Category: E-Commerce

Three Kern companies make the 2019 Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing businesses

Three Kern County-based businesses — Grapevine MSP Technology Services and Stria LLC in Bakersfield and Tasteful Selections LLC in Arvin — have been named to 2019’s Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held companies with revenues of more than $2 million last year.

Tasteful Selections, a grower and seller of bite-size potatoes, ranked highest among the three, coming in at number 2,440. Its growth year-over-year growth was pegged at 163 percent, according to Inc.’s website; its annual revenue was listed as $127.5 million.

Stria, a business process outsourcing company specializing in document management, ranked 4,350th with 70 percent growth and revenues of $6.1 million.

Grapevine is an information technology management firm with revenues of $4.8 million per year. Its 57-percent growth rate landed it 4,830th on the Inc. ranking.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/three-kern-companies-make-the-inc-list-of-fast-growing/article_18d4a54c-c45d-11e9-b615-2be90d1e5eca.html

Amazon acknowledges new facility north of Bakersfield

By John Cox

The Bakersfield Californian

August 15, 2015

When Amazon was trying to get approval to build a massive distribution center next to Meadows Field Airport, the company’s approach was so stealthy that senior Kern County officials reviewing its permit application did not know they were actually dealing with the Seattle-based e-commerce giant.

Even after county officials told reporters one year ago this month that Amazon was coming to town, the company known for its secrecy chose to remain publicly silent about its plans for Kern.

All of that ended with an email exchange Thursday.

“Amazon absolutely acknowledges this project,” spokeswoman Shevaun Brown wrote to The Californian, “but we do not have any new information at this time.”

She was unable to provide a projected opening date or a time when the company will begin hiring people to work at the four-story building that has been under construction since October along Merle Haggard Drive. But she did confirm some details that have already been reported, clarify a misperception and fill in some important blanks.

The company, Brown noted, intends to employ 1,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs when it opens the building, which she said measures 640,000 square feet.

That last detail comes as something of a surprise. Several people have estimated the building’s size at 2.6 million square feet. But that assumes each of the four floors will offer the same amount of floor space, which apparently it will not.

County records suggest the building will house robots that will assist in the distribution process. Their towering presence will reduce the amount of interior floor space considerably. But it is still a massive building and one of the largest in Kern County.

Most of the jobs there will support “order fulfillment,” Brown wrote: “picking, packing and shipping items to customers such as books, small electronics, school supplies and home goods.”

She said there will also be jobs supporting the building operations in the areas of human resources, information technology and management.

Employees at the site will earn a minimum of $15 per hour and have access to comprehensive medical, vision and dental insurance “starting on day one,” Brown wrote.

They will also be able to enroll in a retirement savings plan, a program allowing employees to share their paid leave with their spouse or partner, and prepaid tuition covering 95 percent of the cost of courses related to in-demand fields “regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon,” she added.

Although she was unable to state when the plant might open for business, she did say hiring typically begins one to two months before operations commence — and that this launch typically takes 18 months to two years after the project is announced.

This timetable could suggest the building will begin distribution work sometime between February and August of next year.

The email exchange concluded with an implicit call for patience on the part of job-seekers.

“Even though a building may look finished on the outside,” she wrote, “we’re likely still constructing the different floors, etc.”

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/amazon-acknowledges-construction-project-north-of-bakersfield/article_91f52e16-ba3e-11e9-aacd-d3c1350830ef.html

Central Valley Continues to Charm Logistics Buyers

sf-prologis.jpg

STOCKTON, CA—Newport Beach, CA-based CT purchased the 345-acre industrial site for the 4.4 million-square-foot NorCal Logistics Center in May 2017 and has now completed the first phase development, including three spec buildings. The last to be completed is a 1.12 million-square-foot building, one of the single-largest speculative industrial buildings in Northern California. The second phase of development will begin toward the end of 2018 and include three additional buildings totaling approximately 1.6 million square feet.

