Category: Commercial

Business landscape looks bright for Shafter

January 9, 2020 | View PDF

Courtesy Wonderful Company

The Walmart distribution center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020.

The City of Shafter has been enjoying a reputation of being one of the fastest growing cities in business in recent years, attracting such companies as Target, Ross and several other big retailers.

The most recent addition is Walmart, which is scheduled to open the most technologically advanced distribution center in the nation in Shafter in the fall of 2020.

Bob Meadows, business development director for the city, says Shafter is a sought-after destination for businesses, large and small.

“We have several irons in the fire. This year should see the city continue to build on this success and make 2020 a special one.”

Financially, the city has been touted as one of the most financially sound cities in the state. Meadows said that since he joined the city last year, he has become aware of the great reputation the city has in Kern County, as well as in the state of California.

A big draw for the city, Meadows says, is the willingness of the city to work with potential developers and retailers, as well as the technological advantages Shafter has. “Having the city connected through our fiber optic lines throughout the city has been a great benefit.”

Looking forward into 2020, Meadows said that the biggest item on the agenda so far is the opening of the Walmart facility. This will mean over 200 jobs for the community, with about a third of the jobs STEM-related – tied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics — with the other two-thirds general laborers.

“We are excited to see how many of the jobs are going to go to Shafter residents, which will mean the dollars staying here locally,” commented Meadows.

Another exciting development for 2020 is the growing relationship between the city and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The KCHCC has been very beneficial to county and its businesses, Meadows said, with a good many of businesses working with the chamber enrich the local communities.

In addition to the contacts that are made with a relationship with the chamber, they also have made a big impact on local businesses with holding their business academies. The academy is a 12-week program that helps small local businesses learn how to operate successfully, as well as how to market their products and services, and get their companies out in the community. “We are looking forward to the possibility of holding a business academy right here in Shafter for our local businesses,” said Meadows.

As far as new businesses on the horizon, Meadows said that there has been a lot of interest in several locations throughout the city, including the property at Central Avenue and Central Valley Highway that used to house Brookside Deli. “We have a couple of people that are very interested in the property, and they both are food-related, which is good because the property already is equipped to house a food establishment,” Meadows said.

He said that they also have had discussions about different businesses coming to Shafter, including a veterinarian, additional automotive service businesses, a drive-thru car wash and additional medical clinics. “Rural medicine is a big issue in our economy, with a lot of people looking for affordable healthcare,” Meadows said.

The city was the recipient of surplus of sales tax revenue last year. This unexpected development was the result of a large number of customers who ordered products online this year.

Retailer William Sonoma paid the city a large amount of sales tax money that was not forecast. “A lot of people ordered online this last year,” said Meadows, “which was very nice for us.”

Meadows said that the businesses at the Wonderful Logistics Park do amazing things when it comes to business relationships across the state and the United States, but there is not a lot of actual income that is produced out there.

“The difference in the William Sonoma retailer and retailers like Target and Ross is that for the online ordering, the sale is actually in the city of Shafter. With the distribution centers, the sales are not done here, the product is just shipped to and from a location, so the sales tax money goes to the city where the sale actually takes place.”

In addition to the Hispanic Chamber, the city also has been in contact with the Small Business Development Center in Bakersfield for a possible workshop in the near future. The group, based out of Cal State Bakersfield, held a workshop this last year that was well attended and gave local business owners valuable information about how to grow your business, including marketing and creating a presence on social media, as well as how to go about financing a business venture.

“What we are looking at would build on that workshop, becoming a regular meeting that would be set up for our small businesses who may need advice on how to operate their business, as well as getting them in contact with the correct people and agencies to further their success,” Meadows said.

“The business landscape is looking up for Shafter when it comes to all phases of the business arena,” Meadows concluded.

https://www.theshafterpress.com/story/2020/01/09/news/business-landscape-looks-bright-for-city/1204.html

New warehouses, hotels, restaurants coming to Visalia’s Industrial Park

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) — Rod Jurbina remembers a time, perhaps just 15 years ago, when there wasn’t much to see in parts of Visalia’s industrial park.

At the time, he was working for a gas company.

“We put in a four-inch plastic gas main in there and I was asking myself, ‘I wonder why they need this here because there’s really nothing out here for now,'” Jurbina said. “And now look what it’s developed into.”

In a January economic update, city employees describe an industrial park that is growing substantially. The reason for the growth?

The city says it’s multiple factors, including the cost and availability of land, Visalia’s central location in the state, and the expansion of the UPS’ ground hub at this massive facility at Riggin Avenue and Plaza Drive.

