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Lemoore gets a massive all-in-one entertainment center. Here’s a sneak peek

November 14, 2018 03:18 PM

Tulare Pavillion gets new stores, drawing shoppers

, Visalia Times-DeltaPublished 9:58 a.m. PT Nov. 12, 2018

With the recent openings of Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts, the Tulare Pavilion shopping center is near tenant capacity, recovering from a double-gut punch of having two anchor stores close.

Mervyn’s closed at the shopping center in 2009. Kmart closed in 2016.

Coupled with the openings of Harbor Freight Tools and a Dollar Tree store earlier this year, the vacant spaces are now filled.

“We saw the Mervyn’s building was empty for a long time,” Tulare Council member Carlton Jones said. “It’s nice to see that filled.”

Harbor Freight Tools and the Dollar Tree store moved into the former Mervyn’s building while Ross and dd’s took over Kmart’s former location.

Donnette Silva-Carter, Tulare Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the stores’ openings mean new jobs in Tulare and a boost to the local economy.

“It’s exciting to see activity there,” she said. “We are seeing that parking lot busy.”

Sales tax revenue is how municipalities pay for services such as police, fire, parks, and roads.

Shoppers seem to enjoy visiting the new stores.

On a recent afternoon, Lisa Palomino, a Visalia resident, walked out of Ross with a couple of large plastic bags filled with merchandise. She said likes shopping in Tulare.

“The store is clean. There’s ample parking. The employees were friendly with customers,” she said. “They have good selections in the store.”

Palomino didn’t mind driving to Tulare for her shopping, she said. After dropping off the bags in her car, Palomino walked to dd’s to continue her shopping.

Viridiana Velasquez, a Tulare resident, said she planned on shopping at the two stores. She said it was the stores’ opening that drew her to the shopping center.

And Velasquez household members were planning on additional trips to the Tulare Pavillion shopping center: Her husband was planned to pick up some items at Harbor Freight Tools.

With the opening of Ross and dd’s in Tulare, the clothing stores now have locations in Visalia, Hanford, and Delano.

Velasquez likes having those stores in her hometown, she said.

“We don’t have to go elsewhere to go to those stores,” she said. “We have them here.”

Silva-Carter called on residents to support the recent store openings.

“We ought to stay in our town and shop in our town before shopping elsewhere,” she said. “Stay here first.”

Besides the openings at the Tulare Pavilion, there’s plenty of business activity around Tulare, including the openings of The Habit and Wayback Burgers and the recent opening of a Starbucks in downtown.

Additional businesses are expected to open in Tulare, the result of a recruiting trip to a Southern California conference, Jones also said. Seemingly, business activity comes in waves.

“I hope it’s a wave that lasts a long time,” Silva-Carter said.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2018/11/12/after-landing-four-new-stores-tulare-pavillion-drawing-new-shoppers/1754015002/

Grants help fuel business growth in Fresno

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 06:57PM

At Heartbeat Boxing near Downtown Fresno, there’s no shortage of quick feet, fast punches and passion.

“November was our three-year anniversary, we’re just looking to build out business bigger and stronger,” said Gilbert Ruiz, Heartbeart boxing owner

Owner Gilbert Ruiz is proud of the facility growth at Los Angeles and Van Ness. He’s also had some business help from small business advocates and experts from Access Plus Capital.

“They’ve just been a big coach in starting our business from our business plan to projecting where our business is going to go to secure loans and future loans, because we are growing, we are growing very rapidly.” Ruiz said.

Recently, Access Plus Capital was awarded a Go-Biz grant from the Governor’s office, which gave out $17 million statewide.

Access Plus Capital received more than 100,000. About 70 percent of loans given out are to minority owned businesses.

“It’s going to help us expand our support to businesses, especially on the pre-loan side. We work with businesses at no cost to the businesses to help them with their business plan or marketing or finance. It’s going to allow us to do more support particularly to small businesses in our rural communities,” said Tate Hill, Access Plus Capital senior manager.

Access Plus also received another major national grant from Chase Bank and the Central Valley Community Foundation called Pro Neighborhoods.

The $5 million grant will help support small businesses in a variety of ways, but to support neighborhoods with housing and small business development. About $2.5 million will be lent out and focused in urban areas.

