Divert Breaks Ground on Turlock Facility

Divert, Inc., a technology company operating in the food waste space, broke ground yesterday on a state-of-the-art integrated recovery facility in Turlock, CA. The new facility will capture and turn wasted food into carbon-negative renewable energy, bringing California closer to reaching its net-zero carbon pollution goal by 2045. The event featured Divert CEO Ryan Begin and several dignitaries, including California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak, and Keenan Krick of the nearby Second Harvest Food Bank, which was the recipient of a generous food donation by Divert in conjunction with its retail partners including Albertsons, Safeway, and CVS.

Begin, who will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Organic Produce Summit in July, thanked the many different people and entities that have had a hand in bringing this project to fruition, including the city of Turlock and the state of California. He added that “none of this would be possible without our customers.” He noted that Divert’s business model involves taking packaged food waste from retailers, eliminating the need to dump it in landfills and instead turning it into energy.

“California is a proving ground for our model,” he said, adding that the company’s first facility was a $30 million project built by Kroger and placed in Compton, CA.

That project was funded and is owned by the retailer. The Turlock facility is owned by Divert and will take food waste from multiple retailers throughout California and the neighboring states. Begin applauded California and said, “It is an amazing place to do business.” In fact, he thanked the California Legislature for passing progressive legislation that addresses the food waste issue and mandates action. The Turlock facility is owned by Divert and will take food waste from multiple retailers throughout California and the neighboring states. Begin applauded California and said, “It is an amazing place to do business.”

In a press statement prior to the event, Begin said, “The wasted food crisis is a major contributor to climate change and food insecurity. States and municipalities are on the front lines, under increasing pressure to ensure that their communities live in healthy, sustainable environments. It is fitting that today’s announcement falls on April 26, global Stop Food Waste Day.

For the past 16 years, Divert has been at the forefront of working to prevent waste through our sustainable infrastructure and advanced technologies. This is a transformative opportunity to scale Divert’s proven solutions in California and further accelerate our vision for a waste-free future.”

He refers to himself and partner Nick Whitman as “garage entrepreneurs” who worked on perfecting the concept for many years before the Kroger facility was completed 11 years ago. The 65,000-square-foot Turlock facility will further deliver on Divert’s commitment to transform waste from retailers and other companies into carbon negative renewable energy, thereby preventing it from emitting harmful methane in landfills. The facility will also provide companies with data analytics, giving them the insights to take preventative steps to waste less and donate more food that is still edible.

The facility brings Divert closer to its plans to have 30 facilities across the United States within 100 miles of 80 percent of the US population in the next 8–10 years. The company currently manages about 0.5 percent of US wasted food from 5,400 food retail stores. Its goal is to grow that to 5 percent through its expansion plans. Once fully operational in 2024, the Turlock facility will be able to process 100,000 tons of wasted food a year. The facility will offset up to 23,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of taking nearly 5,000 gas-powered cars off the road each year. The facility’s renewable energy production will be enough to supply roughly 3,000 homes each year.

“The wasted food crisis is a major contributor to climate change and food insecurity. States and municipalities are on the front lines, under increasing pressure to ensure that their communities live in healthy, sustainable environments.” – Ryan Begin

States are increasingly implementing legislation to tackle climate change, including tax incentives, stricter laws for reprocessing wasted food, and stronger liability protection for food donations, as outlined in the federal Food Donation Improvement Act of 2022. In California specifically, the state’s SB 1383 law, passed in 2016, requires the diversion of wasted food from landfills through waste prevention or donation and encourages the use of anaerobic digestion to create renewable energy.

Ma told the crowd that she has been passionate about the food waste issue since she was a supervisor in San Francisco and had to deal with shrinking landfill space. She carried that passion into the California Legislature as a member there and is now doing what she can as State Treasurer.

In a pre-event statement, she said: “I am proud of the work my office and partners across California are doing to address climate change and meet the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals through green financing. The green bond issued through the California Public Financing Authority is one example of how California is leading on climate change through quality, long-term green infrastructure opportunities. We applaud Divert’s commitment to tackling our state’s wasted food crisis with the development of this new facility, making strides toward a stronger economy and a better-quality life for the people that we serve, now and into the future.”