The city expects UPS will add another 250 jobs but predicts it will also spur new development and more jobs.

“So now other companies that are in that kind of a business model will now look at Visalia, and say ‘Hey, we can service the state, we can go south, we can go north, one-shift kind of thing,'” Visalia Councilmember Steve Nelsen said.

Millipore Sigma, an east-coast based life-sciences company, is now up and running in their west coast distribution center on Riggin Avenue.

The city says construction will start soon on even more massive warehouses in that area.

Closer to the freeway, in the business research park, a large new development has been proposed with space for offices, stores, and a park in the middle.

A Residence Inn recently opened across the street, and two more hotels are planned.

Jurbina, who now works in the industrial park, is supportive of its rapid expansion.

More people will have jobs, he says, and the city will benefit by way of tax revenue.

“Any time there’s growth, there’s always a good opportunity for everybody,” he said.

The industrial park is getting close to meeting its current growth boundary established in 2013.

On Thursday night, the Visalia planning commission and city councilmembers will consider moving it into another tier where more land could be developed.

This California Farm Town Is Launching Startups Faster Than Seattle, Boston, and the Bay Area

By Guadalupe Gonzalez Staff reporter
Knowing little English, Rosibel Hurst came to the U.S. from Honduras dreaming of a medical career. She translated her nursing coursework using English-Spanish dictionaries. In 2018, Hurst’s Bakersfield beauty startup made $2 million–which gave her the courage to quit the full-time nursing job she’d kept to support her five-yearold company. “I’m finally going all in,” she says. “I’ll build the business every day and see where it takes me.”
KAYLA REEFER

Once a recurring punch line in Johnny Carson’s monologues, the agriculture-and-oil town of Bakersfield, California–home to the country’s most prolific carrot farm–is not the most obvious example of a West Coast startup hub.

But the Central Valley city, population 400,000, has vaulted onto this year’s Surge Cities list by outperforming 46 other metro areas–including the Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle–in net job and business creation in the past year.

“Incredible things are happening here,” says Irma Olguin Jr., co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Industries, a Fresno-based tech academy and software startup that’s helped create about 1,000 jobs in the area. It’s opening a Bakersfield location in 2020. “We’re seeing validation from VCs and investment banks, and there is a momentum around local revitalization.”

According to Anna Smith, co-founder of local real estate firm Sage Equities, this Bakersfield boom has been helped by entrepreneurial Millennials who’ve returned home from more expensive cities. They’re finding a growing tech community, bolstered by events like the 59-day hackathon led by nonprofit 59DaysofCode.

Maria Coward’s 27-year-old restaurant, La Costa Mariscos, serves authentic Puerto Vallartan seafood dishes in the city’s historic Ice House Building. She recently opened a second location across town.KAYLA REEFER

Latinx founders, whose ranks swelled by 36 percent from 2007 to 2012 in Bakersfield, have also been essential to the city’s evolution. Today, approximately three of every 10 companies in town are Latinx owned, and membership for Bakersfield’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has ballooned from 200 businesses to 1,200 in less than a decade.

Rosibel Hurst’s Bellissima Medical Aesthetics is one of 8,500 local Latinx-owned businesses. In 2014, the founder, who was born in Honduras, launched her beauty clinic, which offers procedures such as Botox injections and skin-tightening treatments, from a single room inside of a supportive doctor’s office. Today, Bellissima is profitable, with roughly $2 million in annual sales and 13 employees. “I was able to grow this company because of the help I got from people here,” she says. “Bakersfield is a giving city.”

As the field of startups grows in Bakersfield, so do the resources to sustain it. In 2018, Bakersfield businessman John-Paul Lake co-founded the city’s first angel investing firm, Kern Venture Group, and worked with the city’s community college to create Launchpad, which helps local entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

At Oasis Air Conditioning, founder Ben Dominguez and his 28 employees are expanding into the solar panel market to meet growing demand from the city’s homeowners.KAYLA REEFER

Originally created in Fresno to assist refugee farmers, loan fund Access Plus Capital has doled out 22 microloans worth more than $1.6 million to Bakersfield entrepreneurs since it began servicing the city in 2012.

