Press Room

Employers needed in Kings County for subsidized workers


July 11, 2018

• Program takes care of workers comp and other expenses
• “The participants that have been sent my way want to work and are willing to learn”

Public and non-profit agencies in Kings County that need more workers but don’t have the money might be able to get help
from a subsidized workforce of individuals who have been affected by recent natural disasters.

The program is also open to private firms that have positions available that are specifically for clean-up and repair of a public
or private non-profit facility. It’s being managed by Proteus Inc., a Hanford-based private non-profit community-based organization has received
$185,868 in funding for it from La Cooperativa de Campesina .

Currently, Proteus is partnering with the city of Hanford’s public works department and has placed 20 workers within the
department. “Having the extra help to address work duties is helpful beyond words,” says Tim Breashers, parks and grounds superintendent
with Kings County Public Works. “The participants that have been sent my way want to work and are willing to learn.”

Proteus will handle payroll functions and cover workers compensation costs. Prevailing wages are paid to all participants. Other agencies participating in the program include Kings County public works, Corcoran public works, and Lemoore public works.

“I would like to emphasize that Proteus recruits the participants, handles all the paperwork and payroll functions,” says Araceli
Ochoa of Proteus. “This is a fantastic opportunity to assist individuals to connect with work and at the same time help
improve our local communities. All the worksites are required to be in Kings County.”

Low-income individuals who live in Kings County and who are temporarily or permanently laid off work as a consequence of a
natural disaster are eligible as are self-employed individuals who became unemployed or significantly underemployed as a
result of the disaster.

Kings County has been recognized as an area that is at risk for a flood post drought. This program is designed to provide
temporary employment for those residents who have been unemployed due to the disaster or long-term unemployed as a
result of previous disasters, as well as provide relief for local organizations to assist in clean-up and/or repair of the site, a
Proteus spokesman explains in an email to CVBT.

Each worker will have a worksite agreement for up to six months or $14,000, whichever comes first, he adds. The program is set to end September 30, “however Proteus is hopeful for an extension.” Additional worksites are needed in order to achieve program goals and help local residents. For more information contact
Petra Solano at (559) 582-9253.

Tree Fresno breathing new life into an empty lot in Southwest Fresno

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space.

The process involves a few steps– first is making sure that the ground is level. Then you take the tree out of the pot. You score it, put in the ground, cover it with dirt and repeat– 452 Times.

Thanks to grant funded by the High Speed Rail Authority, the non-profit is able to accomplish this feat. They will be planting Ginkgo Biloba, Scarlet Oak, and other trees on the 24 acre space along Annadale Avenue, next to West Fresno Middle School.

CEO of Tree Fresno Lee Ayres said, “They are going to help with the air quality, these are large trees so that overtime they can absorb up to three tons of carbon.”

Ayres said the project will have a lasting impact on the community. In the future the location might serve as the new site for a school. It will also provide tons of shade, a new gathering space and will encourage more people to go outside.

“When I come out and check this place early in the morning, like six in the morning on a Saturday, there are people out here working out.”

Eryn Roberts, who recently moved to Fresno, saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to her community.

“It is definitely hot out here but it is really good enjoying getting to plant trees and seeing this new area, I’ve never been on this side of Fresno before.”

The non-profit will be planting trees from 8:00 a.m. to noon until the 12th, and they said the need all the help they can get.

Old Visalia Mall bank will be demolished, replaced with new building

An old bank and seasonal Halloween store that’s part of the Visalia Mall will soon transform into something new.

An old bank and seasonal Halloween store that’s part of the Visalia Mall will soon transform into something new.

“I was shocked,” mall patron Brittney Krum said. “I didn’t know they were going to knock the building down, but it’s nice that they’re going to be building something new.”

Visalia Mall General Manager Rick Feder says the building hasn’t been the right fit for a retailer.

But now someone is interested in the space, so it will be demolished within the next few weeks.

The new 5,000 square-foot building will be under construction by the beginning of 2019.

Feder says the project falls in line with the mall’s goal of connecting with customers through entertainment such as their new Food Truck Fridays event, restaurants like Blaze Pizza, and new retail additions like Macy’s Backstage, the store’s second-floor outlet.

“It creates excitement,” Feder said. “It keeps customers at the mall longer and engaged for a longer period of time. It’s all giving back to the customers what they want.”

Feder can’t say who the new tenant or tenants are just yet, even though he knows there are passionate opinions about what retailer or restaurant should open here.