The first two buildings in phase one totaling 575,127 square feet have been sold to Prologis for $47 million. Prologis paid approximately $82 per square foot for the buildings, which were unleased and in shell condition at closing.

“These transactions reflect the high demand for world-class logistics facilities in major distribution markets nationwide,” said Carter Ewing, managing partner of CT. “The speed with which these buildings transacted following completion mirrors the strong interest we are experiencing in several other projects we currently have underway. In this case, the transaction allows Prologis to enjoy a fair profit on their investment going forward while providing CT with a sizeable return and well ahead of schedule; a true win-win.”

Prologis’ interest in the Central Valley is well known. As of the end of 2017, it has taken ownership of 31 buildings, approximately 15 million square feet, and is projected to continue producing oversized returns.

CT was represented in the sale by Kevin Dal Porto, Blake Rasmussen and John McManus of Cushman & Wakefield. Prologis was self represented.

NorCal Logistics Center is home to General Mills, KeHE Foods, Allen Distributors and Fox Head, and is in the heart of California’s Central Valley, a 185 million-square-foot industrial market. The region is an extension of a global logistics supply chain infrastructure directly linked to West Coast ports in Oakland/Stockton, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Portland, OR and Seattle/Tacoma.

Since its establishment in 1994, CT has completed more than 300 transactions valued at more than $3 billion. CT has acquired more than 2,000 acres of industrial land since 2010, and the company is primarily focused on the investment of class-A US industrial logistics developments. CT has active developments in Southern California, New Jersey and other East Coast markets. CT has more than 10 million square feet under development and another 10 million square feet in its development pipeline.

For example, CT is in development on logistics centers near Chicago, Atlanta and in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, where the company last month announced the development of Oakdale Logistics Center in Grand Prairie, TX. The company plans to announce three new development projects in the next few months, further extending its nationwide logistics footprint.

Nationwide, industrial vacancy stands at 7.3%, the lowest since first quarter 2001, according to the first quarter 2018 CBRE US industrial availability index. The first quarter 2018 construction totaled 35 million square feet with absorption at 41 million square feet. This is the 32nd straight quarter of positive absorption. The drivers of supply chain demand–consumer consumption, business inventories, industrial production–all showed growth in first quarter 2018. Consumer consumption is directly linked to demand for warehouse and logistics real estate, which is fueling investment and development activity. PREA’s fourth quarter 2017 consensus forecast survey projects a 7.1% return for logistics real estate from 2017 to 2021; more than apartments, retail or office, GlobeSt.com learns.

Originally appeared in GlobeSt

https://www.cbicommercial.com/blog/2018/7/6/central-valley-continues-to-charm-logistics-buyers

NEW STATE GROUP TO PROMOTE OPPORTUNITY ZONES

image via caloz.org

image via caloz.org

Published On March 25, 2019 – 11:58 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff

A new California organization has been formed to help investors and developers take advantage of federal Opportunity Zones.

CalOZ “will promote competitive, equitable and sustainable Opportunity Zone investments in California,” according to a release from the organization.

“Our state must embrace new strategies to rebuild an upward economy that works for all Californians,” said Kunal Merchant, president and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “Opportunity zones offer an important new tool, not only to promote economic mobility and the green economy in areas of our state that need it most, but also to re-evaluate and re-imagine how business, government, and community work together to foster a more competitive, equitable and sustainable economy in California.”

In President Donald Trump’s 2016 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he outlined what was labeled Opportunity Zones, which offered tax breaks on capital gains for investments in distressed areas.

In Fresno, a number of the areas were established, including the Kings Canyon and Blackstone avenue corridors.

On average, Opportunity Zones have a poverty rate of nearly 31 percent with families making 59 percent of the median income for the area, according to the release, citing information from Economic Innovation Group.

“Opportunity zones offer an intriguing new pathway for our state to expand our middle class and restore the California Dream for all residents,” said Ashley Swearengin, Central Valley Community Foundation’s CEO and former Mayor of Fresno. “I’m thrilled to see CalOZ showing leadership on this issue and excited to support their work both in the Central Valley and state as a whole.”