“People are realizing that the Central Valley is changing,” says Edward Palomar, manager of the fund’s Bakersfield office, which opened in 2017. “They see the opportunity for growth here.”

https://www.inc.com/magazine/202002/guadalupe-gonzalez/bakersfield-california-central-valley-latinx-entrepreneurs-2019-surge-cities.html

Plans emerge for major cannabis facility in Modesto. Up to 250 jobs are projected

 
A Canada-based company plans to use a 196,000-square-foot building in Beard Industrial tract to manufacture and distribute cannabis products. It would possibly be the largest commercial cannabis facility in California. The building, on Daly Avenue, is pictured here, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Modesto, California.

A Canada-based company plans to use a 196,000-square-foot building in Beard Industrial tract to manufacture and distribute cannabis products. It would possibly be the largest commercial cannabis facility in California. The building, on Daly Avenue, is pictured here, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Modesto, California. 

A Canada-based company has big plans to manufacture and distribute cannabis products from an expansive building in Modesto.

In April, Transcanna Holdings Inc. announced the purchase of the 196,000-square-foot building on Daly Avenue in the Beard Industrial District. The company with corporate offices in Vancouver has also acquired locally based Lyfted Farms, a county-permitted cannabis business that will manage the Modesto operations.

Lyfted is seeking a permit from Stanislaus County for growing cannabis in a 32,700-square-foot area inside the building. Cannabis products would be processed and packaged in the former turkey processing plant and distributed to retail outlets in California.

At full scale, the production facility operating seven days a week could employ 200 to 250 workers. In addition to cannabis flower, pre-rolls, oils and cannabidiol, the plant would use an extraction process to make edibles and vaping products.

The three-story facility also has the ability to freeze harvested cannabis to preserve its essential ingredients.

“We like indoor growing, but most of the facility would be for distribution and manufacturing,” said Steve Giblin, Transcanna’s chief executive officer.

Plans are to begin operations in the first quarter of 2020 with a small cultivation area and distribution, said Bob Blink, chief executive officer of Lyfted Farms. Security measures will include an 8-foot perimeter fence, surveillance cameras, an alarm system and at least three security guards.

“It is very secure,” Blink said. “Security is a big point locally and in the state. It has the best security around just by the way the building is designed.”

Transcanna is a startup company formed two years ago. With the Modesto processing plant, Transcanna’s website says, the company is positioned to serve the cannabis market in California, which apparently is regarded as the largest in the world. Extensive improvements have been made to the building.

The company’s stock is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. The stock price has swung from $7.88 per share in May to closing at 79 cents on Monday.

A county Planning Commission hearing on the project could be set for Dec. 19, if the applicants come through with requested information for the county this week, or the hearing could be held in January.

County Senior Planner Kristin Doud said staff was waiting for information such as whether rooftop parking would be utilized. In addition, the county and the applicant still were discussing the fees to be paid to the county. A facility of that size could generate millions of dollars in fees over a five-year period.

A study on air quality and odor control could raise some questions before the Planning Commission, and traffic is another potential issue.

Doud said the cannabis fees spelled out in development agreements are based on the cultivation square-footage and anticipated output of manufacturing and distribution or may be a simple 3 percent of gross sales.

An earlier proposal for the Daly Avenue building was one of the original applications in 2017 when the county rolled out its permitting program for commercial cannabis, which was legalized by Proposition 64. A county screening process rejected that first application because it included too many applicants for one site, Doud said.

Lyfted came forward with the current application when a second county application window opened in August.

Transcanna said in April it had purchased the Daly facility for $15 million and would make an $8 million down payment, while the seller, Cool Swang, carried a $6.5 million promissory note at 7 percent interest for 13 months. In October, the company said the loan’s maturity date was being extended six months and issued 500,000 in restricted shares of stock (priced at 56 cents) to Cool Swang to settle a $280,000 fee. Cool Swang is owned by Chad Swan.

When asked about the company’s current stock value, Giblin said there was initial enthusiasm for investing in the cannabis industry but the realities of business are now affecting the stock price. Investors will want to see profits on the horizon.

Giblin said he expects the Daly building and the strong facility management team will help establish investor confidence. Alan Applonie was hired in June as the plant’s general manager. According to a news release, Applonie was instrumental in growing a consumer packaged goods company “from startup to two billion dollars in annual revenues” and has infrastructure systems experience with Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart and Kroger.

Transcanna also will rely on the expertise of Lyfted Farms. Earlier this year, county supervisors approved a permit for Lyfted to grow cannabis indoors and package products in a 19,500-square-foot warehouse on Jerusalem Court in north Modesto.

The Canadian firm also acquired a cannabis business called SolDaze, which is based in Santa Cruz.

Giblin, who has a history of turning companies around in the hotel and real estate industries, said the company needs to obtain the county permit and then approval from the state.

