Recognizing the contributions of Valley small businesses as job creators, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, today honored several local businesses for their contributions to the community's economy. Today at the Tulare Chamber of Commerce, she also met with the business owners for a roundtable discussion about the regulatory challenges they face.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. These businesses are what have made America great. I deeply appreciate their commitment to our community during these uncertain economic times," said Conway. "As policy makers, it is critical that we meet with the California businesses who are on the front lines of our state's fight to create new jobs. I want to hear their ideas about what we can do to improve our business climate and get California working again."
According to most recent information available by the Small Business Administration, California has 3.4 million small businesses. In 2009, small businesses accounted for 99.2% of the state's employers.
The businesses Assemblywoman Conway honored today include:
Sissy's BBQ & More (Tulare): Sissy's BBQ & More is owned by Debbie Warkentin. The restaurant has been in business for two years and has been successful, thanks to assistance from the Tulare Chamber of Commerce. Warkentin would like to hire employees, but says that the requirements of the state are too burdensome.
Green Tree International Inc. (Visalia): Green Tree International is owned by Tony Taviano. The company markets, brokers and distributes domestic and imported fresh fruit. Green Tree relies on ground transport to move produce to market and overseas shipping ports. California's law requiring the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, AB 32, and other transportation regulations weigh heavily on the industry.
Virginia's Hair Studio (Lindsay): Virginia's Hair Studio is a beauty salon owned by Virginia Loya, who also serves as the executive director of the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce. Loya knows first-hand how policy, regulation and new legislation impacts the ability of small business owners to stay in operation and/or expand.
Rising Sun Company (Exeter): Rising Sun Company is a general engineering construction firm founded in 1983 by Bill and Marlene Sario. The company has built structures across California and specializes in structural concrete projects, ranging from underground water systems to tilt-up building construction.
Cellar Door (Visalia): Dan Littleton operates the Cellar Door, which is one of the most popular tasting rooms and music venues in Tulare County. As a result of operating such a unique business, Littleton regularly works with several different regulatory agencies to comply with a myriad of different complex regulations.
Wireless Internet Services Inc. (Visalia): Greg Pierro founded the company in 1997 to provide wireless internet to rural customers. He has installed systems around the United States, and one in Warsaw, Poland, for GlobalOne. The family-owned and operated business is expanding.
Waterman Associates (Exeter): Waterman Associates is a real estate appraisal company owned by Mary and Darrell Waterman. They have seen the boom, bust and partial recovery of the housing market, as well as the rise and fall of the affiliated industries and its effect on the economy.
Bella Notte (Tulare): Business partners Larry Van Ness and Scott Wilson recently overcame multiple regulatory obstacles with various state agencies to open Bella Notte, an Italian restaurant in downtown Tulare. They sought help from state legislative offices and the local chamber to sort through regulatory issues.
ITC (Porterville): Stephanie Cortez owns ITC, which is an electronics integration service company, helping customers set up technology systems such as phones, home theaters, security cameras and computer networks. With more than 15 years of experience, ITC has built a solid reputation helping customers meet their technology needs.
C.J. Hammer Pump and Machinery Co. (Visalia) and Sierra Vista Pharmacy (Farmersville): Both businesses are owned by Kenny Womack, who also farms 105 acres of kiwi. C.J. Hammer Pump has proudly served the area since 1914 and is the oldest active company in Visalia.
Under Conway's leadership, Assembly Republicans created a website called "California Fact Check," which provides comprehensive information about the policies shaping our state. For more information about hurdles to job creation, visit www.CaliforniaFactCheck.com.