Second Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Mike Mallory was driving to work when he noticed the for sale sign at the corner of South Main Street and Industrial Park Drive in front of the B.R. Funsten & Co. distribution center.
Mallory mentioned it to his wife Suzanne who happens to serve as Manteca’s municipal finance director.
She knew how devastating such news could be – B.R. Funsten & Co. is in the top 10 for sales tax generators for Manteca and provides 130 local jobs. Suzanne Mallory relayed the information to her boss, City Manager Steve Pinkerton, who in turn called on B.R. Funsten to see if there was anything they could do to help convince them not to leave Manteca.
To make a long story short, the for sale sign is down at B.R. Funsten and they’ve scratched plans to relocate to a new building in Stockton. Today at 11 a.m. city representatives are joining company officials to celebrate the groundbreaking for an 86,000-square-foot addition targeted for fast track completion to not only save 130 Manteca jobs but to relocate other distribution functions to the site.
“It’s great not having to move everything,” said Ron Helder, B.R. Funsten’s vice president for corporate strategy.
B.R. Funsten is a wholesale distributor of flooring products that relocated to Manteca’s former Dana Corp. distribution center in 1998 from the San Francisco Peninsula where they had been located since 1957.
The building – Manteca’s original large distribution complex– had been vacant for several years when Dana Corp. relocated after building larger facilities in Stockton adjacent to its operations that produced parts for the Toyota Tacoma truck that is assembled in Fremont at the NUMNI plant.
Helder credits Pinkerton for providing numbers that reflected the true cost of doing business in Manteca. Originally, an engineer the firm had secured said it would cost $1 million in fees to add 86,000 square feet to the existing 108,000-square-foot building. Pinkerton ran the basics of the project past Community Development Director Mark Nelson who computed the actual full cost of the fees as less than $400,000. They also determined there was adequate room for expansion on the eight acre site kitty corner from the Wal-Mart-Safeway shopping center. He also assured Pinkerton that staff could fast track the plans to allow Funsten to meet what was turning into a tight schedule they wanted to meet so they could shift two distribution operations – one in Fairfield and the other in Manteca – into one building to time with the expiration of a lease in Fairfield.
Helder ran the city’s figures past an architect and instead of costing less to building a new structure and move to Stockton, they are now staying put and expanding for less instead of building next to Lever Brothers in Stockton. The new addition will be 28 feet high instead of the 22-foot height of the existing structure. That allows for more storage on newer rack systems.
Helder noted Manteca is a great location for a distribution center thanks to its proximity to the Bay Area, Sacramento, and the ability to reach a large number of West Coast consumers within 12 hours by truck.
B.R. Funsten also owns and operates Tom Duffy Co. – another wholesale distributor of flooring products. Only that firm’s distribution operations will be consolidated with the Manteca location while sales offices will remain open elsewhere.
The move could add 15 to 25 jobs eventually to the Manteca payroll.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail email@example.com