A California computer scientist is set to compete for millennial dollars right here in Visalia.
Computer scientist Aamir Farooqui plans to open a 1,800 square-foot, fully-automated convenience store, similar to Amazon Go.
Based in Sacramento, Farooqui says his new concept store is the first of its kind in the Central Valley. He hopes to duplicate it elsewhere, he said.
An automated convenience store relies on computers and robotics. Amazon calls it “just walk out” shopping.
The new Visalia store will be built at 707 S. Bridge St., in the middle of the city.
Currently, it’s a vacant lot sandwiched between a second-hand store and homes. Farooqui bought the vacant parcel last year.
The developer is seeking a conditional-use permit from the city for the new store.
“In our model, we will be using new type of vending machines equipped with WiFi and cameras,” Farooqui said. “People can buy merchandise using cash (after converting to gift cards), credit or debit cards or through a mobile app. At the store opening, we plan to give away 100 free gift cards to our first customers.”
These kinds of stores have taken off in Europe where they go by the names of SmartMart and RoboMart. Farooqui says he has yet to choose a name for the Visalia location.
He hopes to open as soon as possible.
Not having on-site employees will allow the business to save money although it may take shoppers a little time to get used to a new routine using technology.
“Our goal is simply to reduce the cost of running a store for small businesses and at the same time offer 24-hour convenient service to the local community.”
Amazon’s model is simple.
“You simply walk in, grab what you need, and go. Amazon bills your credit card as you pass through the turnstile on your way out,” he said. “Moments later, an app on your phone provides a receipt detailing what you’ve bought, what you paid, and even how long you spent inside.”
Grocery stores are automating the shopping experience led by Walmart and Sam’s Club. The Visalia Walmart is installing more automated check-out devices and Sam’s Club wants to allow shoppers to scan products by holding their smartphones over a product, without having to find and capture a barcode on the package.
Microsoft is said to be developing technology that can track what shoppers add to their carts.
Meanwhile, Target is changing item pickup service at the stores with Pickup Towers, making the in-store process automated.
Bitwise Industries is teaming up with Fres-Yes realty company and expanding to a new location in Downtown Fresno.
It will be located at the Old Spaghetti Factory building on Ventura and R Streets.
The building will be the third location for Bitwise, which already has South Stadium Van Ness and The Hive.
The second story of the new building, called “Bitwise 41,” will eventually have a team of 150 FresYes agents working there.
Organizers say they hope the new location will inspire other businesses to come to Downtown Fresno.
“So I think the exciting part as far as visibility goes you can’t get more visible than this building right here. 41 is directly behind me. North and south. 45,000 cars going each way. It is a prime location for just visibility alone,” said Channelle Charest with Bitwise.
Bitwise 41 is expected to be ready to occupy in April.
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).
Western Dental opens its first pediatric dental office
“The new office builds upon our solid base in Stockton”
Western Dental & Orthodontics, one of the nation’s largest oral healthcare and orthodontics companies, is opening its first children’s dentistry offices in Stockton.
The new office, at 616 West Hammer Lane, will serve pediatric patients exclusively. Western Dental also owns and operates five other Western Dental offices in Stockton, which serve patients of all ages.
“Our pediatric dental team is excited to be part of the Stockton community in this beautiful new office with state-of-the-art digital equipment,” says Syed Hyder, managing doctor for the new Stockton office.
The 3,500 square-foot office has been designed with colorful graphics. The pediatric dental services include sealants to help prevent cavities, fluoride treatments, and a full-service orthodontics department.
“The new Western Dental Kid’s office in Stockton builds upon our solid base in Stockton and expands access to children in the area,” says John Luther, chief dental officer for Western Dental.
Black Bear Diner is taking over the former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery space on West Shaw Avenue. It is slated to open in February or March of 2019.
The first Black Bear Diner in Fresno is one step closer to opening.
The owner of the restaurant said Thursday that the location at 3602 W. Shaw Ave. is scheduled to open in February. She has not set an exact date.
The restaurants are hugely popular among diners in the central San Joaquin Valley, who have long wanted to open one in Fresno.
The Fresno Black Bear is owned by Amy Rose, who revealed new details about the restaurant Thursday.
It is taking over the 7,108-square-foot former Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery near West Shaw and Marty avenues. It will seat 226 people.
The diner will have a meeting room with Wi-Fi available for large groups.
Black Bear Diner will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
The location will employ 92 people and has hired some workers, but is looking for more. Available positions include cooks and prep cooks and experienced servers, hosts and bussers.
Interested applicants can apply online at Indeed.com. Positions range from minimum wage to $16 an hour, according to the website.
This will be Black Bear’s seventh restaurant in the area owned by the Rose family, including Bob Rose, who owns locations in Visalia, Madera, Tulare, Porterville, Hanford and Los Banos. The family had been planning to build a location in Clovis, but decided to open the restaurant in Fresno instead.
