The Corcoran Journal and the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce are joining with the local Rotary Club to present Business to Business, a new program that highlights local companies. Twice a month, a Corcoran business owner will be hosted by the Rotary Club during the organization's weekly luncheon and will have the opportunity to provide a summary of his or her business. The business will then be spotlighted in The Journal.
If you're interested in becoming a Featured Business, please submit our Business Speaker Signup form.
Nova Storm Systems
This week, Brian Dukes of Nova Storm Systems takes center ring.
Want a custom computer built from scratch? Brian Dukes is the man to call. Starting his now business in 2003, Dukes works out of office space at the Thurman and Thurman CPAs building, where he is involved in computer sales and service, networking solutions, high-speed wireless internet services and IP security cameras. As previously noted, he can also build computers to order.
And for those who like to game--this is the guy to provide the right platform.
"The gaming computers and servers I make are completely custom made and second to none," he noted, being an avid game player himself.
The Los Angeles native moved to the Central Valley when he started his business here, and makes his home in Laton, with wife Ginger, part of the Thurman and Thurman team.
One of his favorite local merchants is Pizza Factory--and he gives a bid nod to owner Troy Van Velson.
"Troy has been a big help and support to me and my business," said Dukes.
Anyone who needs computer help, from installation to custom parts, is welcome to call Nova Story Systems at 859-9047.
Wayne Aurand was a special guest of the Corcoran Rotary Club Thursday, speaking during the Business to Business segment regarding The Printer, his longtime downtown company.
Owner of the print shop for the past 36 years, Aurand paid his dues with the Sequoia Publishing Company and worked at the head printer for the Corcoran Journal for 11 years before going into business for himself. While at The Journal, he did printing for several local businesses, including the printing the weekly newspaper.
In order to keep up with changes in the print business, Aurand said about 40 percent of his current output is in the form of custom business labels. His new labeling machine can handle specific die cuts and shapes and provide the labels on a roll, rather than sheets. Aurand is a past member of the local Rotary club and has been involved in many local activities over the last 36 years. He was president of Toastmasters, the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce and the Printing House Craftsmen Club of Kings and Tulare counties. He also served as a reserve police officer for the Corcoran Police Department. The Manteca native was born in 1939 and moved 27 times, attending 12 schools, before making his home in Corcoran. He currently lives outside Porterville. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
One of his favorite businesses in Corcoran is Corcoran Hardware.
"They meet community needs competitively," he stated.
Jennie Castaneda from Corcoran Hardware joined the Corcoran Rotary Club for Lunch Thursday as the latest Business to Business participant.
She outlined the history of the local store, which had been in place for many years on Whitley Ave. at the corner of Chittenden Ave. The store has been at its present location on Chittenden Ave. for many years, replacing Bartlett Appliance.
Castaneda explained that the store principally provides plumbing and paint supplies, but also carries a variety of household items, as well as appliances. Most recently, Corcoran Hardware has been carrying a new furniture line. The store also has a gift corner, with several decorator items and candles available. Spring gardening items and fertilizers can also be purchased at Corcoran Hardware.
Castaneda has been managing the store for many years and makes every attempt to stock items that are requested by customers. If an item is not available, she will attempt to get it ordered. Corcoran Hardware is a True Value hardware carrier and has plenty of different sale items per month, she noted.
Ownership of the hardware store supports local organizations and churches. In addition to her own business, Castaneda said she likes all Corcoran restaurants.
"My favorite businesses in town are those that sell any kind of food," she quipped, The hardware store has business hours on Saturday to take care of weekend customers.
"I love my weekend customers. They are always working on projects, so we stay open all day to help them with their needs," noted Castaneda.
Pollyanna's Flowers and Things
Carolyn West and Cheryl Burress were special guests at the Corcoran Rotary Cub meeting Thursday, spotlighting the Business to Business program with information about Pollyanna's Flowers 'N Things.
The business has been a staple in Corcoran for the past 47 years and has been under the ownership of West since 1999. Carolyn actually started working in the shop in 1987.
A native of the Midwest, Carolyn grew up in Chicago and St. Louis, before she and her husband, Roy, moved to Corcoran. Mr. West taught school and coached baseball for several years before his retirement. The couple also raised their four sons here.