“Impacting low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods that have been environmentally and economically challenged,” Hill said.

Companies that are interested in the funding and resources can reach out to Access Plus Capital. Officials say programs like this help boost business in the Valley.

PROPOSED NEW VALLEY CHILDREN’S CLINIC, COMMERCIAL CENTER CLEARS HURDLE

The Tulare County Planning Commission has recommended the approval of the Sequoia Gateway Commerce and Business Park near Visalia.

Published On November 16, 2018 – 12:20 PM
Written By David Castellon
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The Tulare County Planning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend county supervisors approve a large shopping, hotel, office and medical complex off Highway 99 near Visalia.

Plans for the Sequoia Gateway Commerce and Business Park off the southeast exit of Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99, just outside the Visalia city limits, would include in its first phase a 60,000-square-foot Valley Children’s Medical Group Specialty Care Center, along with a gas station and convenience store, fast food and retail outlets built on 12.4 acres.

The second phase would include a hotel, additional retail and fast food spaces, restaurants and office space built on 101 acres.

A visitors center also is planned for the site.

Valley Children’s reportedly plans to relocate its Akers Specialty Care Center in Visalia to the new, larger locale, with projections that about 30,000 patients may be seen there over a decade.

A commission representative is tentatively scheduled to present the group’s recommendation during the Dec. 4 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/proposed-new-valley-childrens-clinic-commercial-center-clears-hurdle/

Cafe Smitten breaks ground on southwest Bakersfield expansion

“It was a dream” to expand to another location, she said, and the southwest seemed an easy choice.

“We were drawing a lot of customers from the southwest to downtown,” she added. “It just felt like a natural progression.”

The new location, simply named Smitten, is scheduled to open in fall of 2019 on a property immediately north of the existing Grand Island Village shopping center at the northwest corner of Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road. Grand Island Village, a property Bolthouse began to develop in 2010, currently has tenants that are mostly independently owned and operated.

Seven Oaks does have coffee houses but none of them are independents, noted Bolthouse Properties’ senior vice president of development, Bruce Davis. He said bringing in Smitten will give customers a new option for quality food, good service and a positive customer experience.

“That translates no matter where you go,” he said.

Shai Bitton sees Smitten adjusting well to the distinctions between downtown and Seven Oaks. For one thing, it will be easier moving into a built-to-suit space rather than a 100-year-old building that required significant adaptation, he said. There’s also less need in southwest Bakersfield to generate foot traffic.

“Over here you have the feel of a big-city small coffee shop,” he said. “In the southwest it’s a different feel.”

Angel Hansen and Nicole Miller, both of whom had driven from Tehachapi Tuesday to eat at Cafe Smitten, agreed the business has something special to offer. Hansen praised its calming atmosphere, “decent prices” and nourishing food.

Miller also complimented the menu, with its organic and freshly prepared items, and expressed an appreciation for the many plants and aesthetically pleasing design. She said she hopes the company is able to maintain those qualities as it expands.

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

An organic eatery went in where? New restaurant brings healthful food to ag heartland

Updated November 07, 2018 06:36 PM

MANUFACTURER AWARDED TAX CREDIT FOR BIOLA EXPANSION

Published On November 5, 2018
Written By Gabriel Dillard

NutriaAg has been awarded a $180,000 state tax credit to help expand its manufacturing facility in Biola, just west of Fresno.

Headquartered in Toronto, NutriAg makes and distributes environmentally friendly fertilizers and plant nutrients. It opened its Biola plant in 2015.

The tax credit is part of the California Competes program, which is administered through the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-Biz. The credit is aimed at businesses that want to locate or grow in the state.

As part of the tax credit agreement, NutriAg plans to invest $1.62 million in its expansion plans over the next three years, as well as hire at least seven new employees in that span.

All together, GO-Biz on Monday approved $70 million in tax credits for 17 companies that would create more than 2,000 jobs.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $39.5 million tax credit — the largest single tax credit in the program’s five-year history. The company has committed to adding 450 new jobs in addition to retaining over 2,400 existing employees in its “Skunk Works” operations near Palmdale.

The next application period begins on Jan. 2, 2019 with $75 million in tax credits available.