“We are happy about the strategic purchase of the Daly building and we really like Modesto,” Giblin said. “We think it’s a great place to grow.”

https://www.modbee.com/news/local/article238194959.html

FRESNO COUNTY ECONOMIC FORECAST: INTERNATIONAL INTEREST COMES ROLLING IN

Construction activity in Fresno keeps coming, including this three-story office building under construction near Palm and Herndon avenues. Photo by Edward Smith.

Published On December 4, 2019 – 1:33 PM
Written By 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of four economic forecasts The Business Journal does every year for each of the four counties in our coverage area.

This seems to be a prime time for the world to kick the tires on Fresno County.

Interest from companies from far-flung countries including China and Japan has kept economic development officials busy, and even corporate America is taking a closer look at locating in Fresno County on the heels of Amazon and Ulta’s investment in e-commerce distribution centers.

At the same time, Fresno County’s agricultural sector continues to reassert itself as a force to be reckoned with. In fact, based off 2018 crop statistics, Fresno County once again became the top agricultural county in California and the U.S. — a position it hasn’t held since 2013.

Economic development and job creation are job one for Fresno County Economic Development Corp. Will Oliver, director of business services for the Fresno County EDC, noted that 2019 “was filled with much activity, interest and momentum.”

Fresno County welcomed new out-of-state e-commerce operations who either located facilities here or contracted with local third-party logistics partners, Oliver said.

Oliver noted considerable interest in the small cities of Fresno County. One example is Initiative Foods, which is one of the nation’s largest baby food manufacturers, and a major international exporter. It recently completed a 30,000 square foot addition at its Sanger manufacturing plant. Another city, Reedley, is using available resources to lure an advanced food manufacturer.

The region’s designation as a federal Opportunity Zone has done much to jumpstart some of that interest, Oliver noted. The geographical designation provides incentives in the form of reduced capital gains taxes on investments for capital projects.

Fresno County is preparing to kick Opportunity Zone marketing of the region into high gear.

“Much groundwork has been laid to support Opportunity Zone investments by preparing projects and developing a digital prospectus to market the region’s assets, which will be live in 2020,” Oliver said.

Kingsburg recently made big news with T-Mobile’s announcement that it planned to locate a call center there that would create 1,000 jobs, which would be a major jolt to the local economy. That project is contingent on the telecommunication company’s successful merger with Sprint.

Fresno had a bit of a coming-out party earlier this month as host of the California Economic Summit, which included announcements of millions of dollars in investment into the Central Valley. It provided some much-needed momentum heading into the New Year, Oliver noted.

“2020 will certainly be focused on recruiting and expanding high-growth, traded sector companies and industries, such as in health care, agricultural technology and manufacturing,” Oliver said.

On the international front, while much of the economic development work is understandably behind the scenes and not for public consumption, word has trickled down that a Japanese company called Manda Fermentation Co. is on the verge of locating operations in Fresno County. Other Asian countries are looking at the county, undoubtedly drawn to it as a center for international agriculture.

On the agricultural front, Jan. 31, 2020, is a pivotal deadline as the state’s water managers — large and small — must provide plans for how they will manage groundwater usage under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Ryan Jacobsen, CEO/executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said the sustainability plans will take 20 years to implement, with progress reports required every five years. But just getting to this stage has taken a lot of time, not to mention paperwork, as each plan is “hundreds, if not thousands of pages long,” he said.

Jacobsen said a number of factors — ongoing trade negotiations with China, new federal scientific guidelines on the pumping of water from the delta and engaged leadership on the local, state and federal level — give him reason for optimism.

Trade friction with China has been especially worrisome.

“The trade issue is front and center,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we can come to an agreement with China. I’ve been an eternal optimist.”

https://thebusinessjournal.com/fresno-county-economic-forecast-international-interest-comes-rolling-in/

A renovation surge is remaking this downtown Fresno street. A historic building is next

 
Big renovation plans for historic Fulton Street building

Plans are underway for a major repurposing project to host a micro brewery, tech office space, among other possibilities, for the 1918 building at 736 Fulton Street. 

A stretch of Fulton Street in downtown Fresno is getting a lot of love lately.

It’s about to get some more.

A brick building estimated to be 101 years old at 736 Fulton St., across the street from the Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.’s beer garden, has new owners. They are in the process of renovating the building, with plans to rent space out to businesses.

Local developer Reza Assemi and technology entrepreneur Jamin Brazil bought the building last year. It’s in the heart of the Brewery District, near Inyo Street, next door to the Mecca Billiards supply shop with the giant mural featuring pool balls.