“I am proud of the work my office and partners across California are doing to address climate change and meet the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals through green financing. The green bond issued through the California Public Financing Authority is one example of how California is leading on climate change through quality, long-term green infrastructure opportunities.” – Fiona Ma

Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak also spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, thanking Divert and all the other partners for bringing this project to her town. She said it will not only bring new jobs and economic growth to the region but make important strides in reducing the footprint of wasted food. During the event, a team from Second Harvest Food Bank created 60 boxes of food, which it planned to distribute to needy Turlock families. Krick noted that the food bank will be an ongoing partner of Divert, delivering usable food to those in need as part of the facility’s operation when it is up and running. Founded in 2007, Divert creates advanced technologies and sustainable infrastructure to eliminate wasted food. The company, which is headquartered in Massachusetts, provides an end-to-end solution that prevents waste by maximizing the freshness of food, recovers edible food to serve communities in need, and converts wasted food into renewable energy.


More jobs announced as Turlock’s new Amazon fulfillment center opens. How much do they pay?

The new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock opened Thursday morning with big smiles and news of more jobs.

The massive 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse was built from the ground up at Fulkerth Road and Fransil Lane over the last year and a half. The grand opening celebration included the announcement of some 500 more jobs than previously predicted to staff the facility once fully operational. Initially, the online retail giant said it planned to hire some 1,000 workers in Turlock, but now expects to employ 1,500. “This is huge!” said Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak, who was among a handful of dignitaries and their representatives at the ribbon-cutting for the center. “It was just a dream that we get this area together and that we start to bring big businesses here, big opportunities for jobs. …. This will be a benefit for decades for our community.”

Turlock Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Blom, left, and Yosemite Community College District Chancellor Henry Yong, Amazon Turlock Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez and Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak cut the ceremonial ribbon Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, to open the new fulfillment center on Fulkerth Road in Turlock, Calif.

The new facility, the first for Turlock and only the second in Stanislaus County from the e-commerce company, received its first shipment Sept. 25 and has been slowly ramping up production as it works to get fully staffed. The fulfillment center, which began construction in April 2021, had to push back its original projected opening date of “mid-2022” to late September. Like its smaller counterpart in Patterson, which opened in 2013, the new Turlock facility is a so-called nonsortable fulfillment center, meaning it stocks, picks, packs and ships large, bulk or otherwise unusually sized items.

Inside, the floor is filled with 40-foot-high rows that are being filled with everything from patio furniture to outdoor grills, mini-fridges and area rugs. Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez, a Modesto native turned Turlock resident who previously worked in a Tracy Amazon site, said the new center is only about 7% stocked. Inventory is expected to be at 30% by the holidays, with the facility stocked at full capacity by February. A worker sorts items inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif. Oct. 20, 2022.

Already, Amazon has hired hundreds of workers to begin filling its shifts. The facility operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has 12 shifts across its schedule. Hundreds of more openings are expected, with new workers joining daily, Ramirez said.

Starting salary for the new floor positions start at $18.75, or $39,000 a year for full-time workers. The Turlock starting wages are just shy of the new $19 average hourly wage the company announced in September that it was rolling out for most of its front-line warehouse and transportation workers across the country. But Amazon spokeswoman Natalie Banke said wages vary “city by city,” and the $19 was a national average, not the national minimum starting salary. The Turlock salary is the same as Patterson’s, which employs about 600 workers. A worker moves items Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif.

The company also plans to hire an additional 200 to 300 seasonal workers in Turlock, starting now, who will help with the holiday rush. Ramirez said he expects it to take six months to a year for the new Turlock center to be fully staffed. Banke said about 92% of employees so far live in Stanislaus County. On the warehouse floor, a small armada of red hydrogen-powered forklifts zip along rows and rows of 40-foot racks. Associates are lifted 30-plus feet into the air to stock and pick items, with others sorting and shipping on the floor of its two levels. Items then go from the warehouse directly to Amazon delivery vehicles or third-party package carriers for delivery.