For more information, visit this blog from the Fresno County Economic Development Corp.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/manufacturer-awarded-tax-credit-for-biola-expansion/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=e403c6474a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_05_09_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-e403c6474a-78934409&mc_cid=e403c6474a&mc_eid=a126ded657

Large tax incentive seals the deal for new hotel, conference center in Oakhurst

BY WILLIAM RAMIREZ

Pathways to high-quality jobs for young adults

Martha Ross, Kristin Anderson Moore, Kelly Murphy, Nicole Bateman, Alex DeMand, and Vanessa Sacks

Helping young people prepare to engage in work and life as productive adults is a central challenge for any society. Yet, many young people in the United States—particularly those from low-income or less educated families—find that the path to employment and economic security in adulthood is poorly marked or inaccessible.

Using an advanced methodology and longitudinal data, this report examines two main questions:

  • The quality of jobs (as measured by wages, benefits, hours, and job satisfaction) held by 29-year-olds who experienced disadvantage in adolescence
  • Whether particular employment, education, and training experiences in adolescence and early adulthood predict higher-quality jobs for 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds

We found that while most 29-year-olds are employed, background matters. Among those who were disadvantaged as adolescents, 79 percent are employed at age 29, and among those workers, 38 percent have high-quality jobs as measured by our job quality index. Their counterparts—29-year-olds from non-disadvantaged backgrounds—fare better: 90 percent are employed, and 48 percent of those have high-quality jobs.

29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have high-quality jobs

Job quality among those from disadvantaged backgrounds varies by race and ethnicity: 21 percent of blacks have lower-quality jobs compared to 13 percent of whites and Hispanics. However, after controlling for education, training, work experience, and other characteristics, the gap in job quality scores between blacks and whites disappears, further emphasizing the value of equipping all young people for success in the labor market.

Authors

Turning to our second question, we identified the following factors as associated with higher quality jobs among 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds: 

Post-secondary education. Consistent with other research, this analysis finds that college degrees (associate, bachelor’s and graduate) are the strongest predictor of a high-quality job among young adults who were disadvantaged as adolescents, highlighting education’s potential as an equalizing force.

Internships, apprenticeships, cooperative education, and mentoring in high school. These work-based learning (WBL) experiences incorporate positive relationships with adults as supervisors and mentors. It is notable that they affect job quality a decade later, given that the effects of training programs sometimes fade over time.

Earlier experiences in the labor market.Having a job as a teenager (ages 16 to 18) predicts higher job quality in adulthood, as do higher wages at age 23. Given that the analysis controls for education, work experience, and other characteristics, the wage finding suggests that regardless of a young person’s education or work history, early good jobs (as measured by wages) lead to later good jobs.

Based on these findings, this report showcases key investments and education and training reforms that would provide more young people with a full range of opportunities as they develop and grow, and better prepare them to tackle the problems and jobs of the future.

Expand work-based learning within high school. Well-designed work-based learning (WBL) experiences enable adults to provide students with developmentally appropriate and incremental guidance that helps them develop the skills that employers seek in new hires. Moreover, it can link students to employers and contacts they would likely never reach on their own, especially if they and their families have limited social and professional networks

Increase completion rates of post-secondary degrees, with an explicit focus on quality and equity. The road to completion must run through quality teaching and curricula, since completion goals otherwise can be gamed by diluting curricula or screening out less-prepared students.

Improve on-ramps to employment for teens and young adults, particularly for those without post-secondary credentials. These on-ramps to employment can take many forms. In addition to the work-based learning programs in high school referenced above, nonprofits and community-based groups can offer them as well, and such organizations may be especially appropriate for older youth who are past high-school age and unsure about college. Programs for these young adults not in high school or college typically offer work readiness and technical skills development, often in combination with academics, mentoring, supportive services, and paid internships or stipends. Well-designed programs align training with local employer needs and look for employment opportunities with potential for advancement.

Promote further research and action on the role of positive relationships in employment and training programs for youth and young adults. Assess the feasibility and value of embedding supportive relationships between young people and caring adults as core principles in education and workforce programs. While it is not new or controversial to say that positive relationships are critical to human development, fostering and supporting such relationships is not always reflected in program design, funding, and implementation.

Download the full report.