Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Solano County's chambers of commerce honors local firms

Times-Herald staff report
Posted: 12/12/2012 01:00:47 AM PST

Krissy and Richard Hitewshew of Vallejo's A-1 Guaranteed Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. were among nine Solano County businesses honored at the recent 17th annual Spirit of Solano luncheon. The firm was chosen for the award by the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce.
Selected by the various Solano County Chambers of Commerce for their outstanding spirit and community support, this year's recipients included Dennie Geltzs and Frances Hurley of Printer Concepts Technology of Benicia and Vacaville's Gary Passama of NorthBay Healthcare, selected by their cities' chambers.
The Dixon chamber selected Dorothy Luedke and Cher Besneatte of Curves of Dixon, while the Fairfield-Suisun chamber chose Pat Holzwarth of Delta Graphics and Sohail Tabar, of Ford Lincoln Fairfield.
Omar Enrique Martinez Zerbato of Martinez Multi Services, received the Filipino-American chamber's nod, while the Hispanic chamber chose Marisela Barbosa of Monarch Engineers and K. Patrice Williams of 123 Target Marketing, was the Solano Black Chamber's choice.
The Spirit of Solano is hosted by Westamerica Bank and the Solano Economic Development Corporation. Last week's awards program in Fairfield was designed to recognize the role chambers of commerce play in economic development and honor those businesses that take an active part in improving the communities they serve.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vacaville officials urge shoppers to spend money at local businesses

By Kimberly K. Fu/
Posted: 12/09/2012 01:03:22 AM PST

Shop local and support your community.
That is the message Vacaville leaders are passing on, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong, thriving local economy.
"Shopping locally not only supports the city in terms of sales tax revenues, but it also supports our entire city in that ... (dollars spent) on local businesses creates jobs, which, in turn, creates more spending," explained Mark Mazzaferro, spokesman for the city of Vacaville and its economic development representative. "Pretty soon, it's a nice network of support."
Bob Vollmer, head of the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District, agreed. Shopping locally means keeping tax revenues at home, he said, which keeps the economy going, local businesses in business and so on.
The DVBID executive director quoted an E Magazine article by Tim Mitchell to illustrate the phenomenon:
"A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community," Mitchell wrote. "Spend $1 at a national chain store, and 80 percent of it leaves town immediately."
Vollmer said revenues from shopping locally have helped to keep the downtown area vibrant.
"Over the last three years, we've sustained a 9 percent increase in sales tax revenue," he said. "Our vacancy rate downtown ... is 1 percent, which is great."
That, he pointed out, is what can be accomplished by shopping locally in an economic downturn.
On a regional scale, shopping close to home is integral to a community more than ever with the loss of redevelopment funding, impacts from state and federal budget cuts and more, advised Sandy Person with the Solano Economic Development Corporation. The trickle-down effect of local spending not only keeps businesses going, she said, but it also pays for things like public safety services and other resources a community needs.
It's a good sign that retail businesses have not dropped off in Solano County, she continued, and that auto sales are returning after scant sales numbers a few years back.
But does Vacaville have everything its residents need? And is shopping locally cost-effective?
Mazzaferro said the city strives to encourage a diverse array of businesses to come to Vacaville and will continue to do so. Right now, there's a little bit of everything -- from hotels to retail, restaurants to auto. As for cost, he believes shopping near home is somewhat of a bargain. Consider the money saved from gas not spent to travel elsewhere, and time saved, too, he said.
As for Vollmer, he thinks Vacaville, especially the downtown area, is rich in what it provides to the community.
"We have 25 restaurants in downtown Vacaville and all the entertainment you want," he said, ticking off live music, seasonal events like the Halloween Stroll and the farmers market, and more.
The longtime Vacaville resident added that he'd love to help welcome more new businesses to the downtown area and wishes it could somehow grow to accommodate anyone who wants to open there.
"Come down here," he urged. "There's always something going on."
Follow Staff Writer Kimberly K. Fu at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Solano County firms receive the 'Spirit of Solano' award

