Over the past decade, the businesses in Porterville and the surrounding areas have fluctuated. From new businesses coming in, to businesses relocating and unfortunately, in some cases closing, this decade has proven to be a busy one for local eateries and retail stores. Here’s a look at a few business stories that made headlines over the last ten years.
The decade kicked off with a relatively popular local eatery changing locations. Although they are no longer open, the move to Main Street in downtown Porterville was a historical moment for Hoagie’s Heroes. In a span of 31 years to the day, Steve and Joan Feleay opened and closed the doors to their original location on Olive Avenue, to set up shop on Main Street. The new Hoagies Heroes featured an espresso bar, outdoor seating and a slew of new menu options.
The Porterville Developmental Center (PDC) received a long awaited expansion, as it added 96 beds to the facility. Those who had the most needs on PDC grounds were offered new living quarters that included a single bedroom, polished hardwood floors and quarry-tiled bathrooms. In addition to the 96 bed expansion, PDC also received an Olympic-sized pool and a $6 million state-of-the-art gym. Buildings were also erected to ready the facility for an additional 190 beds.
Porterville Ford went under new ownership after Truman “Tex” Clevenger retired. Formerly known as Clevenger Ford, the car dealership was handed over to Ford, Lincoln-Mercury group and renamed to Porterville Ford Lincoln. The company officially took ownership of the business on August 1.
At the annual Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, Webb and Son was honored as the Small Business of the Year, and Fruit Growers Supply Company received the Large Business of the Year award.
Family HealthCare Network (FHCN) had big plans for 2011. It added a new pharmacy and 12 dental operatory units to its Porterville facility. The units were 4,000 square-feet and construction began on the units in February. FHCN also planned to add new facilities in Woodlake, Goshen and Farmersville.
Hoops Preschool was honored by the city as an Outstanding Business Honoree for 2011. The school was among the first local businesses to install solar panels on its roof, and debuted its first kindergarten class in the summer. The 7,500 square-foot preschool has five classrooms, 15 staff members and offers a faith-based curriculum that places an emphasis on social skills and academics.
Goodwill opened for business in August. The retail store and donation center made a home in the 6,000 square-foot building that used to house Susie’s Deals. The move to Porterville was part of the organization’s 2011-2013 strategic plan, which sought to expand into new markets across the Central Valley.
At the 2011 Chamber awards ceremony, Bob Ruffa Electric was honored as the Small Business of the Year, and Walmart Distribution Center was recognized as the Large Business of the Year.
The beginning of 2012 saw a hometown staple, Stafford’s Famous Chocolates, sold to a new owner. Marilyn Stafford, the previous chocolate shop owner for more than 20 years, said saying good-bye to her family business was going to be difficult. New owners, the Taylor family, took ownership of the business in early January, and remain as the current owners.
The Oak Pit, a landmark restaurant for Porterville, also went up for sale in 2012. After 30 years in business under the ownership of Tom and Rosemary Chester, the restaurant closed its doors in hopes that a prospective buyer would swoop up the steakhouse and its prime location on Main Street.
At the Chamber awards ceremony for the year, the award for Small Business of the Year went to Sutton’s Iris Gardens, while the Large Business of the Year award was handed to Sierra Forest Products.
At the beginning of 2013, Sierra View District Hospital (SVDH) saw a change in leadership. Donna Hefner, a then established employee with the hospital, was named as SVDH’s interim Chief Executive Officer. Hefner had worked for the hospital for more than 20 years before receiving the CEO title.
Auto sales revved up during the year, and Porterville dealers reported sales had dramatically increased from previous years. At Faggart Buick on south Main Street, car sales had increased by 25 percent from the previous year, and Porterville Ford reported a 30 percent increase. The most popular vehicles sold were the 2014 GMC Pickup, the GMC Terrain and smaller fuel efficient vehicles like the Ford Fiesta.
FHCN received a grant from the Health Resources Services Agency in the amount of $726,694 to be put towards building a new facility in Terra Bella. FHCN was one of 236 projects to receive the funding. The Terra Bella facility included six exam rooms and three dental operatories, and services include family medicine, adult and children’s dental, behavioral health, nutrition and health education. Construction on the facility began in mid-August and was completed by December.
The Chamber of Commerce awarded Setton Pistachio with the Large Business of the Year award, and gave Hoagie’s Heroes the Small Business of the Year award at the annual awards ceremony.
Terra Bella, Earlimart and Strathmore residents saw Dollar General’s pop up in town during 2014. Terra Bella started the Dollar General trend, with Earlimart following closely behind. Strathmore rounded off the trio of cities receiving a Dollar General as construction broke late in the year.
The Central California Family Crisis Center made a new home at its current location on Main Street. The location features a more user-friendly building, a welcoming environment, several offices, a classroom, an area for private counseling, and four cubicles to be used by four new case managers. The center also announced in 2014 it was the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Mary Kay Foundation that was put towards providing services to more than 400 clients seeking safety from abuse.
Instead of honoring a small business and a large business for the year, the Chamber of Commerce switched it up and handed out only one award for Business of the Year. The recipient of that award was Lindgren’s Jewelry.
PDC was the recipient of millions of dollars in 2014, as California Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 budget proposed $18.1 million for the expansion of the Porterville Developmental Center (PDC). The budget proposed $27 million from the general fund to increase the Porterville Secure Treatment Program by 32 beds by the end of 2015. The new beds were needed to accommodate the increasing number of clients looking to be restored to competency in order to stand trial in court.