“I think it’d be nice to see a Chick-fil-A here just because there isn’t one in Visalia and I really like them,” Krum said.

Javi’s Tacos is under construction inside the mall food court.

Valley based juice shop looking to hire employees for new Fresno location

A Valley based juice shop is expanding and looking for new employees.

A Valley-based juice shop is expanding and looking for new employees.

Re-Invent Juicery is opening a store at Fig Garden Village next to CVS. The shop uses local and all-natural ingredients to make their cold press juices. Customers can also indulge in blended drinks and acai bowls.

It is their fourth location in the Fresno-Clovis area since they first opened for business in 2015. However, they did shut down their location on Ashlan and Fowler last month.

Re-Invent Juicery is currently hiring for their new location and is hoping to open on July 20th.

Rosa Brothers named Small Business of the Year

Rosa Bros small business day 2018
Noel Rosa, left, with Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) during California Small Business Day in Sacramento on June 19. Vidak recognized Hanford-based Rosa Brothers Milk Company as Small Business of the Year in Senate District 14.

From hardware stores to manufacturers, small businesses are ingrained in California’s communities and economy, which is why Hanford’s Rosa Brothers Milk Company was recently recognized for its hard work and dedication to the community by being named Small Business of the Year.

“We are truly honored to be recognized by Senator Vidak on California Small Business Day,” Noel Rosa, president of Rosa Brothers Milk Company, said. “We have a great team of employees that work hard to produce the freshest, best-tasting milk products possible and we are happy to share our family’s farm fresh products with California consumers.”

On June 19, Rosa Brothers Milk Company was honored by Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) at California Small Business Day as Small Business of the Year in Senate District 14.

“It was an honor to welcome Noel Rosa to the Capitol,” Vidak said. “Rosa Brothers Milk Company is an outstanding small business and we are lucky to have them in the Central Valley. Noel, Rolland and all of their employees have built their business into one of the best dairies in California and their high-quality products are very popular across the entire state.”

California Small Business Day honored 75 small businesses for their contribution to the state’s economy. According to the California Small Business Association, small businesses contribute to 75 percent of California’s gross state product and over half of the state’s private sector jobs.

“California’s small businesses are the economic engine of our state,” Betty Jo Toccoli, president of the California Small Business Association, said in a released statement. “Rosa Brothers Milk Company was celebrated for their successful small business and contributions to the community.”

Operated by brothers Noel and Rolland Rosa, third generation dairy farmers, the company began production of its milk and ice cream in September 2012 with just a handful of stores selling their products.

According to the company’s website, the creamery was built with a few goals in mind:

  • To provide California families with the best-tasting dairy products found anywhere in the world.
  • To provide safe, pure dairy products that have not been overly processed or modified.
  • To keep milk quickly flowing to local stores for maximum freshness.
  • To provide a truly local product that comes through a transparent channel, allowing families to watch the milk all the way from the cow to the bottle or ice cream carton.

The Rosa Brothers have tried to remain true to their roots by hiring local, buying local supplies and making local products.

“We’re a truly local company based right here in Hanford,” Noel Rosa said.

Today, Rosa Brothers Milk Company products, including over a dozen of both milk and ice cream flavors, can be found in over 750 locations throughout California and have won several awards at the Fresno Food Expo.

“Their story is one of inspiration and determination and they are a perfect example of how small businesses are the backbone of our economy and provide much needed jobs in our communities,” Vidak said.

Noel Rosa said everyone at the company was humbled by the recognition and is proud to be part of the local economy. Most of all, he said they are very thankful to community and all the support they’ve received over the years.


Published On July 3, 2018 – 11:54 AM
Written By The Business Journal Staff
Applications are now open for the Central Valley Communities Organized for Resident Empowerment (CORE) Initiative, a $1-million investment program aimed at providing financial support and leadership development to strengthen nonprofit organizations and community enterprises that are improving the ability of working residents to make positive changes in impoverished neighborhoods.

Through the CORE Initiative, the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) hopes to provide technical assistance and financial support to organizations and leaders who are rooted in local neighborhoods, have a minimum track record of service in targeted neighborhoods, have established trust among residents and reflect the diversity of Fresno’s neighborhoods.

The James Irvine Foundation provided the grant to CVCF to make the CORE Initiative possible.

“We are grateful for our partnership with the Central Valley Community Foundation, which understands the critical role nonprofit organizations play to engage and empower residents,” said Don Howard, president and CEO for The James Irvine Foundation. “And we are proud to support Fresnans working to transform their communities.”