A worker drives a power lift inside the new Amazon fulfillment center that recently opened in Turlock, Calif Oct. 20, 2022. “People are very excited about the opening,” said senior site safety manager Myranda St. John, a Modesto rsident who previously worked in one of the company’s Stockton facilities and has seen her commute time cut in half. “Amazon has provided a lot of opportunities for myself and for the larger community. I’ve been able to go from an hourly employee to a salaried employee in less than five years.”

In March of this year, Amazon announced its partnership with Turlock’s California State University, Stanislaus, and Modesto Junior College for the company’s Career Choice program. Hourly employees at the new Turlock facility are eligible for free tuition at both institutions. Full- and part-time employees are eligible, but only full-time employees will have all their tuition paid (part-time workers receive half). The entrance to the warehouse floor inside the new Amazon fulfillment center in Turlock, Calif. is seen Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

The new facility, like all Amazon distribution centers, is named after a nearby airport. The Turlock site is named MCE1 for the Merced Regional Airport, which is about 30 miles to the south. “We are very blessed being here in Turlock and we have had amazing response to our hiring and have had no constraints there at all,” Ramirez said. “We will continuously be on-boarding a few hundred associates throughout the remainder of the year.” Amazon Senior Operations Manager Steve Ramirez inside the new large and bulky item fulfillment center that has opened in Turlock, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2022.

Job seekers interested in applying for full-time, part-time or seasonal work at the Turlock Amazon facility can find open positions and applications online at amazon.com/flexiblejobs. Job seekers can also sign up for text alerts for upcoming Amazon jobs in the region. To sign up, text “AMAZONJOBS” to ” 77088 ,” and then you will receive a series of texts asking you to opt-in for jobs in your ZIP code.


Irvine farm technology company may set up operations center in Bakersfield

An ag-tech startup in Irvine is considering establishing operations in Bakersfield in coordination with city government. M8 Systems, founded by the executive credited with inventing cashier-less retail stores for Amazon, proposes to locally engineer, assemble, test and sell automated irrigation systems that would use sensors and control systems to help farmers use water more efficiently.

No agreement has been finalized to bring the company to Bakersfield, but founder and CEO Max Safai said he hopes to employ six people in the city by the end of this year. By the end of 2024, he said, nearly 20 M8 workers could be working locally — three-quarters or more of its workforce. He said the company’s headquarters would to Bakersfield. “We want to have a close relationship with the city of Bakersfield, and we also want to be where the action is in the Central Valley,” Safai said.

Director Paul M. Saldaña of Bakersfield’s Economic and Community Development Department said companies like M8 are “exactly the type of innovative companies that we’d like to see come to Bakersfield.” He pointed to a $150,000 deal the city recently struck to attract another tech startup, North Carolina battery company SineWatts Inc. “There are a number of innovative companies that we continue to have conversations with, and we hope … to see similar opportunities in the very near future,” Saldaña said. He said the city might offer a financial incentive to M8.

Safai said M8 started in March 2019 after avocado farmers he knows in San Diego County expressed concern about rising irrigation costs. After some tinkering, he performed two “proofs of concept” in his garage that demonstrated the viability of a system to measure water use precisely, detect leaks and then turn off valves as appropriate before issuing a digital alert that a problem has been found. The idea now is to combine irrigation-control equipment — new or already installed in ag fields — with satellite and drone imagery, weather information and cloud-data technology in what Safai called a new application of “smart ag.”

M8’s system would sense changing conditions, including potentially adverse events such as wind that could waste irrigation water, and make automated suggestions around the clock to save farmers money. Any water leaks would automatically result in pressure shutoffs to specific pipes, along with the transmission of text messages to nearby farmworkers. The system would take into account soil status, relative humidity and temperature readings.