CalOZ’s first priority will be coordinating with the state to create “high-impact” policies in addition to the ones being offered by the federal government. The plan is to create a “triple-bottom line mindset” for social, environmental and financial opportunities, according to the release.

“With more than three million Californians residing in opportunity zones, California can and must seize the chance to deploy an unprecedented source of private capital into the communities that need it most, “ said Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward. “We’re proud to partner with CalOZ to support state and local action to ensure California emerges as a national leader in this program.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury certified more than 8,700 qualified areas throughout the country. Of those, California has around 10 percent within its boundaries. And Fresno County is ranked third in terms of having the largest designated Opportunity Zones, according to Merchant.

Those designations will last through the end of 2028.

New state group to promote Opportunity Zones

KERN COUNTY: CALIFORNIA’S NEXT MAJOR LOGISTICS HUB

Published on 2019-03-06

Tejon Ranch Commerce Center leads the effort with new space and even more available land.

March 5, 2019

By Barry Zoeller

Kern County is quickly establishing itself as a major location for distribution centers and the creation of new jobs. Located just north of Los Angeles at the geographic and population center of California, Kern County is already home to more than 50 distribution and fulfillment centers within 40 miles of the county seat of Bakersfield—California’s ninth largest city. With a lineup of distribution centers that includes major players in the logistics industry including Amazon, Dollar General, Famous Footwear, IKEA, L’Oréal, Ross, Target, and Walmart, Kern County is a region increasingly targeted by large brands looking for more space to grow.

Kern County’s competitive location

Kern County’s location enables overnight truck delivery to 40 million consumers— more than any other location in the west. Distribution centers are cost centers for companies, and the costs of doing business in Kern County are much lower than in most other regions in California. Housing in Kern County is also among the most affordable in the state, enabling companies to attract and retain employees.

Companies relocating to Kern County have access to prominent transportation corridors including Interstate 5, State Highway 99, and eastbound 58, providing easy access to all of California and beyond. Drive times are also more consistent, typically 90 minutes to Los Angeles with fewer congestion points for drivers to contend with.

Tejon Ranch Commerce Center leads the way

Located at the southern gateway to Kern County directly on Interstate 5, the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC), a 1,450-acre active master-planned commercial development that includes industrial, retail, food, fuel, and hospitality amenities, is helping fuel this additional growth in Kern County.

TRCC’s fully entitled land is very attractive to companies looking to locate or expand in California. The center includes more than 5 million square feet of existing distribution and retail space and has capacity for the immediate development of nearly 15 million additional square feet of warehouse and industrial space.

TRCC offers next-day delivery service to Southern and Northern California, Reno, Las Vegas, and the outskirts of Phoenix along with access to up to 6.7 million more consumers than competing regions, and it does so within a single-day truck turn. TRCC features shovel-ready industrial sites for distribution, manufacturing, and e-commerce operations serving all of California and the 11 western states.

Big advantages

Its biggest advantage, though? TRCC is the closest location in Kern County to the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, and given its proximity to the LA basin, it is the most immediate relief valve for companies priced or spaced out of the heavily constrained markets in Southern California. One recent example: L’Oréal USA moved its professional salon distribution operations from Valencia, California to TRCC, occupying the remaining 240,000 square feet of space in a 480,000-square-foot building. The reason for their move from Los Angeles County? TRCC offered greater value, more room to grow, a deep and qualified employee base and a strategic location from which to serve the western U.S.

Incentives driving growth

Kern County recently implemented an economic incentive policy, which gives the county flexibility to craft significant incentive packages to attract quality new businesses to the county. In 2018, a $2.3 million incentive package was awarded to L’Oréal USA based on its creation of 155 new jobs at TRCC. Amazon, which is building a 2 million-square-foot multi-story facility next to Meadows Field, Kern County’s main airport, also received an incentive package tied to additional job creation. TRCC currently employs between 3,000-4,000 full time and part time employees based on season.