Posted: 12/07/2012 01:10:21 AM PST

'Tis the season to give back to the community. For several local businesses, helping others is their motivation all year long.
Amid cheers, laughter and applause, nine businesses were acknowledged Thursday for their years of contributions during the 17th annual Spirit of Solano award luncheon.
The award recognizes local chambers of commerce and honors businesses that embody the entrepreneurial spirit of the region and who take an active role to improve the communities they serve.
From the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, NorthBay Healthcare received one of the Spirit of Solano awards.
Giving back to the community goes back more than 50 years, when a group of local physicians created NorthBay, its mission of compassionate care, advanced medicine means no one is turned away, even for the most expensive, most sophisticated treatment.
Vacaville Councilwoman Dilenna Harris vouched for NorthBay's care as a mother delivering a premature baby. She said the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital saved her daughter, who just recently gave birth to her own child.
"NorthBay, you are awesome," Harris said.
NorthBay Healthcare President and CEO Gary Passama received the award.
"NorthBay believes that to have a healthy community, it must have a thriving business sector," he said and thanked the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce for the acknowledgment.
Not accustomed to being publicly recognized for their behind the scenes efforts, Richard and Krissy Hiteshew, owners of A-1 Guaranteed Heating and Air Conditioning, humbly accepted their award.
The company in business since 1996 was chosen by the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce.
"We don't do it for the recognition," Krissy Hiteshew said. "It's kind of awkward for us to be up here, but we're very appreciative.
"We grew up in Vallejo so it's our turn to give back to Vallejo. We couldn't be here without the help of others."
Hiteshew said they run their business on doing the right thing even when no one is looking and thanked their co-workers for the success.
Additional Spirit of Solano award winners are:
Dixon Chamber of Commerce: Curves of Dixon, Dorothy Luedke and Cher Besneatte.
Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce: Ford Lincoln Fairfield, Sohail Tabar; Delta Graphics, Pat Holzwarth.
Benicia Chamber of Commerce: Printer Concepts Technology, Frances Hurley and Dennie Geltz.
Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce: 123 Target Marketing, K. Patrice Williams.
Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Monarch Engineers, Marisela Barbosa.
Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County: Martinez Multi-Services, Omar Enrique Martinez Zerbato.
Follow Staff Writer Melissa Murphy at

Spirit of Solano honors county businesses

FAIRFIELD — Ford Lincoln Fairfield, Delta Graphics and NorthBay Heathcare were among those honored Thursday at the 17th annual Spirit of Solano ceremony.

Local chambers of commerce chose the honorees. The awards were handed out at the Hilton Garden Inn at a luncheon sponsored by Westamerica Bank and the Solano Economic Development Corp.
“What better way to show a united economic front than being here to cheer on our champions?”

Solano EDC President Sandy Person told the crowd of about 200 people.

Westamerica Bank Chief Executive Officer David Payne described the criteria for naming businesses as Spirit of Solano winners. Among them are outstanding customer service, adaptability, profitability and contributions to the community.

The Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce named both a large and a small business of the year. Chamber Executive Board Chairwoman Sue Vaccaro thanked Spirit of Solano organizers for allowing the group to go against the norm and have two winners for this time only.

Price Simms Dealergroup opened Ford Lincoln Fairfield in 2010, helping to revive an auto mall battered by the recession. The dealership provides about 100 jobs. Its community contributions include working with the Tomato Festival, local schools, Toys for Tots and The Leaven.

“It is truly one of our guiding principles to give to our local community,” General Sales Manager Sohail Tabar said. “I want everyone to understand, this is only the beginning for Ford Lincoln Fairfield.”

Delta Graphics won as the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce’s small business of the year. Vaccaro called it a “mom and pop” business with two employees.

The business opened in 1995 in Fairfield. Pat Holzwarth became a partner in 1995 and she and her husband Ken became the sole owners in 1997. They have been active chamber members, with Holzwarth serving as a chamber ambassador.

“I hope all of you will remember to support your local economy – the small businesses,” Holzwarth said.

The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce named NorthBay Healthcare as its business of the year. NorthBay Healthcare operates VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville and NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield.

Vacaville City Councilwoman Dilenna Harris introduced the award. She talked about NorthBay Healthcare’s local roots, given that a local group of physicians founded it about 50 years ago. She described how it has over time added such features as neonatal care and a cancer center.

“When our community grew, NorthBay was very aware of the needs and the advanced treatments that would be needed,” Harris said.

Though it has grown to have 1,800 employees, NorthBay remains connected to the community, she said.

NorthBay Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Gary Passama said the medical group believes having a healthy community also means having a strong and vibrant business sector.

The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce presented its award to Richard and Krissy Hiteshew of A-1 Guaranteed Heating and Air Conditioning; the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce to K. Patrice Williams of 123 Target Marketing of Vallejo; the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Marisela Barbosa of Monarch Engineers in Vallejo; the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Solano County to Omar Enrique Martinez Zerbato of Martinez Multi-Services in Vallejo; the Dixon Chamber of Commerce to Dorothy Luedke and Cher Besneatte of Curves of Dixon; and the Benicia Chamber of Commerce to Frances Hurley and Dennie Geltz of Printer Concepts Technology.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or Follow him on Twitter at