The company’s biggest test yet is expected to take place during the next two weeks as M8 brings 23 San Diego County farmers online to test out the system. Safai said the company is also negotiating its first large investment of outside money. While orchards would benefit, Safai said the best application of the technology might be row crops such as the carrots grown in and around Kern. He noted the Central Valley produces revenues of about $17 billion per year, or about a quarter of the U.S. food supply. “This is a very big market for us,” he said.

It will be important to show M8’s customers the company is responsive to their concerns and near enough to do something about them quickly, Safai said. For that reason, he hopes to find a local home for not only product assembly and testing but also procurement, logistics and repairs ready within 24 hours. There will need to be local electrical engineering and mechanical engineering labs, as well as an area for working with fluid flow technology. A small presence would remain in Irvine to perform tasks such as software engineering, human resources management, some sales and finance, partly to serve customers in San Diego County. Eventually the company may lease its products to farmers, as a way of helping them fix their costs, but Safai said the initial plan is to sell the systems directly to farmers and charge them for the company’s data plan. Safai noted he has come to Bakersfield to meet with people about the proposal to set up a local operation. Once here, he found the people he met were “amazingly wonderful, motivated people.”

McFarland fruit-breeding facility expected to attract talent, partner companies

The research and development facility being built in the McFarland area by fruit breeder International Fruit Genetics LLC comes with hopes it will attract not just top scientific talent but also partner companies in the global push for plants that are better suited to extreme weather, drought, disease and labor shortage.

IFG had employee recruitment in mind when it designed the property’s series of laboratories, including what would be Kern County’s first private-sector, federally certified clean plant-growing facility. The facility’s university-like campus was laid out for top biologists from around the country to “feel at home and motivated,” CEO Andy Higgins said.

But that’s not what Higgins was referring to when he said the company’s vision was that “if you build it, they will come.” He meant IFG expects to attract and collaborate with automation companies and those using sensor-based algorithms for optimizing moisture and sunlight. The $14 million project follows the recent opening of a similar facility in Wasco by fellow fruit breeder Sun World International LLC. Both are introducing high technology to Kern County agriculture in ways expected to extend across the globe.

Higgins said Fruitworks / The IFG Discovery Center, now about halfway built and expected to fully open in fall 2023, was a big part of the reason IFG received a purchase offer from food breeder SNFL Investments LLC, a subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate AM Fresh and its minority partner in the transaction, Swedish investment firm EQT Future. AM Fresh wanted an R&D presence in North America for work on joint projects, he said, adding that the McFarland complex will be bigger than the Spanish company’s own labs in Europe.

During a tour Wednesday of the 160-acre facility along Elmo Highway, Higgins went over the painstaking measures IFG uses to identify favorable plant traits, including long stems and consistent bunch sizes for purposes of automation. He explained plans to run 20,000-plus seedlings per year through a series of tests to see how well they hold up to weather and water extremes, shipping and consumer tastes. “It’s a big investment, but we know there’s big challenges coming down the road,” he said.

The project consolidates IFG’s operations around Kern and brings more functions in-house. Fruitworks is expected to have 25,000 square feet of greenhouses, plus laboratory and support buildings totaling 28,000 square feet. Hundreds of fruit varieties already grow in the property’s vineyards and cherry orchards. The property is expected to allow IFG to expand its staff of about 55 by as many as 17 scientists and other researchers.

Much of the attraction of Fruitworks, Higgins expects, is its scientific rigor. There will be a pathology lab in which plants known to be free of impurities will be exposed to diseases, and next to it, a biology and general chemistry lab where the company expects to learn more about flavor and the experience of eating fruit.

From there Higgins continued to a tissue culture lab space where small plant cells will be grown inside test tubes in a strictly sterile environment. Clones of these plants will be exported overseas to growers that pay for a license to grow IFG’s varieties.

Next, he showed off an incomplete greenhouse planned to be certified as clean by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After that, he proceeded to another greenhouse where plant cuttings will be exposed to temperature and drought extremes, and from there, to a “hard-knock” area putting fruit plants through even tougher conditions.

A cold storage area was Higgins’ next stop, with its post-harvest physiology lab for testing fruit varieties against a list of performance measures. Among other hurdles to be cleared is a requirement grapes taste the same 45 days after harvest as they do when freshly picked.