The growth in Kern County and at Tejon Ranch continues. Tejon, in partnership with Majestic Realty Co., is currently building a 580,000-square-foot speculative industrial building that will be ready for occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2019. 67% of the building has already been pre-leased to a user that will be moving its western U.S. distribution operations out of the Los Angeles area. Needing room to expand, the user will occupy approximately 390,000 square feet of space in the new building.

With its lower costs, new County incentives, great amenities for workers and professional drivers alike, and California’s largest activated Foreign Trade Zone as well as substantial room for growth, TRCC is poised to continue to lead the way as future tenants learn the advantages of doing business in Kern County.

Artist rendering of 580K-square-foot industrial building set to open at TRCC in the fourth quarter of 2019. Having pre-leased 390K square feet, approximately 190K square feet is still available.

For more information, visit www.tejoncommerce.com/.

FOR SECOND TIME IN SIX MONTHS, TRCC SECURES LEASE WITH COMPANY RE-LOCATING FROM LOS ANGELES

TEJON RANCH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 14, 2019– Tejon Ranch Co. (NYSE: TRC) today announced that it has agreed to terms on a lease with a company that will relocate its western US distribution operations from the Los Angeles area to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center (TRCC) in the fourth quarter of this year. The company, which wishes to remain anonymous for the time being due to competitive reasons, will occupy approximately 390,000 square feet of space in a new 580,000-square-foot building TRC is developing in partnership with Majestic Realty Co. The new building represents the third partnership between TRC and Majestic Realty. Construction has commenced, and the building will be ready for occupancy in approximately eight months.

“This decision to move its western distribution warehouse from the Los Angeles area to TRCC underscores Tejon Ranch’s value as a proven and opportune place for companies wanting to locate and/or expand in California,” said Joseph N. Rentfro, executive vice president of real estate at Tejon Ranch Co. “Coming on the heels of L’Oréal USA’s decision last fall to move its professional salon distribution subsidiary, SalonCentric, from its Valencia facility to Tejon, it reinforces our location as a place where companies find great value in our compelling logistics model, our outstanding labor force, and where they have opportunity to grow and expand.”

“Majestic Realty is extremely pleased the partnership has been able to pre-lease a large portion of the new building we’re developing in partnership with Tejon Ranch Co.,” said Brett Tremaine, senior vice president at Majestic Realty Co. “Working in Tejon Ranch, the time required to deliver a building ready for occupancy is as efficient and expeditious a process as you’ll find anywhere in the state, and perhaps the country. And with L’Oréal, and now a second company moving up from Los Angeles, we believe many more companies currently located in the Los Angeles basin will want to avail themselves of the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center’s strategic location at the southern gateway to Kern County.”

“It makes perfect sense for growing companies located in Los Angeles to consider relocating operations to Tejon Ranch,” said John DeGrinis, SIOR, executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, who represented TRCC and the other party in this transaction. “As available space is at a premium in Los Angeles–and commanding premium prices–Tejon Ranch represents an attractive alternative for companies needing additional space and seeking value for their businesses.”

“TRCC’s central location with direct access to Interstate 5 allows companies to get their goods to market easily and quickly,” Rentfro added. “In addition, employees and professional drivers have access to a wide variety of adjacent amenities. And with total operating costs among the lowest in the state, TRCC gives companies opportunities to take their distribution operations to the next level.”

This newest tenant at TRCC imports goods for sale throughout the US and beyond and will therefore have opportunity to take advantage of TRCC’s status as a Foreign Trade Zone. All industrial sites within TRCC, totaling nearly 1,100 acres, are included in FTZ #276, which was re-established and expanded last year by the U.S. Department of Commerce in conjunction with Kern County. FTZ #276 is locally administered by the County of Kern and is one of the largest activated FTZs in California.

