Hub Zones assist businesses with low--interest rates in exporting and importing operations and Recycling Marketing Development Zones offer low--interest loans and financing for plant equipment, facility maintenance or expansion for companies that recycle 51 percent or more or their waste.
California is big on developing its workforce. "We have one of the largest workforce investment programs in the country, with a $35 million budget, providing job screening, hiring and training––with special incentives in all three of these categories," notes Spaur.
The food industry regularly works closely with the Department of Viticulture and Enology at California State University at Fresno, providing a resource to area wineries. For more than 40 years, the department and its resource center has been a resource to regional wineries on the art and science of grape--growing and wine--making.
It’s not all work and no play in Fresno County, which is rich with cultural activities such as symphonies, museums and galleries, and outdoor activities such as white--water rafting, fly fishing, mountain biking and road racing.
"Plus, we have three national parks: Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia," Spaur says.
Perishable Business Strong In The Valley
There’s a good reason why Johanson Transportation Service is located in Fresno. "We are right in the center of the richest agricultural region of the San Joaquin Valley," says Larry Johanson, president.
"This is where the food business is strong and there’s a wide variety of crops grown right here and shipped out of this valley. We have available space for development, excellent climate and good soil," he says, adding that last year the company shipped out 16,000 truckloads of products.
Johanson Transportation is a non--asset--based service company handling the transportation piece of getting products shipped from growers to final destination.
"We contract with carriers to do the hauling and we negotiate freight rates on behalf of our customers," explains Johanson. "We then invoice our customers or receivers for freight charges, and then we pay the carrier. So we handle all logistical functions from the time an order is given to us until the time the order is delivered and the carrier is paid."
In addition to handling produce, Johanson Transportation also ships dehydrated vegetables, herbs and fruits to food processors for further processing. "What our shippers find appealing is that we can be a one--stop shop for them because we can do everything from temperature control, dry freight, truckloads and LTLs––all the way down to a pallet or two."
Johanson notes that, with today’s technology it’s not as important as it was in the past for companies to be close to the source of the products they are shipping. "But we see Fresno as a true logistical hub, so we will continue to grow and operate our business here," he says.
The company has grown, doubling in size over the last six years. Johanson Transportation is preparing to move into a new 11,000--square--foot facility. Johanson notes that by locating this facility in an Enterprise Zone, the company can take advantage of tax deductions and other available tax credits that help the business thrive. "I would encourage all companies contemplating moves here to look into the business and workforce incentives offered by locating in an Enterprise Zone," he says.
A local Regional Jobs Initiative offers incentives to companies that create jobs for the region, whether they are existing companies or companies considering the move to Fresno. "We have grown right along Fresno as it has matured in this industry and we recognize the opportunity to partner with our shipper friends to handle their logistics needs," Johanson says.