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Tulare Backs Funds For Juice Maker

Tulare airport area on the east side of 99 has little sewer capacity

Its a pretty smooth deal for both a juice maker and the city Tulare as the city council voted this week to help bring a new company to town.

The Etchegaray family of Visalia own Sunmet Juice of Kern County -maker fruit pulp purees – used in smoothies- for food processors to add as ingredients.The company is in escrow to buy the 58,000 sf, 12.7 acre – former Structures Plus property near the Tulare airport.

The juice maker is requesting the city‘s help to bring in sewer capacity  to the Tulare airport area needed to process their product. Tulare has plenty of sewer capacity for food companies but it is not available currently near the Tulare airport on the east side of Hwy 99.

That’s where the city’s annul CDBG funding comes in.The city council voted this week 4 to 1 to use its federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that totaling $400,000 to assist with the location of this juice manufacturing company in the existing facility at 19860 South Highway 99.

In Tulare where milk is the major industry this wood be the second juice maker to open in town in the past year.

Etchegaray Farms, LLC started in the livestock business in the early 1960’s. In the most recent years, the Company has moved to become vertically integrated through processing, packaging and storage operations.

Since 2008, Etchegaray Farms, LLC has had an existing juice manufacturing facility in Kern County ( Sunmet) which takes raw product (fruit or vegetable) and processes into purees, concentrates or NFC juice for the beverage industry. Sunmet Packing is a major player in both the stone fruit and pomegranate  industry.

Their products are sold as an industrial ingredient to major companies in the US and abroad. Now Etchegaray Farms wants to relocate and expand its operation in Tulare.

A Tulare city report suggests the juice company would generate about 27 direct jobs.

“Company representatives provided data to show the company typically spends approximately $1mil on an annual basis on new or used equipment. This new facility will require the purchase of new equipment, which the company will declare the City of Tulare the point of sale for purchases when possible. Assuming the Juice Company expends $1mil on equipment, it will add $10,500 to City revenue.”

Added to the benefits of job creation to the community, the juice manufacturer will utilize local service providers to assist in their manufacturing process. In 2012, the company expended over $2.6mil in “major cost items” consisting of trucking, cold storage services, packing, sanitation and chemicals, equipment (service & parts), repairs/maintenance, electrical (service & parts) and forklifts. Again, to calculate the potential benefit to our existing local vendors, an analysis of the 2012 juice manufacturing company’s key vendor list and expenditures was performed. Out of the top 25 sales tax generating businesses for Tulare, it was deduced at least 15 of those extending vendors will have the potential to supply a service or product to the juice company, which will in turn increase the overall sales tax to the City says the city report.

Company representatives provided data to show the company typically spends approximately $1mil on an annual basis on new or used equipment. This new facility will require the purchase of new equipment, which the company will declare the City of Tulare the point of sale for purchases when possible. Assuming the Juice Company expends $1mil on equipment, it will add $10,500 to City revenue.

New Life For South Tulare

The staff report adds that “the proposed juice manufacturer will inject life into the southern-most portion of Tulare’s industrial lands. The infrastructure upgrades will open up the entire area for potential development including the city owned airport property the city is marketing for lease.”

The company proposes to hook up to the City’s water well located at the airport. These fees will generate additional income to the City.

The addition of a juice manufacturing company to the City of Tulare will expand the diversification of the City’s industrial base. The idea behind industrial diversification is to increase the stability of the City by making it possible to enjoy revenue from more than one source. With a diversified industrial base, the City stands a better chance of surviving if a slump in demand for dairy-related products occurs.

In order for the facility to meet the needs of the juice manufacturing company, the City industrial sewer line will need to be extended from at or about the South Tulare sewer line along Avenue 196 at the existing stub on the east side of highway 99 northerly up to the facility at Hosfield Road. The City engineers estimate to extend that line was $662,000. A private engineering estimate was obtained by the current property owner, which came in at $440,924.

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