The Tejon Ranch Commerce Center is Tejon Ranch Co.’s 1,450-acre master planned commercial/industrial development located at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in Kern County, about an hour north of the Los Angeles basin. It’s entitled for more than 20 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, with about 15 million square feet still available. In addition to the previously mentioned L’Oréal USA, the Commerce Center is also home to major distribution centers for IKEA, Famous Footwear, Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Vision Media and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT).

http://tejonranch.com/for-second-time-in-six-months-trcc-secures-lease-with-company-re-locating-from-los-angeles/

UPS TO PULL TRIGGER ON NEW VISALIA HUB, 600 JOBS


Image via flickr.comPublished On December 5, 2018 – 1:11 PM
Written By John Lindt

United Parcel Service (UPS) is moving forward on plans for its new Visalia distribution hub this month.

Blueprints call for a 425,000 square foot facility expected to employ 600 people.

Mayor Warren Gubler said he and City Manger Randy Groom met with UPS representatives about a month ago. ”They told us they want to build their plant next year and it will bring 300 more jobs to Visalia,” Gubler said.

UPS bought 58 acres last year at the northeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues, the first development that would be north of Riggin in the industrial park.

Asked about the plan, a UPS spokesman said they had no comment.

But local Teamsters, who have a contract with UPS, say they have been advised of the plan.” UPS Visalia has about 274 employees now and they have told us they want to add 300 to 400 more,” says Teamsters Local 948 Secretary Adam Ochoa.

”They want to start construction right away” adding that UPS wants to be operating in time for next year’s busy holiday season.

The UPS Visalia facility is expected to be the new Central Valley regional hub for ground shipments with room to expand if necessary. UPS is expanding its logistics hubs all around the country as they struggle to handle the ever-increasing demand from online shopping.

Community Development Director Nick Mascia says the city is working directly with UPS and their contractor on a plan that would place the new distribution facility on the north end of the property with vehicular access from both Riggin Avenue and Plaza Drive.

UPS has a smaller 40,000 square foot distribution center on Goshen Avenue they will no longer need once the large new highly automated facility opens. Mascia says in their building design process they are working first on a design for the conveyor systems to handle packages at the new Visalia plant.

And business is brisk. Nationally UPS package volume has increased 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year even as their domestic revenue was up 8.1 percent.

UPS investment in new facilities and technology appears to be paying off as they compete to deliver on time.

UPS delivered 98.3 percent of packages shipped during Thanksgiving week on time, according to ShipMatrix Inc. Last year during the same week, 89.2 percent of parcels shipped through UPS Express were delivered on the day they were promised, meaning about 3.3 million packages a day arrived late.

The Wall Street Journal say UPS has added 22 new or retrofitted automated facilities in the U.S to handle the crushing volume of packages arriving at our front doors.

In August 2017, UPS purchased the 58 acres in Visalia’s industrial park. The big block of land was bought from developer Central California Logistics Center who had available some 480 acres of land north of Riggin Avenue on both sides of Plaza Drive. With UPS in place, demand for the remaining 400-plus acres should pick up.

Because of UPS’ plans, there will likely be more of these hubs sprouting along what has been open-range land on the sparsely populated northwestern edge of Visalia.

With little congestion and plenty of land available, UPS made a decision to invest in this property with their distribution hubs in Fresno and Visalia. Those hubs have been very busy and highly impacted by nearby development that has boxed them in — thwarting any kind of future major expansion.

For years, Visalia has promoted its center-state location and the presence of a major UPS transportation hub with access to 98 percent of California’s population via overnight delivery — 95 million consumers.

This presence is also credited with attracting scores of other distribution centers that use UPS for overnight shipping, claims about which both Visalia and Fresno boast.

One company, Diversified Development Group of Fresno, has invested heavily in buying land and developing “spec,” — or speculation — buildings before firm commitments. DDG has three developments within a block of the new Visalia UPS complex and expects more deals as large as 1 million square feet.

Recently, power toolmaker Hilti Inc. leased a new 166,000 square foot warehouse just built by DDG next to VF Corp. on American Avenue at Riggin Avenue. DDG also has plans for a new 700,000 square foot set of four “spec” buildings expected to break ground in 2019 at the southeast corner of Plaza and Riggin avenues.