The family stayed involved in the community, notably in youth activities. Carolyn said she has never regretted living in a small town.
"We love Corcoran and its small town ways," she noted. "Everyone who comes to Pollyanna's becomes a friend."
Burress is one of those friends, who have become Pollyanna's designer at large.
"She does lovely work," West stated.
Treating their business as a "mom and pop" services. West said she and her husband want to make sure their customers feel they can call Pollyanna's anytime and the business will do its best to meet their needs. She said she does not want to point out one special business that she likes in addition to her own, adding that she makes every effort to keep her business in Corcoran by shopping at a variety of stores here.
Ramiro Sanchez took his talent for painting to Los Angeles Trade Tech and came back to Corcoran to paint almost everything in sight, from downtown murals to business signs. He talked about his career as the Business to Business guest at the Corcoran Rotary Club luncheon last week.
Born in Texas, he has spent most of his life in Corcoran. During a four-year-period, he did sign-painting in the Houston, Texas area. His business has grown to include not only signs, but banners, wall lettering and vehicles, as well as decorative murals. His mural work can be seen downtown at Christmas Tree Park and on the side of the Subway Sandwich building, and at the Veterans Hall. He has also done custom painting at local schools.
His newest endeavor is producing a number of paintings of Corcoran and the surrounding area. His work is currently on display at the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce office and fittingly depots "Tule Life," with a coyote making his way through the countryside. "I really enjoy what I do," he said. "I would love to work on murals and painting showing the history of Corcoran."
In addition to his own business, Sanches listed his favorite local business as New China Restaurant, noting they serve excellent food and have great services.
The Pizza Factory
Serving up pizzas since 1998, Troy Van Velson was a special guest speaker at the Corcoran Rotary Club meeting last week. In the Business to Business segment of the meeting. Rotarians got to learn a little more about Van Velson and his business. As a very young man, Troy managed the Big Yellow House restaurant in Santa Barbara, where he was a college student. He graduated from Yosemite High School in Oakhurst, where he excelled as a member of the tennis team. He moved to Corcoran in 1998 when offered the opportunity to purchase the Pizza Factory restaurant, original operated by Roger Gange. While under Troy's ownership, the franchise moved into its current location. Pizza Factory provides a full range of pizzas, salads, pastas and sandwiches. Providing great service to the community, at reasonable prices. Troy also offers group discounts and has been an avid supporter of the community. He and his wife Rochelle have two lovely daughters, Bailey and Grace and Troy volunteers his time for several youth activities, including Little League, YBA, soccer and softball. He is also a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and sits on The Corcoran Community Foundation.
Through the Pizza Factory, he also supports scholarships to graduating Corcoran High School students. One of Van Velson's favorite local businesses is Fabrie Jewelers. "I think Jerry (Fabrie) can craft just about anything anyone could want, without having to leave town to shop for it," Tony noted.
Weisacre's Used Books
WeisAcres Used BooksLeo Weiskircher was a special guest of the Corcoran Rotary Club last Thursday, reporting to the organization in the Business to Business section of the luncheon meeting. He talked about Weisacre's Used Books, which he has operated in Corcoran since 2004. Weiskircher noted that he carries all types of books, from popular novels to children's books. His store can also provide out-of-print books and rare volumes that come his way. The store also plans a children's reading hour on Saturdays, once a month. On his racks of thousands of books are plenty of science fiction, mystery, biography and animal volumes. Both paperbacks and hardback books are available.
Weiskircher, who will be 81 years old this month, said he plans to be in business for many more years at 1160 Chase Ave. A native of Los Angeles, he spent much of his life in Southern California. Weiskircher was in the U.S. Navy for four years and lists membership in the American Legion. He is a former member of the Optimist Club.
His favorite Corcoran business is New China Restaurant. He enjoys their food and service--and their floats in the annual Cotton Parade.
Subway Sandwiches and More!
Surindar Pal was the recent guest of the Corcoran Rotary Club speaking about his Subway Sandwich store in Corcoran in the club's Business to Business segment.