They plan to turn the bottom floor into spaces for microbreweries – or perhaps one big brewery – or other entertainment-oriented businesses. The second floor will be turned into offices and other work spaces.

And its basement? Maybe a speakeasy.

The building was once a car dealership and has housed a long list of businesses over the years, ranging from Sun Stereo warehouse to an underwear and polo shirt manufacturer.

It could be ready for new renters as early as five months from now.

FULTON RENEWAL

It joins a snowballing surge of redevelopment on that block. Two doors down, Zack’s Brewing Co. opened a year ago in old garage.

Across the street, the building with the “brewery district” mural painted on the side will soon be home to the Modernist cocktail bar. It plans to open this winter. In the same building, 411 Broadway Ales & Spirits plans to open a beer tasting room.

Next door to that building, on the corner of Fulton and Mono streets, the landlords are working to get the building ready for potential tenants.

Tioga-Sequoia is at times attracting thousands of people for events like Fresno Street Eats food truck nights.

Whoever ends up renting the building that’s being renovated will have a prime view of the action in the beer garden, along with nearby Chukchansi Park, and the growing nightlife scene on Fulton.

The owners hope to blend that nightlife with day uses like offices and perhaps a bodega, a small urban grocery store, Brazil said.

He’s positive about the future of downtown.

“We recognize that downtown is going to have an explosion over the coming five years,” he said. “We believe there’s opportunity to enable small businesses to set their footprint down here and succeed.”

HISTORY

For now, the owners are calling the building The Brewery, though they’re open to suggestions for other names. It’s sometimes called the Sun Stereo warehouse (Warehouse Sound in one old Fresno Bee story) and once had 12 stores in the West when it closed in 1981.

It was once called the Charles Foreman Sales building, after a business that sold Briscoe cars, according documents from 1919 and later.

The new owners were also told it once housed Model T cars, and may have been a distribution hub of sorts. Its 18-foot ceilings are supported by massive cement columns.

“It’s like a tank,” Assemi said of the building.

It has a huge freight elevator – big enough to hold a car – and roll-up garage doors in the back.

There’s a basement with numbers painted on the wall (perhaps labels for car part storage?).

Over the years, the building has housed all sorts of businesses: A used car dealership, Bass-Hunter Paint Co., National Lead Co., Mildred Cole Draperies, an underwear and polo shirt factory, a lithograph business, a carpet and furnishings company, and an office furniture company.

In the early 1940s, the Works Progress Administration sewing project rented the second floor, with 85 women sewing clothing that was distributed through social service agencies, according to city documents.

It’s been empty for 20 years or so, Assemi said.

THE PLANS

Though it was “a mess,” when they got it, Assemi said, the building is all cleared out now, an empty shell with brick walls.

They’ll keep the brick exterior – which is required because the building is on the Local Register of Historic Resources – and clean up all the architectural details out front.

About 26,000 square feet of space is ready to be turned into something new. The owners envision one large commercial space in front on the north end, perhaps a bodega.

Next to it will be a main entrance to the first floor with a courtyard-like front and a lobby with a grand staircase leading to the second floor and elevator.

Assemi envisions some metal crow sculptures in the main courtyard entrance, mimicking the giant hoards of crows that fly around downtown at dusk. He’s installed a similar style of art at his other projects around town like Broadway Studios and Iron Bird Lofts.

The first floor will have a wide corridor leading down the middle with entrances to many small spaces ranging from 450 to 1,200 square feet. That’s where microbreweries or tap rooms, small kitchens or maker spaces could go, Brazil said.

The second floor is now wide open, with lots of wood beams on the ceiling and skylights letting in plenty of light.

They envision offices on the second floor, a concept that’s similar to WeWork, or Workspace in Fresno’s Pacific Southwest Building. They will have space for individuals or companies that’s ready to move into, with internet, desks, meeting rooms and a cleaning service.

Brazil’s firm will move there too. He’s is the founder of the eight-person HubUX, a research operations software firm, and met Assemi when they were neighbors.

Brazil is also the co-founder and CEO of Decipher, a Fresno-based company that wrote survey software for clients — including eBay, PayPal and Whole Foods — that collects and analyzes information. That company has since been sold to New York-based FocusVision.

The Fulton Street building also has a quiet basement insulated from everything above it.

At least part of it will likely be dedicated a podcasting studio. Brazil also runs the Happy Market Research podcast, with 80,000 subscribers.

