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Why local businesses are important
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In past blogs I have shared how important it is for the Alliance to support local companies. Eighty to 90 percent of all new jobs will be created by companies that are already here. In order to serve our local companies better, we are partnering with local Chambers of Commerce, elected officials, city staff and other stakeholders to do an intensive business visitation program to learn more about your business, understand the issues you face, help address and resolve those issues and gather aggregate data to share with service providers and elected officials so that we know how to make Stanislaus County the most business friendly county in the state.

Just this week I had the opportunity to visit Felix and Socorro De La Torre, owners of Bonanza Tortillas in Modesto. I was accompanied by Modesto City Councilman Tony Madrigal. In fact, it was Tony who introduced me to the De La Torres. Felix and Socorro brought their business to Modesto from San Jose in 2000 due to the high cost of doing business in San Jose. They manufacture high-quality tortillas and chips for Mexican restaurants and markets throughout the region. They make all kinds of tortillas and chips. Currently, they have 10 employees and are projecting growth in the future. The company is very scalable, meaning that they have the ability to grow to accommodate new customers and new markets.

When I started asking them the questions in the survey, it became clear to me that here we have this little gem of a company within a stone's throw of downtown Modesto that didn't know anything about the services the Alliance can offer to them free of charge. We were able to discuss our Small Business Development Center and how we can send consultants to teach them how to build their customer base. We discussed Alliance Worknet and how our staff can help them screen job applicants and provide job training to their employees.

If we do our job well, it is conceivable that bonanza will grow, and more Stanislaus County residents will find a job. There are hundreds of companies throughout Stanislaus County just like Bonanza that are producing great products and need our help - our collective help. If you are such a company or know of such companies, please let me know. We will send a staff member to do a survey. And if you want some great locally made tortillas and chips, I would strongly suggest that you call the De La Torres. You can reach Felix at 505-3123.