Behind the laboratory complex stand row after row of vineyards filling with grape varieties with names like Bebop, Julep and Quip, chosen for their easy pronunciation and lack of negative connotations in at least 12 different languages. Many of the grapes showed surface waxiness, a characteristic sometimes mistaken for pesticide, but which actually offers protection and fetches a premium in Asian markets.

Some of the grapes were red, some green or yellow; others were black, a sign of highest antioxidant concentration. Raisins growing nearby were drying on the vine, an improvement to conventional processes that either cost more or risk moisture damage. In July IFG patented its first raisin variety, which Higgins said was a first for a private-sector breeder. Drying on the vine also makes for easier automation, he added. “That’s what the California industry is really looking for,” he said.


AEMTEK Opens Lab in Central Valley

AEMTEK, a highly esteemed food safety laboratory, and analytical services provider, is opening a new location in Modesto. This facility will bring food safety testing closer to current and future clients in the Central Valley.

Doors Open to AEMTEK’s Modesto Location

AEMTEK will open the doors of its new Central Valley location in Modesto on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022.The new laboratory is located off Kiernan Ave and 108, on Spyres Way. The facility features state-of-the-art equipment to provide companies with routine food safety testing, environmental monitoring testing and consultation, and research services including shelf life, challenge, and validation studies. Dr. Florence Wu, President of AEMTEK Inc., highlighted the importance of AEMTEK’s mission of providing accurate, fast, and reliable services to the region’s food companies. She said that “Food companies rely on AEMTEK’s testing results to make actionable decisions. Operating in Modesto will take us closer to our Central Valley clients, improve turnaround time, and facilitate more client-focused services.”

Serving the Central Valley

The new laboratory will serve the Central Valley food manufacturing community and provide new sample pick-up services to the Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, and Merced regions. Keeping in line with AEMTEK’s mission, this new laboratory will employ the same focus on data accuracy, fast TATs, and industry-leading customer service for which AEMTEK has been recognized amongst its clients for nearly 20 years. An experienced team of Ph.D. scientists and microbiologists is excited to partner with food manufacturers of the Central Valley to help them achieve their food safety goals and keep the community safe. AEMTEK’s goal is to empower its clients across the U.S. to achieve top-notch food safety programs. The new Central Valley location will allow more companies in the Northern California Area and beyond to benefit from AEMTEK’s unparalleled services.

Private Lab Tours

To celebrate the grand opening, AEMTEK invites new and prospective clients to schedule a private tour of the new facility. To schedule a tour of the laboratory, complete this form. AEMTEK’s Central Valley laboratory will be open Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, with weekend and holiday analysis available upon prior notice. The laboratory will begin accepting samples at this location after its grand opening. 



Robinson’s Interiors is moving to a bigger Fresno location, affiliating with Carpet One Floor & Home and having its new grand opening June 4. The company, currently operating as Robinson’s Flooring in River Park, has served flooring customers in the Fresno area since 2009. “We had been looking to become a Carpet One store in Fresno for a number of years,” said Luke Robinson, who manages the store with his brother, Jake Robinson. “When the territory became available, we applied.” Jake added, “We had outgrown our location in Fresno, so the time was ripe to move to a bigger building as well.” They purchased the former Allied Linoleum & Carpet business at 292 W Herndon Ave.

This location and new affiliation will allow them to hire more staff, including in-house labor, and bring in the Carpet One brands. “There’s no better carpet than Relax it’s Lees,” said Jake. “And with the bigger showroom, customers can see, feel, and touch more samples.” Robinson’s Interiors began in Hanford when their father, Mike Robinson, rented a warehouse in downtown Hanford for $35 and a handshake. That was 1980. Since then the Hanford location has served both residential and commercial customers, including large institutions. In the early ‘90s, Mike was frustrated with what he termed the “Wild West” of the flooring business, where too many people were “shooting from the hip.” He was looking for better ways to serve his customers. He noticed some of his contacts, whom he respected, were Carpet One members. He investigated and determined Carpet One was a good fit for his business. Jake recalled his father saying, “They were good people who wanted to do good work.” When Mike opened Robinson’s Flooring in Fresno in 2009, he was unable to open under the Carpet One umbrella because it was unavailable.

