Weekly Issues

Fresno First Bank takes top spot in community bank SBA lending

In a market once dominated by Premier Valley Bank, the competition for Small Business Administration-backed loans amongst local community banks has tightened, as Fresno First Bank took the top spot for the 2013 fiscal year.
Fresno First topped the list of community banks in the Central Valley for most SBA loans and largest dollar amount in 2013 with 35 loans for $14.1 million. Premier Valley Bank followed behind with 22 loans for $9.1 million.

Habitat for Humanity building Fresno homes

Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, councilmember Sal Quintero and Habitat for Humanity Fresno County representatives met in southwest Fresno Tuesday to announce plans to build nine homes on vacant parcels at Belgravia and Laval avenues.
The $1.3 million project will feature a mixture of three-, four and five-bedroom homes. The parcels are in the middle of two existing neighborhoods and the project is designed to bring together the entire area.

Mark Astone

CEO
Catalyst Marketing Co

What we do: We’re a full-service marketing and communications company. We have a wide variety of clients within the Central Valley, many of which have been with us for more than 15 years. We also represent destination and entertainment brands outside of the Central Valley including Indian gaming casinos, travel and tourism.

Retailers plan social media deluge for Black Friday

As part of the long-held retail tradition, Black Friday is still shrouded in mystery, but one thing a handful of local retailers shared was they will be following the national trend of increased social media interaction for the monumental shopping day.
Blackfriday.fm reports it expects an increase in social media activity associated with Black Friday this year. Traffic generated on Black Friday from mobile devices increased by 67 percent in 2012 compared to the year before. This year, the group expects an even bigger gain.

Farmer maintains closed-loop dairy system

Johnny Tacherra, owner of Morning Star Dairy of Burrell, has developed a closed-production system that keeps feed prices down while ensuring profitability in a tough market.
Tacherra recycles water and saves his cow manure for production of alfalfa and other grains to feed his cows. The feed, in turn, is turned back into manure by the cows.
Tacherra also has an overhead center pivot system that irrigates the alfalfa hay he feeds his cows. “I put the sprinklers six feet to seven feet off the ground,” he said, during a recent industry “irrigation efficiency” tour stop at his farm. That provides a spray that covers the crop well, Tacherra said.

Housing floated for Shaw Ave. retail strip

Local officials have developed a clearer picture of what needs to be done to rejuvenate retail businesses on Shaw Avenue between Highway 168 and Clovis Avenue.
The heavily traveled route became an avenue of concern as far back as 15 years ago when a high number of businesses began closing down — the victim of competition with larger stores. The economic crash that started in 2008 made conditions worse.
Since then, city officials, store owners and chamber of commerce officials have worked on ideas to bring back retail activity and in some cases, replace retail with housing. The effort to rejuvenate Shaw Avenue, just east of Fresno State, became known as the Shaw Avenue Corridor Plan.

Crossings rail park expansion chugging along

Local logistics company Van G Logistics is betting on rail as the future of product movement as it builds out both its 154-acre site in Selma and 73-acre Fowler property to bring even more Valley goods to the country by train.
The Crossings Industrial and Logistics Park, located at Peach and Conejo avenues just southwest of Selma, is already shaping up to be one of the nation’s largest rail distribution facilities.

London firm sues Visalia over bid on $93M project

Multi-national contractor Balfour Beatty of London has filed suit against the City of Visalia in a dispute over bidding on a $93-million upgrade to the city’s water plant. The project, recently awarded to Fresno-based rival W.M. Lyles Co., is the largest public works project in Visalia history.

ALRB reverses denial of petition

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board’s Sacramento office has reversed a decision by the regional director that would have blocked a group of Gerawan farm workers’ in their second attempt to hold an election to determine if the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) should represent them.

Fresno runs key trade surpluses

Fresno is well known for exporting its agricultural products, but it’s also a significant source of textiles and mixed freight in the country, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
The study, Metro-to-Metro: Global and Domestic Goods Trade in Metropolitan America, examines the country’s largest 100 metropolitan areas and their trade data.