And yes, maybe that speakeasy.

Potential renters can contact the owners and see more about the plans at www.736Fulton.com.

https://www.fresnobee.com/living/food-drink/bethany-clough/article237729149.html?

VALLEY’S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES SHINE BRIGHT

The number of employees at Solar Maintenance Pros, Inc. dba Solar Negotiators increased to 78 this year. Photo contributed by Solar Negotiatiors.

Published On November 4, 2019 – 12:02 PM
Written By 

With The Business Journal’s 2019 Fastest Growing Companies list (published Oct. 25) comes a variety of companies ranging from upstarts in their industries to recognizable, household names that continue to grow today.

Three companies on the list — No. 5 Boling Air Media you might see at Fresno State games and at the newly revived Lemoore Naval Air Show; No. 2 Suncrest Bank has been in Tulare County since 2008, expanding beyond the Valley in recent years; and the No. 1 company, Solar Maintenance Pros dba Solar Negotiators — found success offering a variety of services in an emerging market.

 

Absorbing the rays

At the beginning of 2016, then-Solar Negotiators and Solar Maintenance Pros hadn’t yet finished the leg of their journey that brought them to being a multimillion-dollar company experiencing nearly 12,000% revenue growth over three years.

The solar brokerage firm that connected homeowners to installers was still separate from the solar panel cleaning service, Solar Maintenance Pros. But by this year, Solar Maintenance Pros surpassed Negotiators in revenue and employees. Leadership decided to combine the two companies into the same entity, offering both installations under their own contractor’s license and upkeep throughout the solar panel’s lifetime.

Owner Chris Moran started Solar Negotiators in 2009, offering consultative services to customers and contracting with a network of installers. They would do marketing, project management and consultations and “anything that didn’t require a contractor’s license,” said Leroy Coffman, president/co-owner of the now-combined Solar Maintenance Pros, Inc., dba Solar Negotiators. This allowed contractors to focus on installations instead of marketing and business development. In 2014, ownership expanded their offerings with maintenance services.

In the Central Valley’s four-county area, 10,000 solar permits are issued every year, estimates Coffman. And in the Central Valley’s dry, dusty climate, Coffman says panels should be cleaned every year to optimize efficiency. Dirty panels limit a panel’s power intake. That’s when Moran, Coffman and others started Solar Maintenance Pros, Inc.

“Solar Maintenance Pros enabled us to be more proactive in that we visit the customer site once a year and give it a visual inspection,” Coffman said. “It turned out that was a very important need that wasn’t being filled.”

Now, Coffman calls Solar Maintenance Pros the “largest provider of solar panel maintenance in the Central Valley.” They even started a company to monitor a system’s power intake and output called Solar Data Pros.

At the beginning of 2016, Solar Maintenance had 3 employees, grossing $44,095 in revenue. With the consolidated company, they now employ 78 people and in 2018, grossed $5.29 million.

“Those people are counting on that power to offset their bill,” Coffman said. “We want to become the top provider of maintenance services and cleaning services for all of those systems.”

 

Growth as a strategy

What was once limited to $99 million in assets and two branches in Tulare County ended up with more than $1 billion in assets and seven branches, stretching from Yuba City to Porterville.

Visalia-based Suncrest Bank is no stranger to lists measuring growth.

As part of a strategy of acquiring assets dating back to 2013, the 800% asset growth the bank experienced between 2013 and 2018 made them the fastest growing community bank in the nation, said Ciaran McMullan, president/CEO.

“We wanted to grow quickly and we wanted to grow by acquisition,” McMullan said.

Three successful capital raises primed them to acquire banks in Fresno, Yuba City and Sacramento, the latter two being new markets for the bank.

They called the goal “Five-in-five” — to grow by $500 million in five years. They met that goal 18 months ahead of schedule in July 2017. By their target date of May 2018, they held more than $900 million in assets.

“We surpassed even our grand ambition we set out at the end of 2013,” McMullan said.

Those assets have translated into 468% revenue growth since 2016, allowing the bank to expand from 25 employees to 108. The market expansion and asset acquisition put Suncrest in a good position long into the future, he added.

“What it does more than anything else to ready us for the future is it really deepens our talent pool,” McMullan said. “It also broadens our geographic exposure.”

 

Eye to the skies

At No. 5 on The Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies list, football fans and aeronautics advocates alike might recognize Boling Air Media’s presence in the skies.

Husband-and-wife team Chris and MaryAnn Boling started the advertising company in 2014 as a way to combine their two passions — marketing and flying.

