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Manteca: Central to it all
Visitors center banks on location, attractions to strengthen economy
Manteca Big League Dreams General Manager Roy Fetherolf inside one of two Stadium Club restaurants at the city-owned complex. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: Manteca Visitors Center
• WHERE: In The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley near the fountain in the middle of the roundabout
• HOURS: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• MORE INFO: Go to or call 823-7229

The biggest three things Manteca has working for it?

Try location, location, location.

It’s a maxim that applies to real estate. Destination gurus such as Bill Guest contend location doesn’t mean much when it comes to attracting visitors willing to stay awhile in a community and spend money.

But in Manteca’s case, simply offering family-orientated entertainment and meeting facilities has brought people mainly because there are locations and then there are locations.

In Manteca’s case it is being smack dab at the midway point of the San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento triangle, at the center of the third largest 100-mile radius market in the United States with 17 million consumers, and being at the heart of a smaller circle of Modesto, Stockton, and Tracy. It also doesn’t hurt that Manteca is on the way to Yosemite National Park and is located off of California’s two most important north-state freeways.

That location is what brought 85 Sears service trucks to Manteca recently for a company training session.

“They (Sears) picked Manteca because it was central to everywhere,” noted Manteca Visitors Center marketing representative Suzanne Clemens.

And it is the exactly why the center is aggressively marketing Manteca to foreign and domestic tourists as the place to establish a base to take in the various sights of Northern California.

“They can stay here in less expensive and safer accommodations and take (day trips),” said Manteca Visitors Center Chief Executive officer Juliene Flanders.

The center is making a big push to market Manteca as the ideal base to see Northern California with San Francisco, Yosemite, San Jose, Sacramento, the Gold Country and Napa-Sonoma wine country being easy day excursions. Its marketing materials also touch on local attractions such as the Delta, Delicato Vineyards, Big League Dreams, Bass Pro Shops, and the murals.

Flanders noted that the organization has aggressively courted visitors who have already decided to come to Manteca in a bid to get them to extend their stay or else try other attractions on their trip or during a return visit.

During the busiest days of the holiday season, Bass Pro Shops invited the visitors center to distribute information on Manteca attractions in their lobby. They have also gone to the Hampton Inn when it is booked solid for various activities such as soccer tournaments to distribute information and coupons about Manteca businesses.

They also have done similar efforts with Big league Dreams. Between Bass Pro Shops, Big League Dreams and soccer tournaments Manteca attracts more than 4 million visitors a year.

Manteca’s location has played heavily into making the Manteca BLD complex one of the top performers in that organization. It is reflected in the fact regular weeknight softball play includes teams that have members from the Sacramento and Bay Area as well as the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Clemens noted it was Manteca’s central location on the way to popular destinations that kept Oakwood Lake Resort jumping for almost 30 years before the Browns opted to retire. The 300 spaces at the RV campground were filled with people from various parts of the north state who wanted to gather in one location. The resort’s four community rooms were always in use for such gatherings of family or friends.

Manteca’s status of being within 100 miles of 17 million consumers is what prompted Bass Pro Shops to locate here. It is also what is driving Poag & McEwen’s decision to change direction and develop the lifestyle center where Bass Pro Shops is located at in Orchard Valley into an upscale outlet mall.

Craig Realty - a manager and owner of premium outlet store centers - has indicated they expect more stores to locate in the Manteca complex as the economy improves.

The only two markets with more than 17 million consumers within a 100-mile radius in the United States are Long Island and Los Angeles.

“Crossroads of California is a real good saying for Manteca,” noted Flanders. “Manteca is definitely at the crossroads.”