Los Angeles-based Wonderful Company was named the no. 1 growth leader in produce and no. 1 in consumer packaged goods last year, according to a study released June 14 by the Boston Consulting Group and market research firm IRI.
Wonderful Company, which grows, markets and sells pistachios, almonds, citrus fruits, pomegranates, bottled water, wine and floral arrangements, took the top spots among mid-sized U.S. companies with sales between $1 billion and $5.5 billion.
“The Wonderful Company is relentlessly focused on driving healthier eating options,” said Adam Cooper, vice president of marketing for the Wonderful Company, in a statement. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve invested more than $3 billion in capital and $1 billion in marketing and brand building. With these investments, and consumers increasingly seeking nutritious choices, Wonderful is poised for even more growth in the future.”
According to the BCG report, Wonderful and other consumer packaged goods companies saw sales rise thanks to developing a range of offerings, targeting consumers, growing their portfolios and expanding into new markets.
“The market continues to be sluggish, but in identifying this year’s CPG growth leaders, we found that there are clear steps companies can take to uncover areas of growth,” said Peri Edelstein, a BCG partner and coauthor of the study, in a statement. “This includes developing a deep understanding of consumer demand, innovating to meet new occasions and using pricing strategically to enhance volume growth instead of as a tactic to drive dollar growth.”
The report looked at more than 400 public and private consumer packaged goods companies with annual U.S. retail sales of more than $100 million. The companies were ranked on dollar sales growth, volume sales growth and market share gains.
Privately held Wonderful Co. is a $4 billion company with 9,000 employees worldwide. Its brands include Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Justin Wine and Teleflora.
The company is owned by Stewart and Lynda Resnick, who are ranked no. 7 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of Wealthiest Angelenos with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion.
Valley Network Solutions acquisition creates Central Valley’s largest IT company
“Brings together two great companies”
Modesto-based Datapath Inc. says it has acquired Fresno’s Valley Network Solutions, doubling Datapath’s size and creating what it says is the largest IT provider in the Central Valley.
“We have been extremely pleased with the growth in our company and the growing need for leading technology services in our region,” says David Darmstandler, Datapath CEO and cofounder.
“Adding an office in Fresno, staffed with very knowledgeable technical experts, not only expands our footprint, but also greatly improves our ability to support clients with multiple locations throughout the Central Valley.”
Financial terms of the acquisition were not revealed.
James Bates, Datapath CTO and co-founder, says the acquisition of Valley Network Solutions “brings together two great companies with expanded resources, talent, and geographic reach to better serve all our customers, expand our team, and better serve our community,”
ONSITE CONSTRUCTION WORK HAS COMMENCED AS FIRST SET OF EQUIPMENT IS INSTALLED TO FACILITATE DELIVERY OF THE FIRST FF 91 BY YEAR’S END
LOS ANGELES, JUNE 7, 2018 – Faraday Future (FF) announced today that Bernards, a commercial builder located in San Fernando, California, will serve as the general contractor for the 1M square foot FF factory in Hanford, California.
The Hanford factory is a turn-key facility, strategically sited between the country’s two largest EV markets, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley. This marks a significant step forward for FF in its mission to deliver FF 91, its first production vehicle, to market by the end of 2018. FF has received the permit from the city government of Hanford for its onsite work to begin construction, prior to manufacturing and delivering the first FF 91.
“We are honored to be chosen as the general contractor for Faraday Future’s Hanford factory in the valley,” said Falco DiGiallonardo, VP of Bernards. “EV is the future of mobility and we look forward to working with FF to have the factory set for production later this year.”
As of February 1, the property was completely vacated. FF completed the planning phase, including interior and exterior design, progressing to the next phase of production.
“We appreciate the support given to us by the City of Hanford,” said Dag Reckhorn, SVP of Global Manufacturing of FF. “As of now, our on-site abatement, demolition, and refurbishment work has started, and we have ordered all the long lead-time equipment. We are extremely excited to have Bernards on board to work with us to ready our factory with our aggressive, yet workable, timeline.”
On-site demolition and construction work began in March, as the first batch of production equipment has already been installed and tested to begin manufacturing.
FF is also collaborating proactively with local Hanford institutions and agencies to ready the recruitment cadences and hiring efforts for the factory. Several local training programs have been designed and hiring has already started.