“My passion has always been to fly, which is a very expensive hobby,” said Chris Boling.

The duo found a way to monetize the pastime by offering marketing opportunities, flying banners and blimps. While technically called a thermal airship due to its using exhaust to move and stay afloat, the company began with the “My Job Depends on Ag” blimp, said Boling. They signed a contract with Fresno State, using skydivers to bring in messages and enliven crowds during halftime shows. They’ve started making appearances at air shows, including the newly revived Lemoore Naval Air Show in September. They’ve done marketing campaigns for national advertisers towing banners and dropping divers to deliver messages.

“Anytime someone wants to put a message up in the air, we can find a media for them,” Boling said.

While there are only 10 pilots in the world who can fly the airship, Boling added, they rely on pilots looking for commercial certification to tow messages. Renting planes to get the necessary 1,500 hours of flying time can be expensive, he said. So, the company contracts with those pilots to deliver messages to the public.

“We’re all living out our wildest dreams thanks to this business,” he said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/valleys-fastest-growing-companies-shine-bright/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=6cd41e0e0c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_11_04_09_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-6cd41e0e0c-78934409&mc_cid=6cd41e0e0c&mc_eid=a126ded657

2 years since its reopening, Fulton Street continues to develop

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — As thousands celebrated year two of Fulton Street’s reopening, Valley native Reza Assemi took Action News inside one of his latest projects.

“I bought this with a partner Jamin Brazil,”

Assemi is one of the developers behind buildings like Iron Bird Lofts, Broadway Studios and the old theater three. But now he is looking to turn this 1918 building on Inyo and Fulton into something new.

“We are looking to do commercial space downstairs so hopefully taprooms, entertainment-driven businesses and upstairs tech space,” he said.

Assemi tells Action News for over two decades he has envisioned changing the scope of this area.

“I love downtown. It’s rich with visuals, so that’s exciting to take something beautiful, neglected and bring it back. And the gravy on top is to make it entertaining,” he said.

And it is happening. Many people are glad to see what was once shut down now thriving.

“It seems like it turned around it’s a beautiful place to be,” said Shane Baker of Fresno.

“It’s kinda cool because I started to come down for the Fuego games and foxes and then noticing all beer gardens and cool events,” said Tony Dusan of Madera.

Mark Standriff with the City of Fresno says the reopening of Fulton Street has increased gross revenue and boosted the economy.

“It has grown over 1,500% which is an amazing figure, so this kind of growth is just the beginning,” he said.

And as Assemi works to continue investing and revitalizing downtown Fresno, people can be seen from the second-floor window of his next project taking in what he and many others hoped to create.

“It doesn’t exist without that interest without the public, so I really think they are the ones making this happen,” he said.

Assemi says construction on this project will likely begin next month. He tells Action News it might take about five months to complete, but he and his partner are hoping it will be ready by next spring.

https://abc30.com/2-years-since-its-reopening-fulton-street-continues-to-develop/5632356/

Kernville, Bakersfield breweries combine for five medals at nation’s top beer festival

A pair of Kern breweries took home an extraordinary five medals at the Great American Beer Festival last weekend in Denver — a testament, the local winners say, to the county’s sophisticated approach to beer-making.

Kernville’s Kern River Brewing Co. took home two golds and two silvers, as well as the Brewery Group of the Year honor, while Temblor Brewing Co. in Bakersfield won bronze.

“I’m still trying to absorb all this,” said Eric Giddens, who owns KRBC with his wife, Rebecca. The couple had only just arrived home Monday after driving home from Denver.

At an event billed as the most prestigious beer competition in the world, the Brewers Association awarded 318 medals to 283 breweries across the United States. Some whole states didn’t win as many medals as Kern breweries did.

KRBC’s Belgian-style blonde, Nènette, won gold, as did the brewery’s session India pale ale, Gravity Check. Its brown porter, called Brown Claw, and its double hoppy red ale, Side Hike, won silver.

Temblor’s Belgian-style wit, Under a Blood Orange Sky, won a bronze medal.

Temblor’s head brewer, Mike Lahti, said the honor felt good.

“I’ve been doing this 16 years and this is the first (Great American Beer Festival award) for a beer I’ve designed,” he said. “One of those things that every brewer wants to do is get a medal at GABF.”

Lahti added that Kern’s strong showing speaks to the county’s emerging national reputation.

“I think it shows that, obviously, competition amongst ourselves has all helped us challenge ourselves to make better beer, to keep up with the competition,” he said.