Ashley Swearengin, CEO and president for the CVCF, said the CORE Initiative will support small and emerging nonprofits with the potential to grow and impact their communities. Selected applicants will receive a grant ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, receive leadership development and training, work with CORE Participants and participate in a filmmaking project documenting the efforts of organizations and people improving distressed neighborhoods in Fresno.

Applications, guidelines, and the Request for Proposals can be found at are due no later than 3:00 p.m., on Aug. 31. CVCF is offering information sessions for interested applicants. The first will be held on Friday at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1343 E. Barstow Ave., at 10 a.m.

Valley Children’s trauma center gets positive review


  • Now verified as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons
  • “This verification is important to our Trauma Center”

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera has been verified as a Lever II Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. It is the only pediatric trauma center in the region.

“This verification is important to our Trauma Center, as the ACS recognizes Valley Children’s – from our surgeons and nurses to our therapists and trauma coordinators – for providing exceptional pediatric trauma care as quickly as possible, from  start to finish, for children involved in car crashes, falls, accidents, acts of violence and other trauma,” says Valley Children’s Healthcare President and CEO Todd Suntrapak.

“Trauma center levels across the United States are identified in two fashions: a designation process and a verification process,” explains the American Trauma Society. “The different levels (ie. Level I, II, III, IV or V) refer to the kinds of resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.”

Earlier this year, representatives with the ACS’s Verification Review Committee visited the hospital. They assessed commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care and performance improvement among other requirements. Verified trauma centers must meet essential criteria that ensure capability and institutional performance as outlined by the ACS.

“Injury is the leading cause of death and acquired disability for children, and providing expert trauma care across the continuum – from injury prevention to pediatric rehabilitation  and family restoration – is at the core of our mission,” says Michael Allshouse, medical director of Valley Children’s pediatric trauma program and pediatric surgery.

This verification by the ACS comes two years after the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency designated Valley Children’s Hospital as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, the only such center between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

With that designation, critically injured children could be transported directly from the field to Valley Children’s Hospital, ensuring they receive expert pediatric care even sooner than before.


Prologis pays $47 Million for two Stockton buildings

Central Valley Business Times

June, 29, 2018

  • The seller is CT of Newport Beach
  • “Reflect the high demand for world-class logistics facilities in major distribution markets”

Newport Beach industrial developer CT says it has sold two newly-constructed buildings at its NorCal Logistics Center in Stockton. to Prologis for $47 million. The two buildings total 575,127 square feet and mark the initial completion of CT’s three-building Phase I development of the larger 4.4 m

Prologis (NYSE: PLD), the largest owner of industrial space in the U.S., paid approximately $82 per square foot for the buildings, which were unleased and in shell condition at closing.

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

“These transactions reflect the high demand for world-class logistics facilities in major distribution markets nationwide,” says Carter Ewing, managing partner of CT. “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.”

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  Stockton, Oakland, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Portland, Oregon and Seattle/Tacoma, Washington.

CT purchased the 345-acre industrial site for NorCal Logistics Center in May 2017 and has now completed the first phase development, including a third 1,122,341-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 buildings totaling approximately 1.6 million square feet of space, the company says.


Published On June 27, 2018 – 10:59 AM
Written By David Castellon,

The Visalia Planning Commission has approved a revised conditional use permit to allow construction of a four-story hotel off Plaza Drive and Highway 198.

Under the amended application, the 86-room Hilton Home 2 Hotel would be part of the 25-acre Square at Plaza Drive just north of the freeway, an area that already has a hotel and an ARCO AM/PM convenience store and gas station under construction and already includes two car dealerships and a Fresno Pacific University satellite campus.

The new hotel’s architect, Steven L. Keike, had requested the Planning Commission allow a change in the location of the building to the northwest corner of North Plaza Drive and West Crowley Avenue, and the commission on Monday approved it.

In a separate matter, the members also voted to approve a conditional use permit allowing Brandman University to build a new, 7,071-square-foot building for classrooms and administrative space near the Square at Plaza Drive, within the Plaza Business Park.

Brandman officials intend to vacate the 18,240-square-foot building they now occupy in the Visalia Marketplace Shopping Center, next to the city’s Kmart department store, and move into the smaller site, according to a Planning Commission report.


Published On June 15, 2018 – 11:40 AM
Written By Edward Smith, Staff Writer

On June 16, Macy’s in the Visalia Mall officially unveiled its newest addition—the off-price retail brand Macy’s Backstage.