Today, there are about 1,100 stores in the co-op, making it the largest co-op in the world. Because they buy under one account, they get significant discounts which are passed on to customers. That means Carpet One stores compete on price with big box stores. Jake added that Carpet One also provides members with access to superior products, state-of-the-art product knowledge, systems, and marketing. He noted the importance of the difference between a co-op and a franchise. “As a co-op we have a lot of resources, but very few requirements. We can be creative.” Mike Robinson passed in 2019, but the family is carrying on the business. Robinson’s Interiors is family-owned and community involvement is important. Their most recent project involved building beds for needy children so they don’t have to sleep on the floor.


New Hampton by Hilton Opens Near Yosemite National Park

Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite welcomed its first guests on Thursday, May 19. The property is among a complement of three hotels owned and operated by OTO Development, part of The Johnson Group, near Yosemite National Park.The hotels — this Hampton by Hilton, a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott and a Holiday Inn Express & Suites — are adjacent to each other along CA-41, just 13 short miles from Yosemite’s south gate.Noteworthy for its easy proximity to Yosemite National Park, Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite is an hour closer to the 1,169-square-mile natural attraction than any other Hilton property. It combines convenient access with the consistent service, accommodations and amenities guests have come to expect from the Hilton brand.“People are drawn to all the many natural wonders of Yosemite National Park,” says Corry Oakes, CEO of OTO Development. “They want to be surprised and delighted by the outside world, but they don’t want any surprises inside their hotel. That’s the value Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite brings to the market: a reliable, best-in-class experience every time, backed by the 100% Hampton Guarantee.”

Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite comprises 111 guest rooms intuitively designed for both function and comfort. On-site amenities include an indoor pool, a well-equipped fitness room, a 24/7 market and a guest laundry facility. For business travelers, there’s a business center and boardroom. A hot, complimentary breakfast is served every morning.“We are pleased to offer three popular brand options to the 4.5 million people who come to Yosemite every year,” Oakes says. “Visitors can make the most of the park’s activities and attractions, such as two wild and scenic rivers, waterfalls, granite cliffs and ancient giant sequoias, then relax back at their favorite, familiar hotel.”

The leadership team at Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite includes Stephanie Casillas and Richard Garwood, Assistant General Managers; Steve Tarn, Regional Director of Operations; Jennifer Mooradian, Director of Operation Support; Carla Tenenbaum, Regional Director of Sales; Lauren Hartman, Area Director of Sales; and Maygen Brown, Complex Sales Manager.OTO Development purchased Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite from a family of independent hoteliers while the property was still under construction. OTO previously acquired Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Oakhurst Yosemite and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oakhurst-Yosemite Park Area, which are next door to the new Hampton by Hilton. The seller was represented by Stanley Wang of Marcus & Millichap.

Hampton Inn Oakhurst-Yosemite is located at 40740 CA-41 in Oakhurst, California.


Ono Hawaiian BBQ says Aloha in Visalia

One of America’s fastest growing restaurant chains will celebrate its 100th location with the opening of its newest store in Visalia. Say “Aloha” to Ono Hawaiian BBQ. The Hawaiian-inspired fast-casual restaurant will celebrate the milestone at the grand opening of its Visalia store, 708 S. Mooney Blvd., all-day long on Friday, April 22. There will be an in-store luau for their customers to enjoy a taste of the Islands, including Hawaiian dancers showcasing and celebrating authentic Hawaiian culture and spirit. There will be deals and giveaways, including a buy one get one free offering both in-store and online. Ono Hawaiian BBQ will also be giving away 100th Store Memorabilia pins and scratchers at all locations while supplies last.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be opening our 100th Ono BBQ location and celebrating this milestone,” said Joshua Liang, Chief Executive Officer. “This achievement would not be possible without our loyal customers who’ve shown their love for our food and brand.” “Ono” means “delicious” in Hawaiian, and the restaurant has maintained its reputation for nearly two decades as the Hawaiian fast casual staple since being founded in 2002. The menu includes everything from mini meals to family-style servings. Every Ono Hawaiian BBQ dish is created with fresh ingredients using authentic Hawaiian recipes, and made-to-order in each restaurant. “Island Favorites” include chicken Katsu, Kalua pork, white fish, crispy shrimp and grilled spam and eggs.