Giddens said he and others representing KRBC celebrated the announcement of Temblor’s win as they were picking up their own medals.

“I think (Kern’s combined total of five medals) shows that the beer landscape in Kern County is changing,” he said. “I think people in Kern County are going to start taking notice and enjoying that beer.”

Though dwarfed by the brewing mecca of San Diego County, which won 18 of the 68 medals awarded to the Golden State in this year’s GABF, Kern’s brewing community has come a long way in the last several years. There are now five independent breweries in Bakersfield alone, with another on the way.

In all, the competition judged 9,497 beers from 2,295 breweries.

No brewery company won more medals at this year’s GABF than KRBC, which launched in 2005 and expanded in 2016 to a second location next door.

“What blows me away is that this was the largest beer competition in the world to date,” Giddens said. “For a small brewery in a mountain town in Kern County to come away as the most decorated brewery in the bunch just split my mind.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/kernville-bakersfield-breweries-combine-for-five-medals-at-nation-s/article_7034b2a6-e923-11e9-a43a-c3fa4dc75ca8.html

uBreakiFix Expands California Footprint With Central Valley Store

 

By: uBreakiFix

Industry-Leading Tech Repair Brand Brings High Quality Electronics Support to Fresno

FRESNO, Calif., Sept. 19, 2019

uBreakiFix services anything with a power button, including smartphones, game consoles, tablets, computers, drones, hoverboards, and everything in between. To date, uBreakiFix has completed more than 5 million repairs. While common fixes include cracked screens, software issues, and camera issues, the brand offers support for most technical problems on any electronic device, regardless of make or model.

Through strategic partnerships with leading technology companies, including Samsung and Google, uBreakiFix provides Samsung Galaxy customers and Google Pixel and Pixelbook customers with manufacturer-backed, same-day repair services using genuine parts. Through the partnership with Samsung, Galaxy owners can get in and out-of-warranty repairs at more than 350 locations nationwide, with most repairs completed in two hours or less.

uBreakiFix Fresno is the first location for owners Ryan McDaniel and Kali Mey. They have plans to another store in Clovis in the near future.

“I truly believe that uBreakiFix is the best tech repair company in the world, and we were thrilled to open the first location of this franchise in the central valley,” said McDaniel. “My business partner, Kali, and I were born and raised in this community. We feel so fortunate to give back by offering high-quality, affordable device repair to the people of Fresno.”

uBreakiFix was founded in 2009 by millennial duo Justin Wetherill and David Reiff, who later partnered with Eddie Trujillo to transition their Internet-based brand to a brick and mortar model. By offering convenience, accessibility, and unparalleled customer service, uBreakiFix filled a gap in the repair marketplace and has since emerged as an industry leader in growth, service offerings, and authorized partnerships. In 2018, Wetherill was inducted into the Forbes Technology Council, and uBreakiFix earned a top spot on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® list, ranking #18 overall, #1 in the Electronics Repair category, and #1 on the Top New Franchises list.

uBreakiFix has nearly 500 locations open across the U.S. and Canada. The brand opened nearly 130 new stores in 2018 and plans to increase growth in 2019. For more information on uBreakiFix franchising, visit http://ubreakifix.com/franchising.

“At uBreakiFix, our goal is to take the hassle of a broken device and create the most positive, convenient experience possible for our customers,” Wetherill said. “We are a customer service company first, and a tech repair company second. As we expand into Fresno, we look forward to becoming the trusted resource to keep consumers and businesses connected to the things and people who matter most.”

uBreakiFix Fresno is located at 7029 North Ingram Ave., Suite 101 Fresno, CA 93650 and can be reached at: 559-930-8243. For more information and to view a service menu, visit https://ubreakifix.com/locations/fresno.

About uBreakiFix

Founded in 2009, uBreakiFix specializes in the repair of small electronics, ranging from smartphones, game consoles, tablets, computers, and everything in between. Cracked screens, software issues, camera issues, and most other problems can be repaired by visiting uBreakiFix stores across the U.S. and Canada. Since 2016, uBreakiFix has served as the exclusive walk-in repair partner for Google Pixel customers. In 2017, uBreakiFix expanded the partnership to include exclusive after sales support for Google Pixelbook customers. In 2018, uBreakiFix became a Samsung Care authorized service provider offering same-day, in-person support for Samsung Galaxy customers across the U.S. In 2018, uBreakiFix also ranked #18 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500®, #1 in the Electronics Repair category, and #1 on the Top New Franchises list. For more information, visit https://www.ubreakifix.com.