said he is involved in different stages of negotiating a number of leases that, if they all work out, could add up to another $1.5 billion in new projects at the port over the next four to five years.

Ulta bringing part of its billion-dollar business to Fresno

Central California

The Fresno Bee
BY TIM SHEEHAN
PUBLISHED MARCH 10, 2017

Ulta Beauty and the city of Fresno officially announced Friday that the cosmetics company has chosen Fresno as the site of a large distribution center that will initially employ more than 500 workers and could swell to more than 1,000 employees with seasonal hires during busy periods.

The joint statement issued by the company and the city confirmed what The Bee reported Tuesday about Ulta’s selection of Fresno for a 670,500-square-foot warehouse to be built in south Fresno. Carolyn Sutphen, a spokeswoman for Ulta, said the distribution center is expected to hire an initial workforce of 542 when it opens in the summer of 2018. It will be built at the northwest corner of East and Central avenues.

Ulta is a growing business that last year reported net sales of $4.8 billion.

The company had identified Fresno last fall as its preferred site, but Ulta representatives told the state in November that the firm was also considering sites in Visalia, Bakersfield, Nevada and Utah. The $110 million distribution center will serve 400 stores and handle fulfillment of online orders from throughout the western United States. Ulta has five other distribution centers in Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Texas. The Fresno center will be Ulta’s first and only one in California.

“This is exactly the shot in the arm that Fresno needs to energize our economy and keep our momentum headed in a positive direction,” Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said in the joint statement. “We’re pleased that Ulta Beauty recognizes the value of our location. …”

As a city councilman last year, Brand was the author of the city’s Economic Expansion Act, which provides for rebates of sales and property taxes, along with other incentives, for companies that relocate to or expand in the city to create new jobs for local residents. In November, working under Brand’s act, the Fresno City Council approved a 30-year package of incentives – chiefly a partial rebate of sales taxes – worth up to $18 million to attract Ulta. To qualify for the city’s incentives, Ulta must create the equivalent of at least 500 full-time jobs at the Fresno center within five years. If the company fails to achieve that by the end of 2022, it would have to repay whatever rebates it had received to that point.

Also in November, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development agreed to provide $8 million in California Competes tax credits to Ulta if it chose a site in California, conditioned on the net creation of 542 full-time jobs in the state.

An economic analysis of the Ulta project that was commissioned by the city last year estimated that Fresno stands to realize about $42 million in additional sales and property tax revenue, even after the incentives.

Ulta, based in Illinois, has almost 980 stores in 48 states; in the Valley, the company has two stores in Fresno and one each in Clovis, Visalia, Hanford and Porterville.

“We are pleased to be expanding in Fresno with a new distribution center that supports our company’s growth strategy and brings additional jobs to the community,” Ulta CEO Mary Dillon said in the joint statement. “This will allow us to continue to grow our stores and e-commerce business. …”

Sutphen, the Ulta spokeswoman, said the company will begin posting job openings on its website closer to the completion and opening date.

Company growing

In its financial results released Thursday for the fourth quarter of 2016, Ulta announced that its sales – both in-store and online – have been growing at a significant clip. The company reported more than $1.58 billion in net sales during the quarter, up almost 25 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. Its e-commerce sales grew even faster, up more than 63 percent compared with a year earlier and amounting to $154.9 million for the quarter. For the entire year, online orders represented $345.3 million in sales for Ulta.

While the city and Ulta waited until Friday to make the formal announcement, the company’s choice wasn’t exactly top secret. Clayco, the Chicago-based contractor that will build the distribution center, already has a construction office on the site, and renderings on the company’s website identified Ulta as the tenant for the building. Clayco’s website indicates that construction is expected to be done by the end of 2017.

Additionally, the careers page of Ulta’s website included a job opening for a human resources director for the Fresno distribution center.

Ulta isn’t the only potential big fish for which the city has baited its economic hook. In December, a month after approving the enticements for Ulta, the Fresno City Council approved a similar Economic Expansion Act package of incentives for Golden State FC LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon.com. That package of incentives, including rebates of sales and property taxes, has a cap of $30 million over 30 years.

Larry Westerlund, the city’s economic development director, said Amazon deemed Fresno its preferred site for a $200 million, 855,000-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center that would employ at least 750 workers and potentially hire up to 1,750 employees. There is, however, no word on when Amazon may make a decision on the location.

Brand traveled to Seattle late last week to meet with Amazon officials to pitch the Fresno site. The would-be location for that facility is less than a half mile from the Ulta site, in the North Pointe Business Park near Central and Orange avenues, and was formerly under consideration last year by clothing retailer Nordstrom for a distribution center. Nordstrom has put on hold any decision on a center in the Valley.