Helping to highlight the location of these properties is the completion of the new $36 million Betty Drive interchange, less than two miles away at Highway 99. This will speed truck traffic in and out of the Visalia Industrial Park.

HERE ARE THE VALLEY’S FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES

Published On November 9, 2018 – 7:00 AM
Written By Donald A. Promnitz
The past three years have been good to the staff at Lee’s Heating & Air in Fresno. In fact, at a 128 percent rate of growth between 2015 and 2017, the firm has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Central Valley.

For more information on the fastest growing companies in the San Joaquin Valley, please see The Business Journal’s annual list on page 10.

According to Tom Howard, the owner of Lee’s, this uptick in business can be largely attributed to customer service and reputation, along with upgraded software to connect with customers. Another big factor, however, has been the improvement of the economy, both nationally and locally.

“It allows homeowners to make upgrades that they haven’t been able to make before,” Howard said. “I think that the economy is doing a lot better in the Central Valley than it was in 2009 and 2010 — that definitely helped fuel the growth.”

Howard isn’t alone in his observation. According to Fresno State economist Ernie Goss, the Central Valley — which has previously lagged behind the rest of the state — has been making rapid progress in recent years.

“Now the catch up is really [sped] up, meaning the rate of growth has been positive for quite some time,” Goss said. “But the rate has definitely increased and relative to the U.S., it’s certainly stronger.”

In Goss’s research, he found that overall job growth in the Central Valley over the past 12 months has been 2.6 percent compared to the national average of 1.7 percent. Howard said that his own company has expanded its employment roster from approximately 26 in 2015 to about 50. Meanwhile, expanded business has given Lee’s the ability to pay tuition for his employees who are in college, along with their books.

Goss added that construction and manufacturing are two other sectors to watch. Construction is surpassing the national average with 8.3 percent job growth in the region, while in manufacturing, its 5.1 percent. Delano Construction, LLC of Fresno, which currently has a roster of 26 employees, saw a revenue growth of 208 percent.

The last three years have also proven successful for the solar companies in the region. Topping this industry has been Energy Concepts Enterprises, Inc., which went from revenues of $4.2 million in 2015 to $9.8 million in 2017, a rate of 132 percent. SunPower by Quality Home Services also saw growth of 90 percent in the same time frame, while in Visalia, CalCom Energy was up by 47.46 percent. According to Ryan Gutierrez of Energy Concepts, this has largely been the result of higher utility bills.

“Rates are continually going up,” Gutierrez said. “Solar offers a way for a customer to avoid rate increases by covering their own quest for energy.”

Goss said that tariffs on imported solar panels would further help domestic manufacturers.

Meanwhile, a law passed earlier this year mandating solar panels on new homes could also be good business when it goes into effect in 2020.

For some companies, however, growth isn’t necessarily facilitated by a growing economy. For example, BCT Consulting, Inc. of Fresno, provider of technology solutions, tends to be busier when there’s a dip in the market. This is because their company deals in the outsourcing of technology and helping clients find solutions that are more cost effective.

Nonetheless, BCT has grown by 27 percent. Eric Rawn, president and founder, credited this to acquisitions and mergers, along with community outreach and customer service.

“We don’t want to grow just to grow,” Rawn said. “We want to grow because it makes sense for everyone involved.”

In the months and years to come, Goss added that he has optimism for the future of the San Joaquin Valley. Though he stated concerns about immigration and the agricultural exports being impacted by the current trade war with China, he said the region has become increasingly appealing to the rest of the state.

“So there is the ability of some of those companies coming to Fresno and enjoying many of the benefits of California, but not many of the costs that we’re seeing in San Francisco, for example,” Goss said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/here-are-the-valleys-fastest-growing-companies/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=612a341302-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_20_09_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-612a341302-78934409&mc_cid=612a341302&mc_eid=a126ded657