FF announced its Hanford factory last August. The facility will employ up to 1,300 employees, working a 3 shift schedule.
ABOUT FARADAY FUTURE
Faraday Future is a user-centric, advanced mobility company with headquarters in Southern California. Our global team leverages the talents of leading thinkers and passionate creators from the technology and automotive industries to bring premium, intuitive, and seamlessly connected electric vehicles to people worldwide.
The Central Valley is home to thousands of businesses and now one organization wants to showcase entrepreneurs on a bigger platform.
“Fresno is a great place, not only are we a great place to raise a family, but we’re a great place to start a business and there’s profit to be made here, ” said Jennifer Lopez with Valley Innovators.
Lopez sees a major discrepancy in the way venture capitalist are investing in businesses.
“About 60-percent of VC (venture capitalist) funding goes to California companies, less than one-percent of that comes to the Valley,” Lopez said.
A lot of that has to do with marketing or perception. So Lopez and others funded Valley Innovators– a company that helps the business learn, network and market themselves and eventually attract big investors.
Valley Innovators hopes to serve businesses ranging from taco trucks to technology. They said the Valley is becoming home to a diverse amount of companies and owners.
“It means having more success stories come out of their organization, it means possibly having to expand their organization and contributing to the marketing of Fresno and the Valley as a whole, as a great place for innovation. A place for talent and a place for making things happen,” Lopez said.
The passion runs deep for this Valley native and former Bay Area resident.
“There’s talent here, there are people that are ambitious and want to give back and flex their entrepreneurial muscles,” Lopez said.
Valley innovators launches Tuesday night at the Tower Theater. Over the next few months, they’ll host educational opportunities and networking for businesses and one day a pitch contest in the spring. They believe the next great idea could be incubated in the Valley.
LODI—This area’s reputation as a profitable region for winegrapes, especially zinfandels, is no secret.
So, when Jeff Morgan, winemaker and co-owner at Covenant Winery in Berkeley, wanted to add a Lodi zin to his lineup of vinos, he turned to Mettler Vineyards in Lodi.
“The Mettlers are the classic, good-natured American farmers,” Morgan said. “You know that a handshake from a Mettler means as much as any legal document.”
Morgan was familiar with the Mettlers before he moved his Napa wine operation to Berkeley in order to achieve an urban offering in a more populated area. For many years he enjoyed a career as a wine journalist for Wine Spectator magazine.
“My job was to know who the best growers were,” Morgan said. “The Mettler’s reputation proceeded them.”
The move also allowed Morgan and his team to ditch the custom crush facilities they were using for production and begin offering more brands under the Covenant aegis.
Today, Covenant Wines makes 18 wines on seven labels under the Covenant umbrella, including an Israel brand, Covenant Israel. All wine by definition is kosher, but Covenant goes the extra step, assuring every bottle produced by Covenant is handled in the cellar by only Sabbath-observant Jews.
Three of the brand’s wines are made exclusively from Mettler grapes. Two of those varietals, the zinfandel and the roussanne, are part of the Mensch label, a Yiddish word meaning a really nice person. The third wine, a chardonnay, is part of The Tribe label also sold under the Covenant umbrella.
Morgan, his wife Jodie Morgan and Covenant co-owner Leslie Rudd source grapes from other regions, including Napa Valley and Sonoma County to make many of their wines, but the only Lodi grapes used come from Mettler Vineyards.
Covenant produces 7,000 cases annually out of its Berkeley facility, plus an additional 3,000 cases in Israel. Mettler wines make up about 20 percent of total production for Covenant in the U.S.
“The wines that we have made with Mettler grapes have done quite well with the wine critics,” Morgan said, adding it’s not just the zin performing well.
Larry Mettler, owner of Arbor Vineyards and Mettler Family Vineyards, said the partnership with Covenant is going well. Every year the Lodi farming family is able to meet Covenant’s needs and orders have grown since the initial 2013 bottle Covenant produced using Mettler grapes.
“We know a little bit about the needs of wineries and small wineries because we are one,” Mettler said.
With 1,600 acres of wine grapes on farmland either owned or rented by the Mettler family, Mettler Vineyards has access to a lot of grapes, boasting 15 different varietals. Popular choices are cabernet sauvignons, zinfandels and petite sirahs.