The Success Lake Marina reopened to the public and brought with it exciting new options for the public to enjoy. The marina offered seven pontoon boats and seven kayaks that could be rented for the day.
Walmart Distribution Center was named Employer of the Year by the California Disability Services Association, for partnering with Promoting Self Worth in order to employ those who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. Walmart Distribution Center was chosen out of 27 businesses statewide for the award.
RM Parks Inc. received the honor of Business of the Year during the 2015 Chamber of Commerce award ceremony.
Billiou’s, an outdoor equipment store, celebrated 70 years of business in 2016. As America was still emerging from World War II, Lawrence and Jean Billou opened the store with just $600 in capital.
Billou’s wasn’t the only store celebrating a milestone anniversary during the year. David Horowitz Jewelers hit the big 25. When the store opened, it featured a window area that functioned as a space for people to look in and watch Horowitz at work. What began as a trade shop run out of his garage, evolved into something David Horowitz remains proud of.
Three businesses were named Outstanding Business Honorees by the city. OACYS Technology, Eagle Mountain Casino and Town and Country Market were all bestowed with the prestigious glass trophy, marking their spot as a Outstanding Business in the city.
Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC), previously known as Sierra View District Hospital, earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval Hospital Accreditation, after undergoing an extensive survey. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. Surveyors also conducted on-site observations and interviews, even doing what’s called “tracers” where they go through patient charts to see if care was provided effectively and safely.
GreenPower Motor Company confirmed its move to the city, announcing its plans to build a 138,000 square-foot factory to assemble large, electric-powered buses. The company brought with it employment opportunities for as many as 1,000 people. GreenPower moved into town in September after securing a 9.3 acre lot at the Porterville Municipal Airport.
The Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony reverted back to handing out two business awards for the year: Small Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year. The award for Small Business of the Year was given to The Flower Mill, while Bank of the Sierra secured the Large Business of the Year award.
Porterville became the home of a brand new teppanyaki and sushi bar in the early part of 2017. Nanlangka made its way into the city at a prime location on Main Street in March, and quickly became a popular destination for those looking to eat out.
A much needed mental health facility also came to fruition in the early part of 2017, as Porterville Wellness Center opened its doors on Henderson Avenue. The facility was the first mental health facility to open for business in the city in over a decade.
San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) established itself in the community with a ribbon cutting in September. Porterville welcomed the 15th SJVC campus site which is located on Main Street near City Hall. The 7,320 square-foot campus includes a reception area, administration offices, classrooms, a medical lab, break room, student lounge, library/resource center and ample parking. The campus began by offering three programs, which were clinical medical assisting, medical office administration and business administration.
S.T.O.P. Alarm and Promoting Self Worth were recognized as Outstanding Business Honorees, while Townsend Architectural Group and SVMC walked away with the Chamber of Commerce’s awards for Small and Large Business of the Year, respectively.
Lindsay became the host for a new sushi restaurant. Oh! Sushi was approved by the Lindsay City Council in March. The sushi bar offers lunch and dinner as well as karaoke. Oh! Sushi took the building where Straw Hat Pizza once was in the Olivewood Plaza shopping center.
Bank of the Sierra revealed the playground it had donated to the Porterville Sports Complex in the first few days of February. The three-story play structure stands as a symbol to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the bank. The playground can hold up to 167 children and is equipped with four slides, log steps, rock steppers and three log benches.
Aldi’s excited the Porterville community with its grand opening in December. Even though the weather was rainy and cold, long lines of people gathered at the grand opening on December 7 in order to be one of the first shoppers to check out at the grocery store’s registers.
The 2018 Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony featured Hergesheimer’s Donut Factory as the Small Business of the Year, and Porterville Sheltered Workshop as the Large Business of the Year.
Even though Walmart pulled the contract for the Super Walmart in 2019, several other major brand name businesses opened their doors to the public. The most notable include The Habit, Chipotle and Blaze Pizza. The three restaurants finally made their way to the corner of Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street, formerly known as Ginger’s Corner. Fugazzi’s also made their way into the city, and plans to open its doors within the next two weeks.
Huge advancements were made in the Eagle Mountain Casino relocation project process after the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave the thumbs up to the project. When construction begins at the new location, it’s estimated more than 1,100 construction jobs will be created and 1,000 new permanent jobs will be up for grabs.
The first CBD store in all of Tulare County opened in Porterville in September. Central Valley Pure CBD is the only store in the county where consumers can purchase pure CBD products. A focus of Central Valley Pure CBD is to educate the public, especially CBD consumers. The products displayed in the store range from everything between tattoo cream to dog treats, and every single item contains CBD in different doses. There’s massage lotions, pain relief creams, gummy treats, honey sticks, tinctures, and more. Central Valley Pure CBD is also its own brand.
The Porterville City Council approved permits for two recreational cannabis retail sites and one permit for a medical cannibas retail site.
Sears closed its doors at its Jaye Street location but the building was quickly filled when Harbor Freight announced it would move into the location and is scheduled to open in the spring. Another new retail business, Bed, Bath and Beyond is also scheduled to open in February in Porterville Marketplace which includes Target and Kohl’s
Young’s Commercial Trucking was recognized at the 30th annual California Family Business Awards ceremony, where it received the 2019 Distinguished Family Business Award. Young’s was one of nine family businesses chosen to be celebrated at the annual event held in Fresno. Young’s employs roughly 100 full-time support staff members, along with 150 to 300 drivers, depending on the season.