Driving from Fresno every morning to get coffee and breakfast items prepared, Paul, as he's known to co-workers and local residents, has the shop open by 7 a.m. On the menu are a variety of omelet sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, plenty of coffee, milk and juices. A variety of healthy choices are available, noted Paul. The same goes for lunch. In addition to the full menu of sub sandwiches, customers get to pick the bread on which they are served and can choose from calorie-conscious selections to meat balls slathered in cheese and mariner sauce. Even individual pizzas are available at just $5 each.
And he has a special for December, both the meatball sandwich and cold-cut sandwich will be just $2 for the six-inch size. Local residents can also take advantage of the lunch special, which provides a six-inch sub with chips and a drink for $5. Any meal can also include a side, like the yogurt or cookies on display.
Paul keeps the shop open until 9 p.m., so those who would like a sandwich, perhaps accompanied by a bowl of soup, are also in luck.
With 10 employees, Subway makes sure customers get though the line quick. And they do more than just serve up single meals. Trays of sandwiches can be ordered for meetings or other get-togethers, salads can be prepared to eat in or take out and platters of cookies will be served up to order.
Paul said he has no specific business in Corcoran as his favorite, but he likes many of the downtown shops. He said the people are friendly and he likes to work with them.
Mari Burnias was a special guest of the Corcoran Rotary Club Thursday, the most recent entrepreneur invited to network with other local professionals as part of the Rotary Business to Business project. Rotarians are asking their counterparts to be their guests during Rotary lunch meetings, and to share information regarding their businesses.
Mari has made a huge splash with Blissful Moments, a new floral and gift shop. Open for just about 18 months and located on Whitley Ave., Blissful Moments offers a wide range of gifts and even schedules even set-up: chairs and chair-covers, tables and centerpieces can be matched to any event. In fact, Mari is preparing for a busy fall, with weddings lined up in September, October and November.
"Out business is unique, in that a client can plan an event and come here not only for the tables and chairs, but for the decorations as well. We even provide linens. It's like one-stop shopping," she noted.
In addition to providing the items to make the even special, Blissful Moments also takes care of the set-up and take-down.
Mari is a member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and is a supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She grew up in Corcoran and is also a strong supporter of the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce. She was a realtor for 10 years before opening Blissful Moments.
One of her favorite local businesses is the Amore Caffe.
"It's very hospitable and I love the variety of coffee flavors there," said Mari. "It's also unique and gives you the feel of the big city in our little community. I love its uniqueness."
A staple in the downtown area since 1987, Richard's Chevrolet was in the spotlight at a recent Rotary Club meeting in Rotary's Business to Business segment. Owner Richard Garcia and his son Todd attended the meeting and spoke about the local company.
Richard noted that he started the business small, but now employs 21 people. The company volume is approximately $800,00 per month, which translates into plenty of sales tax revenue for the City of Corcoran each year.
And, in one sign of the times, Richard noted that his business up 21 percent in 2011, perhaps pointing to a strengthening economy. He said that the business upswing is a sign that the Valley's agricultural economy is doing well.
Todd heads the company's service department and is responsible for about $50,000 per month in labor sales; parts add another $85,000 a month in revenue.
The full service car dealership started with the Chevrolet brand, but has expanded to include new Buick models as well. A full lot of used cars is also available.
Among the newest vehicles available is the Volt, an electric car--and Richard has a demo for those interested. He said it's a great vehicle, priced at between $42-$44,000. And there are wonderful tax incentives available for the "green" car. $7,500 in tax credits the first year and another $5,000 in tax credits the second year.
"I have driven it to the coast several times and it climbs well and handles very well," he told Rotarians.
And, while Richard's captures its fair share of the local car-buying population, Richard told Rotarians that approximately 50 percent of his clientele is from out of town.
"That tells me that we are doing the right thing," he said. "We are a people business."
Over the course of the years, Richard estimates the company has sold about 50,000 vehicles.
When many businessmen would be happy holding their own, Richard is in the act of expanding. He is in the process of taking over a Chevrolet dealership in Coalinga, which Todd will be running.
"I think there's an opportunity there, so we're going to give it a go," he stated.
