Pacific Coast Business Times Proudly serving Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties 2016-07-22T21:32:12Z http://www.pacbiztimes.com/feed/atom/ Staff Report <![CDATA[2016 Spirit of Small Business Awards winners announced]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28375 2016-07-22T21:32:12Z 2016-07-22T17:49:59Z Read More →]]> Nebil "Bilo" Zarif, owner of Summerland Winery, was this year's Spirit of Small Business winner for Santa Barbara County. (Nik Blaskovitch photo).

Nebil “Bilo” Zarif, owner of Summerland Winery, was this year’s Spirit of Small Business winner for Santa Barbara County. (Nik Blaskovitch photo).

 

The Pacific Coast Business Times is pleased to announce our 2016 class of Spirit of Small Business Awards winners. This annual special section, now in its 14th year, celebrates small-business ownership and entrepreneurship in the Tri-Counties. The report published with the July 22 print edition. The winners will be honored at an awards luncheon on Friday, August 19 at Bacara Resort & Spa.

There were eight winners this year, all profiled in the print edition. They are:

VENTURA COUNTY

Beacon Coffee Company: John and Jennifer Wheir, Owners

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Summerland Winery: Nebil “Bilo” Zarif , Owner

CENTRAL COAST

Figeuroa Mountain Brewing Co.: Jaime and Jim Dietenhofer


FAMILY-OWNED

Santa Paula Materials: Mile and Roko Grbic, Owners

MINORITY-OWNED

Lead Builders: Ron Galvariz, Founder

GREEN BUSINESS

Brighten Solar: Marine Schumann, Jeremy Favier and Gautier Meyers, Co-founders


VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESS

CJSeto Support Services: Chet Seto, CEO

WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS

BōKu International: Lynn Rollé, Owner

• For a copy of the section with profiles and photos of all the winners, pick up the July 22-28 print edition of the Business Times. Call (805) 560-6950 or email dgiles@pacbiztimes.com to subscribe or order copies.

• To purchase tickets to the Spirit of Small Business Awards luncheon held at the Bacara Resort & Spa on Friday, August 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, click here.

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Alex Kacik http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[CLU hosts Center for Nonprofit Leadership]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28390 2016-07-21T23:27:24Z 2016-07-22T16:00:02Z

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Marissa Nall http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Certification gives Apeel appeal]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28392 2016-07-21T23:34:28Z 2016-07-22T15:45:10Z

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Alex Kacik http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Tri-county elder abuse ‘gut-wrenching’]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28383 2016-07-21T22:56:49Z 2016-07-22T15:30:44Z

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Supriya Yelimeli http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Some chambers back candidates, others neutral]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28386 2016-07-21T23:03:34Z 2016-07-22T15:15:11Z Read More →]]> As a blistering election year consumes the Central Coast, chambers of commerce are deciding their role in the political process.

The chambers in the Tri-County area range in size from more than 1,400 members to smaller organizations of 200 and 300. These business networks advocate for local economic growth, which, for some, takes shape in the form of political endorsements.

Of the 10 largest chambers in the area, only Santa Barbara, Camarillo and Oxnard regularly endorse political candidates during the election season. San Luis Obispo, the largest chamber of commerce on the Central Coast, does not endorse political candidates.

As a result of geography, demographics and size, the chambers vary greatly in their identity. “If you’ve seen one chamber, you’ve seen one chamber” is the unofficial motto of chambers, which were founded in Marseille, France in 1599.

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce has a “long-held process” of not endorsing political candidates, said CEO Ermina Karim. The chamber has 1,443 members but does not see its stature as a reason to promote candidates.

Karim said the decision is tied to the organization’s core values, adding that “diversity of thought” requires many different viewpoints from many different candidates.

The chamber does not sit still during election season, however, and Karim describes the chamber as “probably the most politically engaged” institution in the area, leading a past campaign for a sales tax renewal, supporting past bond measures by Cuesta College and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, and creating voter guides for its members.

Other chambers use their size as an advantage, supporting specific candidates in their races for public office.

This year, the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce suffered a backlash from business owners after the chamber endorsed candidate Das Williams for 1st District Santa Barbara County Supervisor. William’s voting record was thought to be far from business-friendly, but the chamber stood by its decision to support him.

The Santa Barbara chamber has approximately 1,000 members and uses a government relations committee to make its endorsement decisions. The committee is comprised of 20 voting members, something typically feasible only for larger chambers. The chamber hosts public forums prior to the committee voting, as well as Q&A and information sessions.

“We want to be an advocate for the business community,” said Ken Oplinger, CEO of the Santa Barbara chamber. “If we haven’t been involved we can’t provide input when business owners come to us for help.”

The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, with 1,100 members, chooses each year to release a legislative agenda instead of making candidate endorsements. This year’s extensive platform lists the chamber’s positions on a number of local, state and federal issues, ranging from information security to immigration reform. The chamber says it supports the Thousand Oaks Boulevard Specific Plan, and opposes any increases to the cost of business licenses.

The Ventura Chamber of Commerce, with 650 members, is also considered a prominent economic player on the Central Coast. It uses a 12-member Political Action Committee to make its endorsements and the chamber hosts informational sessions for the community prior to announcing its decisions.

Stephanie Caldwell, CEO of the chamber, said it usually selects candidates who will “lighten the regulatory load” upon businesses and help Ventura expand its economy. The chamber is due to make its endorsements in late August.