The restaurant’s popularity continues to grow throughout California and Hawaii. The restaurant was recently ranked sixth in a Top 10 list of the fastest growing chains compiled last year by Technomic, a food service industry research firm. The ranking reported the Hawaiian barbecue restaurants had 2020 sales totalling $146 million. Ono opened its 98th location in Delano, Calif. In November.


New Valley Amazon warehouse aims to bring faster deliveries

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — A new Amazon warehouse is expected to be up and running in Fresno by the end of the year. The facility is being described as a ‘last mile’ warehouse, helping get all those goodies we buy to our homes.The goal is to get products to your doorstep faster, and residents welcome the new warehouse and the jobs it will bring. The new location will be built on Clovis and Olive avenues where the former Sunnyside Drive-in used to be, and it’s expected to operate 24/7 and employ about 550 people. “I think it’s a great opportunity, it’s an organization that supplies jobs for skilled workers as well as unskilled workers,” said Trent Walley, Lead Pastor of Harmony Church.

This new facility will focus on delivery operations. The so-called “last mile” items will arrive at the new Clovis building from Amazon warehouses around the nation and quickly be sorted for delivery to customers. From there, it’s into Amazon vans or in some cases, private contractors who use their own vehicles for deliveries like Instacart or DoorDash. It all adds up to faster shipping for customers and also potentially more traffic on the roads, but neighboring churches say it shouldn’t be a problem. “Most of their in and out traffic is going to be on Olive, which is already a four-lane with a center turn lane in it, so the infrastructure is there,” explained Walley.

The Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board has worked with Amazon before, and they expect an influx of interest once the warehouse is closer to completion. “We have a lot of businesses talking about labor shortage. I definitely would say that this is a really good time for folks that may be on the fence about whether or not they should apply,” said Martha Espinosa, Marketing and Grant Manager with the Fresno Workforce Development Board. With orders and demand not expected to slow down, positions that may not have been an option for some before are now becoming vacant. “Now they are trying to get it there even faster, so people, they want it now. Even though they are ordering it online, it’s nice to have it now,” added Walley. “A lot of companies are providing opportunities for folks that may not have qualified for certain jobs, so I would definitely say, throw your hat in the ring,” said Espinosa. Amazon did not want to comment on this project just yet, telling Action News to expect an announcement in the coming weeks.

Dalfen Industrial Acquires Central Valley Property

Dalfen Industrial has acquired a 417,600 square foot industrial building in Lathrop, CA – a submarket within East Bay’s Central Valley. The opportunity was sourced off-market and is 100% occupied with an additional 10.85 acres of prime developable land. The property has a strategic last mile location with close proximity to I-5 as well as the Port of Stockton and the Union Pacific and BNSF Railroads. This location offers access to over 839,000 people within a 30-minute drive with a population that is growing at a rate 47% faster than the national average. Other companies in the area include Home Depot, Wayfair, Tesla, Amazon, DHL and Kraft.

“Strong growth dynamics in this region have resulted in increasing industrial demand, making this a great addition to our west coast portfolio,” said Rich Weiss, Market Officer for Dalfen. “The Central Valley is a major west coast distribution hub with same-day delivery capabilities to nearly 46 million people between San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, and all the cities in between.”

“This acquisition exemplifies our continued focus of adding strategically located west coast industrial assets to our portfolio in order to bolster our last mile fulfillment center footprint in the region” markets.” said Sean Dalfen, President and Chief Investment Officer at Dalfen Industrial. In 2021, Dalfen Industrial has acquired and developed $2.3 billion in industrial properties.