Richard and his family have a history of involvement in the community. The company has helped support athletics and school activities over the years and both sons have been involved in that effort, as well as coaching local teams.
Richard said New China is a local business he admires and not just for their great food.
"They are locally owned and family run. There a lot of people who come from out of town to eat at New China," he commented.
Aristeo Alvarado, perhaps better known to many Corcoran residents as Junior was special guest of the Corcoran Rotary Club Thursday as a part of the organizations Business to Business program. Alvarado presented information regarding his coffee shop, Amore Caffee.
Located in the heart of downtown--in the downstairs portion of the Occidental Hotel in the 900 block of Whitley Ave.--Amore offers a wide range of hand-brewed coffees happily custom prepared for each customer. The shop has been open for three years and has attracted a large local following.
Alvarado offers coffee made in Modesto to his specifications. From there, the sky is the limit--anything that can be done to a cup of joe is available at Amore. Even a plain cup of coffee.
Coffee is certainly not the only item on the menu. Fresh fruits are served daily, as are sandwiches prepared for a lunch menu. Breakfast bagels and pastries can be accompanied by coffee or a range of refrigerated drinks. Catering is also available from small groups to large venues.
Alvarado said customer service is of chief concern to him and his employees. Providing quality assistance also commands their attention.
The snug shop offers hospitable surroundings and an invitation to sit down and take advantage of the wireless wi-fi provided as part of the service.
Alvarado is a native of Bakersfield and grew up in Corcoran. He has two sisters, Socorro and Joanna and his mother, Lorena Banuelos, owns and operates the El Capitan restaurant, where he can also be regularly found.
His favorite local business is Blissful Moments. "I really like their carried selection of gift items and their creative floral arrangements," he noted.
Saleh Obeid was a special guest at Thursday's meeting of the Corcoran Rotary Club. He was invited by Rotary to share information about Kings Drive in during the Business to Business highlight at the luncheon session. Obeid told Rotarians he owned and operated the business for the past 15 years. The family-operated fast food restaurant provides the community with great food (judged by the Corcoran Journal last summer for serving the best burgers in town), friendly service and good prices, said Obeid. In addition to their burgers, the restaurant's milk shakes and pastrami sandwiches are favorites with local residents.
Obeid is a native of Yemen who came to the United States at age 14. He has lived in the Central Valley since moving to the states and went to Porterville High School. He spent the last 15 years working in Corcoran. He told Rotarians that he is a great example of what can be accomplished in America. Those who are willing to work can come from any background to achieve the American dream.
Obeid is a member of the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce and supports youth sports at local schools.
His favorite business in Corcoran is Cost Less Foods. He said they have just about everything a family needs in groceries at good prices--and the staff is very friendly.
Images/Radio Shack has joined the growing number of local firms to be spotlighted by the Corcoran Rotary Club's Business to Business program. Owner Debbie Kwast was on hand at last week's Rotary luncheon to make members of the organization familiar with her products.
The longtime Corcoran businesswoman originally opened as Images 35 years ago, providing photography services and video rentals and sales. Now an authorized Radio Shack franchise, the business is also a payment center for a huge list of customers, provides local Cricket phones and sales plans and offers such niche items as John Deere line of clothing and toys.
In addition to Radio Shack's signature electronics items, Kwast already expanded to offer Corcoran businesses and residents office supplies--including copy paper and a variety of ink cartridges--before Radio shack recently announced it was partnering with Office Maxx for the same purpose. Local residents can now check locally for a host of office items. While attending a recent Radio Shack conference, Kwast spoke about the Business to Business program, garbing interest of vendors from throughout the United States.
The Rotary District #5230 project, which is being highly promoted by the Corcoran Rotary, may well now be expanded to a wider audience. Her announcement also helped highlight Rotary.
"This is a great program," Kwast told Rotarians. "It's good for everyone: the businesses, the community and Rotary."
Images/Radio Shack is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and Kwast has served on the chamber's board of directors. Her company has sponsored several local sports teams and Kwast was a community leader for the Corcoran 4-H for over 20 years. She was involved in the Christmas Tree Park committee, Academic Boosters and Cotton Heirs. She and her husband, Terry, raised their three children in Corcoran.