Lesser-known varietals are also abundant, including pinotage, mourvedre and grenache, as well as whites such as chardonnay, which Covenant buys, and albarino.
Lodi’s climate is responsible for the variety. Grape availability is high because the climate and soil are both conducive to growing several varietals.
“If wineries are looking for product, Lodi is a good place for them to look,” Mettler said. “We can always supply the grapes in the highest quality because we can get them ripe.”
In all, 90 percent of the property’s grapes are sold to other wineries throughout California. The Mettlers have an estimated 12-15 buyers in all.
The other 10 percent is used to create the wines Mettler sells under its own label—Mettler Family Vineyards.
Mettler said word of mouth brings in most of the vineyard’s customers and the mid-range price in Lodi helps. A small brand may start with as little as one ton of grapes from Mettler, but larger wineries like Gallo and Constellation take more.
“We’re all across the board as far as size and volume,” he said.
Morgan cited the price point as one reason the Berkeley-based urban winery decided to shake hands with Lodi farmers. Once known for its Napa Valley cabernet, the Morgans were aware their wines came with a hefty price tag.
In order to reach a larger audience, they wanted to make more accessible wines that didn’t lack quality.
Their first attempt was with a Mensch zinfandel because the Lodi region is best known for its zins. After they found success with one, Covenant expanded to the other two varietals, both whites.
“They’re light, they’re fresh and they’re eminently quaffable,” Morgan said. “As we all know, wine is made in the vineyard, so we attribute that to the quality of the grapes.”
The first year Morgan purchased five tons of grapes from Mettler Vineyards, enough for 250 cases of wine. Today, annual orders range from 30-35 tons.
“This can be the foundation for the revitalization of the
Downtown that everyone is looking for” An icon of downtown Merced, dating back to the years when
Herbert Hoover was president, has been sold and is expected to be renovated The Hotel Tioga will be offering fully renovated and updated market rate apartments in downtown Merced.
The historic building, which opened in 1928, will have commercial spaces on the first floor.
PCG Commercial of Roseville is marketing the building. The property was purchased in April by Hotel Tioga Investors LLC and will be redeveloped by the same firm.
The city says the fully renovated Hotel Tioga will bring additional multimillion dollar investments to downtown Merced and will add to the major economic impacts of the El Capitan Hotel and Mainzer Theater projects that are currently underway.
“The Hotel Tioga was a huge boost for the town 90 years ago, and the sale and work that will be done shortly will once again be transformative,” says Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “This is another big step forward for Merced and the Downtown.”
Mr. Murphy says the renovated property “will promote nightlife, and a diversified center that will include retail and hospitality.”
“This is an exciting time for Merced,” adds Merced City Councilwoman Jill McLeod, who represents Downtown area.
“The sale of the Hotel Tioga, along with the renovation of the El Capitan and the Mainzer will bring so much new life and energy to the Downtown.”
A Downtown Icon
The historic building, opened in 1928, has been an icon of downtown Merced and a social and business hub. Adding the additional market-rate housing to the downtown housing scene adds a new dimension to the work/life potential in the city’s core, city officials say. Economic Development Director Frank Quintero says a key element is having a strong residential base.
Hotel Tioga is strategically located close to the Merced Transportation Center and the University of California, Merced’s Downtown Administration Building on N Street between Main and 16 streets.
“Bringing this much housing to the Downtown will help attract the restaurants and other kinds of businesses that people keep saying they want,” Mr. Quintero says. “This can be the foundation for the revitalization of the Downtown that everyone is looking for.”
He adds that once revamped, the Hotel Tioga will provide another option for living in downtown Merced. “Currently, the vacancy rate in Merced is under 1 percent, so the Hotel Tioga will create new opportunities,” he says.
When renovated the apartment units will feature new kitchens, countertops, light fixtures, and flooring. The 73,670-square-foot building will offer a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two bedroom units.
The architect for the project is Page & Turnbull, a full-service architecture, design, planning, and preservation firm. Founded in 1973, the firm has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. It brings together architects, planners, architectural historians, and conservators to take existing structures and adapt them to meet contemporary needs.
Nine decades ago when the Hotel Tioga was built it was aimed at Yosemite tourists. Visitors could drive up the “all-weather” Highway 140 or take the Yosemite Valley Railroad train to enjoy the natural wonder.
