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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

‘Doubling our size & staying in Manteca’

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

B.F. Funsten & Co. management unveils a sign at the firm's distribution center at South Main Street and Industrial Park Drive Wednesday that announced they're staying in Manteca and expanding.

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED July 1, 2009 3:44 a.m.
Jim Funsten is impressed.

The owner of the firm that carries his name as a wholesale distributor of flooring products likes the “can do” attitude” of Manteca’s city government.

B.F. Funsten was preparing to close up shop in Manteca and move to bigger quarters in Stockton. Now – thanks to an intervention from City Manager Steve Pinkerton that helped clarify erroneous fee information coupled with a fast track commitment to get an addition done - B.F. Funsten is not only staying in Manteca but expanding.

Ground breaking ceremonies Wednesday included the unveiling of a sign reading “Doubling our size and staying in Manteca” that replaced a previous one that announced the firm was moving to an expansion site.

Funsten was not only impressed with “the team work” between the City of Manteca and his firm but he added, “I have never seen it work so well.”

Funsten’s lease for another distribution they operate under the Tom C. Duffy name was nearing the end of its lease in Fairfield. They had – after being told by a private sector engineer that Manteca’s fees were going to be in excess of $1 million for what they needed – had located a site in Stockton and were preparing to buy the building when city leaders noticed the for sale sign in front of their 108,000-square-foot Manteca location at South Main Street and Industrial Park Drive.

Not only did Pinkerton provide the correct fee information – it will end up being less than $400,000 – but he also got a firm commitment from key city departments to make sure the 86,000-square-foot addition to the warehouse and 6,500-square-foot addition to the office will be able to be completed by  Dec. 1.

Community Development Director Mark Nelson said the approval process is being squeezed into four months instead of the usual 18 months. He brought key people together in all city deparments in connection with the project to make sure everything from environmental impact reports to plan checks got top priority. Approval of the foundation plans is expected in the coming weeks.

Funsten opted to stay as the $600,000-plus difference in fees and the ability to consolidated operations on a tight time frame made economical sense.

It means 130 Manteca jobs won’t be lost nor will a large source of municipal sales tax.

“We have a phenomenal employee base here in Manteca,” said Curt N. Thompson, president and chief operating officer for B.R. Funsten & Co. “Being able to stay in Manteca is great.”

Thompson praised Manteca’s location that gives distribution centers a logistic advantage. Not only is the city on the six-mile Highway 120 Bypass that connects with California’s so-called “Main Street” Highway 99 and the key north-south West Coast route in Interstate 5 but it also connects with direct freeway access to the Bay Area. Two major intermodal stations – Union Pacific next door in Lathrop and Santa Fe Railroad nine miles to the north are near Manteca as well. Although it isn’t a need for Funsten, there is also the Port of Stockton and Stockton Metro Airport for freight service within nine miles as well.

“Manteca is great for logistics,” Thompson said.

Mayor Willie Weatherford heaped praise on the firm for being a strong employer and deciding to stay in Manteca.
The mayor noted California must rethink all of its fees placed on business to charge only the ones that are absolutely necessary for basic services. He called such a move “good government.”

“Good government is common sense,” Weatherford said, adding that the private sector is what drives a community’s economy and creates jobs and not government.
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