For others, “being political is too risky,” said Gina Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, which has 922 members. Paso Robles’ economy is concentrated in agriculture and tourism, ranging from restaurants and hotels to wineries and cattle ranches.

The chamber has endorsed legislation in the past, including the Cuesta College and San Luis Coastal Unified School District bond measures, but it does not publicly support specific candidates because of possible conflicts of interest with its members.

Smaller chambers have also been known to make endorsements. The Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, with a membership of 530, makes its endorsements through an internal decision process with its board of directors. The chamber has not yet made its endorsements for 2016.

The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, comprised of 525 members, endorsed Dave Grau in late March for 1st District Ventura County Supervisor and on July 19 endorsed Kelly Long for 3rd District Ventura County Supervisor.

The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, also small with a membership of 485, endorsed Bruce Porter for 3rd District Santa Barbara County Supervisor and Tony Vallejo for Goleta City Council.

Business and politics are interwoven in practice and, while advocacy is often a privilege of larger, more established organizations, even chambers that do not endorse have done their part to inform the public about this year’s election.

The Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts numerous educational forums for local, state, regional and national policymakers for its 350 members, and the Buellton Chamber of Commerce, with a membership of 210, also hosts forums for local politicians.

The chambers have the ability to dabble in politics when the need arises. Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO Linda Hendy said although her 625-member chamber does not currently do endorsements, it might begin doing them in the future.

Editor’s note: This story kicks off the Business Times’ coverage of the 2016 election, which will include analysis, Q&As and bios of candidates in select races in the Tri-Counties.

• Contact Supriya Yelimeli at intern@pacbiztimes.com.

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Marissa Nall http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Oxnard company builds better gopher trap]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28398 2016-07-21T23:55:03Z 2016-07-22T15:00:28Z

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Alex Kacik http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Showdown looms as controversial Chumash land trust bill advances]]> http://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=28394 2016-07-21T23:39:59Z 2016-07-22T14:45:26Z Read More →]]> Alex Kacik

Alex Kacik

The Santa Ynez Chumash Indians can move forward with plans to build 143 single-family homes for tribal members, per a U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources vote.

The committee voted 29-1 to pass HR 1157, which would allow the Chumash to take 1,390 acres in Santa Ynez known as Camp 4 into federal trust under the tribe’s sovereign territory.

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, was the lone dissenter and argued the issue should be resolved locally. Santa Barbara County officials have expressed similar perspectives.

“This matter should not be addressed through legislation in Washington, D.C.,” Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr said.

The Chumash have been negotiating with the county over the Camp 4 land since 2011. If the bill passes the House and Senate and is signed into law, the land would be removed from county tax rolls and oversight.

The tribe plans to build the homes on the acreage as well as designated open space and vineyards. The $179 million project would have a projected $80 million to $100 million annual impact, according to data from Mark Schniepp, the director of the California Economic Forecast, presented at November’s Economic Action Summit in Santa Maria.

About half of the tribe’s members live off of the reservation, said Chairman Kenneth Kahn, who took over for Vincent Armenta after he stepped down in March to pursue culinary school.

“The reservation has always been very small. A lot of our members don’t have access (to housing on the reservation),” Kahn told the Business Times. “The 140 homes should provide for us for the next 20, 30 or 40 years.”

The Chumash paid $40 million to the late Fess Parker for Camp 4 in 2010 and shortly after began the process of placing the land into trust.

In July 2013, the tribe filed a federal trust application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In October 2013, federal legislation (HR 1133) was introduced to take land into trust and it was reintroduced to Congress in February 2015 as HR 1157. Kahn said if it wasn’t for HR 1157, the county wouldn’t have sat down with the tribe to negotiate.

The bill prohibits gambling on the site but does not include other development restrictions, which has drawn concern from county officials and local residents.

The county estimated that it would lose up to $311 million in tax revenue over 50 years.

The committee vote was an historic moment for the tribe, Kahn said.

“The housing project is the one we set out to build and what the tribe needs to sustain a healthy community,” he said.

Ventura County property sold

Michael David & Co. Commercial Real Estate Services of Oxnard recently coordinated two transactions totaling more than $3 million.

Sino Management LLC sold the 14,000-square-foot retail property at 360 W. Esplanade Drive in Oxnard to Elliot Megdal & Associates for $2.1 million. Megdal plans to redevelop the property partially occupied by Royal Business Bank and the retailer Master Bedroom.

A private investor purchased a 5,000-square-foot office building at 2437 Grand Ave. in Ventura for $940,000. It was previously owned by ME Gisler LLC. The investor aims to update the property and relocate his Ventura electrical contracting business, according to Michael David & Co.

Pacifica Group update

Pacifica Real Estate Group will continue to operate after the sale of its commercial brokerage subsidiary.

Pacifica Commercial Realty was sold to Pacifica Commercial Central Coast. Pacifica Commercial Realty was Pacifica’s Central Coast brokerage operation. The company said it no longer served the expanded needs of the Group, which has operations in several key western states.

Pacifica Real Estate Group provides investment, tax deferred exchanges, and asset and property management services to its clients and investment partners. None of the Group’s ownership positions or lending activities were affected by the sale.

• Contact Alex Kacik at akacik@pacbiztimes.com.

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