Macy’s celebrated the event with a DJ, photo booth and food vendors, as well as giveaways throughout the day and scratch-off tickets for the first 200 guests with prizes for the grand opening, according to Raul Diaz, store manager. The ribbon was cut at 9:50 a.m., shortly before the store opened.

Over the course of only a month, the clothing retailer transformed 14,000 square feet of its second floor to the company’s newest foray in the fight against slipping sales by introducing “the thrill of the hunt” into its shopping experience.

Off-price retailers often work by ordering clothes in volume and out-of-season to sell them at a deeper discount. In the case of Macy’s Backstage, a whole division with its own executives was dedicated to not only shipping but ordering as well. The project began in 2013 with 60 stores, according to Joy Deinla, media relations director at Macy’s and in 2018, it will open 100 new stores across the nation.

The store looks like a Ross or Marshalls with racks of discounted men and women’s clothing, footwear, handbags, even furniture and toys.

“For us, it’s about the thrill of the hunt,” said Diaz. There are brands familiar to Macy’s shoppers as well as brands exclusive to the Backstage division of the company that shoppers can search through to discover those rare finds.

“If there is a brand that matters most to this community, we have the opportunity to communicate that,” Diaz said.

This all comes as stores like Macy’s and JCPenney have been falling in terms of sales with the rise of online competition.

In fiscal year 2012, Macy’s generated $26.4 billion in revenue which represented 5.6 percent growth for the year, according to the stock analysis website, That percentage fell each year, bottoming out in fiscal year 2017 to $24.837 billion, down 3.7 percent compared to FY 2016, according to Business Wire.

“Department stores have not been performing well over the last five to seven years,” said Farla Efros, president at Illinois-based HRC Retail, who advises both healthy and unhealthy companies on business strategies. “It’s been a slow burn and has heightened over the last two to three years when debt repayment started to become an issue.”

Last year, Macy’s closed 70 stores across the country and has closed 156 locations since 2008, with another 11 coming closures announced for this year, according to a June 8 article in the Buffalo News.

Part of the problem has to do with competition. Beauty sections have been affected by competition from smaller and sleeker Ulta and Sephora brands while online shopping has affected all ends of the business.

“Because they’re not vertically integrated, they don’t really make that much of their own product,” Efros said. “All of that product is available on Amazon.”

To turn that around, the store hopes to use customer experience to bring people in. The ability to feel the clothes and hunt for bargains is an incredible magnet.

Being able to touch and feel the clothes is a major draw, said Diaz. Also, sifting through racks is a big part of getting people in the stores.

It’s about the treasure hunt. Efros calls it the “fear of missing out,” and its something that Costco and TJ Maxx have done incredibly, she said.

“I need to keep going back there because you never know what I can get,” Efros said. “I can get some incredible branded products for next to nothing.”

Macy’s hopes to bring that same sense of shopping urgency into its main-box stores. It began its off-price retail as stand-alone stores, but they see the store-within-a-store model as supplementing its main store, and according to Deinla, they’ve done so without cannibalizing sales from downstairs. They’ve seen an average of 7 percent growth in stores with a Backstage, said Deinla.

The off-price model is something familiar to Visalia. The TJ Maxx opened in 2013 and Home Goods opened at the end of 2015.

“Macy’s is also trying to reach that smart shopper,” said Gail Zurek, president of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

Coming to Visalia was a smart move in her eyes. The percentage of disposable income is high, said Zurek.

While the number of rooftops may be significantly fewer, retail sales per capita are much higher, with $14,744 in Visalia compared to $9,619 in Fresno, according to 2012 U.S. Census data.

The average median household income from data between 2012-2016 is $52,099 in Visalia compared to $45,963 in Fresno.

While smaller retailers may not have access to the ordering volume that can create the kind of sales that consistently draw in customers, there are three lessons to learn as the Macy’s story unfolds.

Department stores took on high interest loans that even improved sales are having trouble repaying. Efros cited Neiman Marcus who may have had a 6 percent comparative increase, but its high interest loans offset its ability to make money.

The second is real estate. “You don’t want to open too many stores,” Efros said. “You lose the customer experience that you had and you lose the control that you had as well.”

Lastly, as small businesses grow in this economy, they need to stay focused and understand who their customer is. “Sometimes you get executives come in with a different vision about who their shopper is,” said Efros. “That is what happened with JCPenney.”

One differentiating factor is that customer experience for small companies is more inherent in the business model.

“Smaller companies should focus on service and exclusivity versus price,” Efros said.