Weekly Issues

Survey: Obamacare hinders Valley economy

While the San Joaquin Valley’s economy continues to growth, the rate of growth in September fell compared to August.

That’s the word from the San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index, produced by Fresno State’s Craig School of Business. The overall September index is 50.2, compared to 55.4 in August.

An index of more than 50 indicates an expanding economy over the course of the next three to six months.


profile speck

Vice President

Speck Media Inc.

What we do:  Design, print, branding, promotional items, campaign management (email and social media), technology business tools (website development and hosting), photography, signage, distribution & ad placement and fulfillment 

Education:  Bachelor of Arts in English and Economics from Bellarmine University, Kentucky 

Age:  44 

Social media sprouts grassroots efforts to land stars, businesses

Powers of attraction

The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State is on a mission to coax the Duck Dynasty cast to visit the campus, taking a page from the “Bring In-N-Out to Hanford” Facebook page that set a local standard for social media campaigns.

The Lyles Center is utilizing social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to convince Phil Robertson or some of the other cast members of the popular A&E reality television program to speak at the Save Mart Center on entrepreneurship.

Tulare County new car sales up since recession

New vehicle registration has revved back since the Great Recession in Tulare County, mirroring a trend seen across the nation.

“We’re not all the way back from the high during the 2005/06 period,” said Don Groppetti, the county’s largest auto dealer.

Still, the improvement is dramatic.

Lang, Richert and Patch celebrate half century of law

Fifty years have gone by since one of Fresno’s oldest law firms formed out of a few young attorneys looking to make their mark in the area.

Now with 17 attorneys and some 30 in supporting staff, Lang, Richert and Patch handles the affairs of multi-million-dollar clients even outside of the Valley and state in situations involving bankruptcy, debtor-creditor relationship, estate planning, agriculture, construction, banking and commercial finance, medical malpractice and employment law, to name just a few specialties.


innovation Commercial Flooring

What we do:
ICF sells and installs various commercial-grade flooring products to businesses, schools, government and medical facilities.

One year at Fullerton Community College; School of Women’s Ministry, including some Seminary; University of Hard Knocks

Husband Wayne, married 36 years, four daughters and son-in-laws, six grandchildren

How and when did you and your husband come to establish Innovative Commercial Flooring?
We moved to the Central Valley from Pismo Beach in 2002 as small business partners of a larger flooring company. That firm was bought out in 2009 except for the Fresno branch, so we took the opportunity to start ICF and we continued to serve our clients.

How large an area do you serve?
We serve from Merced to Delano, the mountain communities to the coastal communities.

Have you ever thought about doing work on the residential side as well?
No, except for projects that need commercial products, such as a home with a daycare or converting a home for a senior lifestyle. The needs represented in the commercial arena keeps us busy and we’re learning new things all the time.

Is there a type of flooring that’s getting more popular than others and why?
We have found that Powerbond carpet is very popular with Valley schools. It’s waterproof, easy to clean and practically indestructible.  You can see why schools love it. Another product that is popular is the vinyl wooden planks. The wood look is warm and softens a room. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is making a big impact and it is easy to see why. It is funny how some colors styles come around again, like oranges and browns and stripes.

Working a lot with school facilities and maintenance personnel here in the Valley, how have you seen them adjust and stay positive during the last four-plus years of budget cuts?
This has been amazing to witness as many of them have had to reduce their staff, especially the smaller districts. No one went through this untouched. They have had to become masters of efficiency and hope for positive change. The maintenance and facilities personnel have been true champions of this economic downturn.

What business and economic benefits do you see coming out of high-speed rail in the Fresno area?
This is an opportunity for the Central Valley to ready itself for amazing business opportunities. I earnestly suggest that businesses attend as many meetings hosted by the SBA, various Chambers, etc. to learn all they can about this project and to develop their plan of engagement. Colleges and even High Schools should get involved. Almost every business will be impacted. Why shouldn’t the Valley be responsive and excellent and a major benefactor from this project?

How does the company get involved or give back to its community?
When we moved to this area we purposed to love it, flat out. Without business, there is no city. Our first service is to provide jobs and a work environment that helps to build people. In the business realm, we’re involved in the Fresno Chamber, 9-5 for Christ Women’s Business Network, SBDC Advisory Board and SEPCEDA. Then we follow our passion, like supporting schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and Habitat for Humanity—doing what we can when we can. Our motto is to focus on what we can do, not be paralyzed by what we can’t do.  

How have your children been involved in the business? Do they have ambitions of one day running things?
All four of our daughters have worked in the flooring industry with us.  Our eldest, Charisma, works as the western regional sales manager for Nora Rubber Flooring. That girl knows flooring! The rest are busy doing amazing things in other areas. Who knows what the future holds?

What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about Fresno and the Valley becoming vibrant and prosperous. I don’t tolerate bad mouthing Fresno. I love discussing ideas and solutions to problems.
I would also love to see a Central Valley grape, raisin and wine festival. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

What upcoming technological advancements are you most excited about?
Green, sustainable and sensible building practices. There is so much to be gained here and the Valley is increasing in this area dramatically. Brilliant ideas to steward and manage our water. I love the conversations surrounding blue technology.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
I sold homemade crochet dollies door-to-door at age 12 for an elderly woman. I had no fear.

What are your roots in the San Joaquin Valley?
We have lived in Clovis for 11 years. Several of our family members have relocated to our area.  

What do you do in your spare time?
 Visit with family and friends, sip local wine and listen to live music, preferably all at once!

Reopening of The Downtown Club set for Oct. 7

Under new ownership, The Downtown Club in Fresno aims to open for lunch on Oct. 7 and is reaching out to all its former members with a special offer.
The historic private club located in downtown Fresno announced it would close in February. However a new group of owners, headed by Selma restaurateur Nick Sarid, purchased the building and announced it will re-open the club under the same name.

Industries face min. wage hike

Even though he said it would likely hurt the economy and his industry, veteran Fresno restaurateur Dave Fansler isn’t losing too much sleep over the state’s upcoming minimum wage increase.
For one, he said it will definitely have an inflationary impact on the Fresno restaurants he owns — Yosemite Ranch, Pismo’s Coastal Grill and the soon-to-open Westwoods BBQ & Spice Company.

From squares to circles

Growers experiment with Midwest-style pivot irrigation

Common to the Midwest and Texas — but fairly new to the Central Valley — overhead center pivot irrigation systems are being tried here on a variety of crops including cotton, wheat and alfalfa hay.
They have also shown some success on onions and corn.

Clovis ACE Hardware closes doors

After serving local customers for more than 20 years, Clovis ACE Hardware shuttered its doors just months after the opening of a Wal-Mart supercenter across the street.

The store, located at 295 N. Clovis Ave., opened in 1993 and closed on Monday due to a number of factors, including the opening of the new Wal-Mart on Herndon Avenue in March.

Storeowner Norm Bishop also said congestion caused by construction along Herndon Avenue made the store less accessible. He also cited the increasingly competitive nature of the retail industry.