An Historic Building
The building, which cost $250,000 to build, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. In its prime it had a ballroom, handcrafted tile floors, art deco ceilings and the Merced’s first neon sign on the roof that could be seen for miles.
Also on the roof were two penthouses with legendary views of the Sierra and the Central Valley.
The guest registry is a blast from the past: John Kennedy, Calvin Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, King Albert of Belgium and Archduke Otto of Austria stayed in the six story building. Screen legends including Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper and Mary Pickford stopped at the Tioga. Natalie Wood used the hotel as her residence while filming “Bombers B-52” at Castle Air Force Base. John Wayne called the Tioga home when he came to the Central Valley to hunt. Richard Nixon was photographed under its awning during his run for California’s governor seat in 1962.
Merced’s first radio station, KYOS, began broadcasting from the Hotel Tioga in 1936. And during World War II the U.S. Army Air Corps took over part of the building for office space.
To break ground on Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms
“Vastly improves its ability to offer transformative educational experiences”
The Craig School of Business at Fresno State will host a public groundbreaking for its Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms that will soon be constructed with stadium seating and the latest technology.
The celebration will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, on the north lawn in front of Duncan Patio. The Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms are the result of a $1 million pledge made in May 2017 by Ruiz Food Products Inc., a Dinuba-based food manufacturing company.
The gift will help finance construction of an annex to the existing University Business Center and house two new executive classrooms with innovative education technology. “With two new executive-style classrooms, the Craig School of Business vastly improves its ability to offer transformative educational experiences,” says Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“While the classrooms will be used for our executive MBA program and accelerated bachelor’s program, they will also serve as vital spaces for other students within the university as well.”
The Ruiz family has a history of supporting business education at Fresno State. Entrepreneur Fred Ruiz is a founder of the Institute for Family Business, a community resource that promotes family businesses as a catalyst for economic growth. Kim Ruiz Beck, chairman of Ruiz Foods, is an alumna of the Craig School and serves on the Foundation Board of Governors for the California State University, Fresno Foundation. In 2017, she earned the Top Dog Distinguished Alumna Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association.
The classrooms will be designed to replicate what executives would expect, allowing for faculty to fully utilize technology in presentations to improve learning outcomes for undergraduate, MBA and executive MBA students. The added space will also serve the community. When not in use for academic purposes, the space will be available for rental as part of the slate of services provided by the University Business Center. Mr. Harper says the anticipated completion date for the project is summer 2019.
Bitwise Industries, Fresno’s home-grown and fast-growing collection of trendy technology hubs, is adding another building to its web across downtown Fresno.
The company is opening The Hive, a 50,000-square-foot space for tech tenants inside a building that formerly served as a records warehouse and county offices at Ventura and Santa Fe streets. It is the fifth site that Bitwise has opened or is building in downtown Fresno as it strives to establish the area as a haven for technology-oriented businesses and entrepreneurs.
Nearby, Bitwise is under construction on its Bitwise 41 project in the historic Inderrieden Building, a former raisin warehouse that was later home to the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant at Ventura and R streets. It’s also in the process of developing the 100-year-old former State Center Warehouse on R Street.
Bitwise is already established in its South Stadium building, a former auto dealership at Van Ness Avenue and Mono Street, as well as with its Hashtag innovation space in the basement of the old Hotel Virginia on Kern Street between Van Ness Avenue and L Street.
The Hive has generated considerable conversation among fans of downtown because of its new and unique exterior paint scheme – a multicolored, geometric pattern of a beehive. Jake Soberal, co-CEO of Bitwise, said some tenants have already been moving into office spaces on the first and second floors at the north end of the building. In what was a vast warehouse area, more working spaces will be established – including in 18 former cargo shipping containers that will be stacked two-high to provide self-contained mini-offices.
But The Hive was not among Bitwise’s initial plans as it expanded beyond its established South Stadium location that opened in 2015, not far from the Chukchansi Park baseball stadium. Soberal said Bitwise had purchased the Indirrieden and State Center warehouses for expansion “when this building came up … and there was enough tenant demand to do this along the way.”