• Darling Ingredients plant to make organic fertilizer
• Will target California and other Western markets
An organic fertilizer production facility is being opened inTurlock by Darling Ingredients Inc. (NYSE: DAR) of Irving,Texas.The facility is located on a 21-acre site and will have the ability to make 35,000 tons of fertilizer a year. It will be marketed under the brand name Nature Safe Natural & Organic Fertilizer.The new plant will also provide 4,500 tons of storage capacity to meet the needs of organic growers operating in California and the West. the company says.
Darling has been making its organic fertilizer at its original Henderson, Kentucky, plant since the early 1990’s, where it will continue to produce for customers in the rest of the country. The company says the strength of the organic fertilizer market in the western U.S. has it working on plans to double the new Turlock plant’s production capacity by end of year 2019.
The company is focused on a growth strategy in California where it can leverage Darling’s diverse supply of animal feed ingredients, says Mike Manning, Darling’s vice president of organic fertilizer and innovation. With long-established rendering facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno and Turlock that produce feather meal, blood meal, and meat &bone meal, the company is able to produce the high quality organic fertilizers with cost-effective proficiency, he says.
When the new Turlock plant begins production in January, it will bring on a new management team. West Regional Commercial Business Manager Dan Rodriguez will develop go-to-market strategies. Kevin Van Dewark has joined Darling Ingredients as plant manager for the new Turlock fertilizer plant, and Mayra Pena will be its new office manager.
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.
ALDI prototype stores are in the 22,000 square-foot range. The first Valley location is coming to Porterville.
Published On November 26, 2018 – 2:00 PM Written By Frank Lopez
Porterville residents will have the first chance to shop at ALDI, a low-cost German grocery store, when the Central Valley’s first location opens Dec. 6.
The grand opening will include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, a Golden Ticket giveaway worth up to $100 to the first 100 shoppers, a produce-for-a-year sweepstakes and sampling of ALDI exclusive brand products.
The Porterville store is located at 770 S. Jaye St. off Highway 90. ALDI is also planning a Hanford store that could be open by the spring of 2019, according to the Hanford Sentinel. All ALDI building prototypes are designed with a square footage of 22,000 feet.
The Porterville store is part of a $5 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022, along with adding 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices. ALDI has been in the grocery retailing industry since 1976 and operates more than 1,800 U.S. stores in 35 states and sees more than 40 million customers each month.
The closest current location is in Bakersfield.
“ALDI stores are designed to make life easier for people. We offer high-quality foods at affordable prices and a streamlined shopping experience unlike anything else,” said Tom Cindel, Moreno Valley Division Group Director of Operations and Logistics for ALDI. “From our award-winning products, to trendy, fresh and healthy options, we’re focused on carrying a selection that has something for everyone.”
The stores are designed to provide customers with a streamlined and easy shopping experience. The focus is on providing the best options at the best prices, making the trendy foods affordable and accessible, and selling random items at times when customers need them most, such as rain boots in the spring, or Dutch ovens around Thanksgiving.
By design, the Coyote Entertainment Center is the kind of place you’ll want to bring the family for the day.
Like a full eight-hour day.
“Basically, it’s a one-stop shop,” says Nichole Castillo, director of sales and marketing for the center, which opens Nov. 30 next to Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore.
“It’s almost like a perfect entertainment spot.”
The glass-faced building comes in at close to 90,000 square feet and puts several options under one roof.
The eight-screen Palace Cinemas has 1,100 luxury seats with Christie Pure laser cinema projectors, QSC Theater and Dolby Atmos sound systems, and delivered-to-your-seat food options.
Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center includes eight multiplex movie theaters with reclining leather chairs.
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Tachi Lanes is a 30-lane bowling alley that’s heavy on flashing neon and swank leather seating with a separated six-lane VIP room.
The shoes are old school.
Mit’si Little Arcade has more than 45 games — franchise games like Halo and The Walking Dead, plus classics like Ice Ball (better known as skee-ball). All games use the point system (ala Dave & Buster’s) and players can earn reward points redeemable in the arcade shop.
There’s a stuffed poop emoji, for example, but also Xbox gaming consoles and the like.
Red Bud Billiards is set up with nine tournament-style tables, a full bar and a video wall made up with nine large-screen TVs.
Red Bud Billiards at Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center also features a sports bar with large-screen TVs.
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Along with the standard theater-style concessions, there is also the Ch’ox’l Eagle Lounge, which features a full menu of flatbreads, salads and paninis, plus pizzas, chicken wings, beer-battered fish and chips, and burgers. For those of drinking age, the restaurant features 30 craft beers along with specialty cocktails and an expansive bourbon selection.
The center will be open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Taken with the existing casino and hotel (and with the World Surf League hosting events nearby), Tachi Palace is an obvious draw for those from the area — at the naval air base or in nearby towns — but also for people across the state, Castillo says.
“It’s like a hidden gem in the middle of all this ag land,” she says.