The News

Sustainability a key word with new Fresno buildings

Sustainability is a key word for major Fresno area developers like Ginder Development Corp., which plans new offices and retail centers that conserve water and energy while using renewable materials that are environmentally friendly.

Expanding quick lube biz celebrates 15 years

A local family is celebrating 15 years of a business decision that had its patriarch come out from under the cow and go under the hood.
Third-generation Washington state dairy farmer Rick McGuire moved wife Cathy and family to Visalia in 1986, “following the cows” as the Pacific Northwest’s dairy industry took a hit, said son Ryan McGuire, 34.
Rick McGuire worked full time — literally seven days a week, Ryan said — selling bull semen that would be frozen and shipped across the country. Ryan said it was exhausting work for Rick. The father-and-son duo was able to find respite in restoring old Ford Mustangs — first a 1968 Shelby then a 1968 California Special.

Property management firms enjoy brighter days

Property management took a blow during the real estate crash, but has since been a steady income business for specialists like Manco Abbott and Robert L. Jensen & Associates as the rental housing, office and retail market bounces back.

Visalia vehicle sales up 13 percent

Visalia’s largest car dealer Don Groppetti said auto and truck sales in the Visalia market are up a strong 13 percent year over year. That’s more than double the state average for new registrations of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of the year. The sales pickup is good news for more than dealers since car sales are a major component of tax revenues for the city. The City of Visalia just passed its new two-year budget this week estimating a 3 percent increase each year in sales tax revenue.

Study: Mexico’s farm labor supply drying up

A decline in farm workers from Mexico has some Fresno-area farmers investing in automated harvesters and planting crops that are less labor intensive, such as almonds.
As another alternative, some farmers are simply cutting back on the crops they grow in response to labor shortages and lack of water.

Valley projects look to the sun for clean water

Following a full build out next year, developers of an unlikely system in the farming fields near Firebaugh are counting on desalination as a solution to California’s water shortage.
Unlike conventional desalination that uses an energy intensive process of reverse osmosis to remove salt and impurities, the Aqua4 technology by WaterFX relies on the sun’s rays to treat brackish groundwater.
Since June 2013, the company has been turning out fresh distilled water for the Panoche Water and Drainage District from its pilot test facility located along North Russell Avenue just west of Firebaugh.

Double whammy hits proposed Tulare cheese plant

Supporters of more economic development in Tulare suffered a set back in recent weeks as the start-up cheese maker CaliCheese, which expects to hire 200 employees, was hit by a double whammy.
About a month ago the president of the company, Jeff Lee, became ill with breathing problems while staying in Tulare County, was seen at Kaweah Delta and flown to a Los Angeles hospital where he later died. “It was a tragic irony on the eve of seeing his dream come true,” said Robert Moultrie, a friend and fellow investor in the project who will now be spearheading it

Startup offers mountain loop guided tours

Since launching more than a year ago, the Majestic Mountain Loop has captured the attention of tourism professionals and travelers worldwide with its itinerary of sights in Central California’s three national parks.
But up until now, the promotion created by the Visalia and Oakhurst visitors bureaus and the Fresno Yosemite International Airport has been without a concierge-level service that would shuttle large groups as experienced guides bring the destinations alive.  

Homegrown cinema membership model gains steam across state

What Netflix did for television, Oakhurst residents Matt Sconce and Keith Walker are doing for movie theaters and even converting some couch potatoes back to the cinema in the process.
More than a year ago, the longtime buddies succeeded in saving their beleaguered local theater by starting up a movie membership model that charges patrons a monthly subscription fee instead of the usual ticket price.

Vape expectations

Local e-cigarette industry grows; concerns deepen

Across the country, a growing number of tobacco users are turning to smoke-free alternatives like electronic cigarettes and vaporizers. What began as a grassroots trend in major cities has finally made its way to the Valley, where more than a dozen vapor shops have opened in the last few years.
In Fresno County alone, there are an estimated 164,000 adult smokers. For Valley “vape” shop owners, this represents a vast and relatively untapped market.
Gianni Raines, owner of Elite Vapor Shop, said he sold vapor pens and accessories online for two years before opening his store in a north Fresno shopping center nine months ago.
“There was nothing in this area when I moved in,” he said. “I saw a growing need.”