The hive theme of the exterior paint job is carried through on the inside, from the stairs leading from the indoor-outdoor lobby (with glass roll-up doors to let in plenty of light) to the first-floor offices to interior murals and decorations in the conference rooms. A common area for tenants includes tables and chairs, and a small store will sell snacks once the building is fully open by the end of June. One large room is dubbed the “desk hotel” where companies or workers can lease one of 23 individual desks as a work space rather than taking up an entire office. Between those desk-based businesses and other offices in the building, nearly 50 companies will have a presence in the building with an estimated 280 daily users coming and going, Soberal said.
One of those tenants is Dan Gustafson, owner of Sonic Bliss Productions. Gustafson moved into a small office on May 1, relocating his business and equipment creating audio branding for about 40 radio stations across the country from his home into a setting where he can meet and mingle with other technologists.
In his cozy space, jammed with audio boards, computer gear and an electronic drum kit, Gustafson creates audio effects and scripted station promo announcements for his clients – “pretty much everything that’s not a DJ talking,” he said.
“I wanted to get out of the house and into a space with more energy,” he said. He was already familiar with Bitwise’s reputation as “a cool and modern place to work” because he has a friend with a business in the South Stadium building and his daughter took a technology training class through Bitwise’s Geekwise Academy.
When he called to see if there was any space available at South Stadium, he was instead referred to The Hive, and after touring the under-construction space decided to move in as one of the first tenants.
Still to come will be a rooftop deck for tenants to be able to use atop the warehouse with views of the nearby elevated Highway 41 as well as the Bitwise 41 and State Center sites.
While Bitwise began work first on the former Old Spaghetti Factory site, development of The Hive went faster because it is a much newer building with fewer of the complications that come with a historic building. For example, instead of having to retrofit old walls of unreinforced bricks, “we really just came in to do tenant improvements,” Soberal said.
Between the three buildings, all of which are highly visible to drivers passing by on Highway 41, Soberal proclaimed the potential to help change the image of Fresno. “You’ll only have to drive into Fresno on Highway 41 and see that something very different is happening.” he said. “We’ve tapped a nerve” in terms of helping to spark a growing technology industry in downtown Fresno.
A groundbreaking for a new artist-inspired project will be held May 31 in Stockton.
The Medici Artist Lofts, a mixed-income apartment building with commercial space, will break-ground this week at was once the MediCo Dental building.
“We are excited to expand on the success of our Cal Weber 40 project, providing much needed housing in San Joaquin County—specifically to those who want to live in Downtown Stockton,” said Chris Flaherty, chairman and CEO of 3 Leaf Holdings, a partner in the project along with the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin and DFA Development.
The project, expected to be completed by fall of 2019, is geared toward artists, offering space for receptions, galleries and 34 residential units.
“The Housing Authority is excited to be a part of the revitalization of Downtown Stockton,” said Peter Ragsdale, executive director of the Housing Authority. “Medici Artist Lofts will be transformative in its adaptive, mixed-use rehabilitation of the iconic Medical/Dental Building. This project will change the conversation around what is possible when partnerships are struck to help solve the affordable housing crisis in California.”
Six of the units will be offered at market rate, and 28 will offered at “affordable rent subject to income limitations,” according to the Housing Authority.
Similar projects in cities like Fresno have found success in bringing more residents to dwell in downtown regions undergoing revitalization efforts.
The groundbreaking will take place at 7:30 a.m. on May 31 in the lobby of the MediCo Dental building. Business leaders and community members are encouraged to attend the event.
Stifel Financial Corporation has opened another Central Valley location in Modesto.
The location, at 1539 McHenry Ave., Ste. A, is the 39th Stifel office in California. It will be run by the team of Dane and Randy Anderson.Between them, the Andersons have more than 71 years of investment experience. They previously worked with Wells Fargo Advisors, handling upwards of $200 million in client assets.
The environment at Stifel appeals to the team due to the flexibility the company gives its advisors.
“Stifel is an entrepreneurial environment where advisors can run their business the way they think is best for them and their clients,” said Dane Anderson. “Thanks to Stifel’s advisor- and client-centric culture, I feel our clients will truly benefit in our transition to Stifel.”Many advisors in the investment industry have worked together in past roles, especially at places such as A.G. Edwards.
Stifel was founded in 1890 by Benjamin Altheimer and Edward Rawlings as a general securities business. They brought Herman Charles Stifel onboard seven years later as their treasurer. Henry J. Nicolaus joined the company in 1910, along with his son Louis. In 1923, it was renamed Stifel, Nicolaus Investment Company.