The News

Tomato record-breaker forecast for ‘15

Tomatoes are proving to be red gold for Central Valley farmers.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report forecasting a record-breaking year for production of processing tomatoes, which are used to make hundreds of food products, from soup and salsa to ketchup, pizza sauce and tomato juice.

Tenants react to foreclosure at Sierra Vista Mall

Storeowners and managers at Sierra Vista Mall received no advance notice of last week’s foreclosure sale that resulted in an ownership change at the struggling Clovis shopping center.
But this week, with many of the details surrounding the transaction still emerging, a number of mall tenants applauded the sale — and implored the new owners to do everything in their power to increase foot traffic at the 690,000-square-foot mall.

The Business Journal unveils 2015 cover

Around 300 people came out to San Joaquin Country Club Tuesday
to celebrate the unveiling of the cover of this year’s Book of Lists.

ABOVE: Kopi Sotiropulos with KMPH Channel 26 kicked up his heels, supported by KMPH General Sales Manager Matt Morse (left) and The Business Journal Publisher Gordon Webster.

LEFT: Fresno mural artist FranCisco Vargas talks about his mural stamp project completed this summer on The Business Journal’s office north wall. The mural was adapted for this year’s Book of Lists cover.

Tulare cheese plant to get March hearing

All systems are go on the planned CaliCheese plant in Tulare, said company CEO Robert Moultrie.
Originally approved without an environmental impact report, the “final EIR is now expected to be heard in March,” said Moultrie, with anticipated approval by the city council. The draft was released in September.

Sanger man uncorks passion with new winery

Five years ago, Bob Bagdassarian decided to follow his “passion” and do what he loves best — make wine.
So the Sanger native closed his health-care business and uncorked a plan to create a boutique winery on the farm where he grew up.

Fresno marketing firm invited to SXSW to preach Google Ad Words

Fresno’s efforts to combat its image as a technology desert are about to get a boost from a local digital marketing firm presenting at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas this spring.
Locally based Nettra Digital Marketing has been invited to present its strategy for helping nonprofit organizations take full advantage of Google Ad Words grants in March. The festival, which originated as a music and film event, has recently grown into a top technology showcase where startups can mix with industry powerhouses like Google and Facebook. It will be a great place to gain notoriety, said Dave Martin, co-founder and director of client relations at Nettra.

Connections rule at Fresno Food Expo

The organizers of this year’s Fresno Food Expo are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the event with an acknowledgement of the connections forged there throughout the years.
To illustrate that point, the City of Fresno, which hosts the expo each year, held a bus tour Tuesday for local media and other officials to hear from business owners who have made key connections at the event, which runs July 22-23 at the Fresno Convention Center New Exhibit Hall.

Walmart opening new Fresno supercenter January 21

More than a year after initial renovations began on the building, Walmart is finally ready to open the doors of its latest store in Fresno.
The Walmart on Ashlan and Blackstone avenues will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 21.
Since Mervyns closed in 2008, the 107,000-square-foot space has remained vacant, and Petco and Ideal Furniture Gallery had anchored the shopping center in central Fresno. Now, Walmart is expected to draw customers from all over the neighborhood and increase business in the area.  

Senior facilities prep for ‘silver tsunami of baby boomers’

Local senior housing groups and retirement homes are busy making plans to meet increased market demand as the baby boomer generation quickly approaches the 65 and older age designation.
“The silver tsunami of baby boomers is coming and we want to be ready for it,” said Jessica Lopez, executive director with The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno.

Local IT company acquired

Local information technology company Innovative I.T. has been acquired by San Luis Obispo-based TekTegrity.
“We’ve already been in the Central Valley for quite some time,” said Russ Levanway, TekTegrity CEO. “Merging the companies expands the organization’s talent pool and increases the services available to all clients.”
Innovative I.T. CEO Brian Horton said all of the company’s employees will be retained through the merger and leadership teams from both companies will be meeting with Innovative I.T. clients as the transition takes place over the next year.