Starts and Stops

San Joaquin has seen its share of change

Back Web Only Jun 25, 2014 By Christine Calvin

It was in 1989 that the San Joaquin Business Council formed to envision and outline an economic development and prosperity plan for its county. Called Vision 2000, the strategic plan and its backers, including the newly created San Joaquin Partnership, sought to add tens of thousands of jobs to the region by removing barriers to business development and promoting the relocation of companies to San Joaquin.

The timing was a challenge. The recession of 1991-1992 introduced lasting setbacks, though there were some early successes. In 1992, Dana Corp. moved its truck-frame manufacturing plant to Stockton, and in 1994, Iris USA Inc. selected San Joaquin County as the best location from which to produce its plastic storage containers. The successes continued in 1996 when Aisin Electronics Inc. opened a Stockton facility to supply electronic components to the New United Motor Manufacturing plant in Fremont.

By 2000, the partnership had worked with nearly 1,000 companies seeking new site locations.

It was in 1989 that the San Joaquin Business Council formed to envision and outline an economic development and prosperity plan for its county. Called Vision 2000, the strategic plan and its backers, including the newly created San Joaquin Partnership, sought to add tens of thousands of jobs to the region by removing barriers to business development and promoting the relocation of companies to San Joaquin.

The timing was a challenge. The recession of 1991-1992 introduced lasting setbacks, though there were some early successes. In 1992, Dana Corp. moved its truck-frame manufacturing plant to Stockton, and in 1994, Iris USA Inc. selected San Joaquin County as the best location from which to produce its plastic storage containers. The successes continued in 1996 when Aisin Electronics Inc. opened a Stockton facility to supply electronic components to the New United Motor Manufacturing plant in Fremont.

By 2000, the partnership had worked with nearly 1,000 companies seeking new site locations.

“The housing bubble here is actually more of a soufflé that’s out of the oven and gently settling. We’ve hit the peak in terms of inventory level, but the long-term prognosis for Sacramento and the Central Valley in particular is good.” — Sean Snaith, consultant to the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific and director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida (Feb. 2007)

Months later, the economy collapsed, and much of the progress San Joaquin County had worked to build came tumbling down.

The closing of the NUMMI plant in April 2009 “delivered another blow to the economy of the northern San Joaquin Valley, where unemployment rates have already topped 18 percent,” wrote Adam Weintraub in our June 2010 issue. “Some 900 of the plant’s nearly 5,000 workers commuted each day from Stockton and the surrounding county, and officials estimate that job losses from major suppliers will bring the total to about 3,000.”

While Stockton was imploding, the work of the San Joaquin Partnership was paying dividends in the county’s southern hemisphere. Bay Area workers began turning their attention to Tracy, Lathrop and Patterson, which could offer affordable housing, and corporations in need of logistics centers began to see its appeal in the midst of “swelling activity at the Port of Oakland, mounting highway congestion and stricter regulations for long-haul trucking,” reported Matt Perry in February of 2011.

Since 2005, Sears, Crate and Barrel, Home Depot and General Mills established logistics centers in south San Joaquin in an effort to move closer to the Bay Area and within reasonable proximity to Southern California and the Pacific Northwest markets. Affinia Group Inc. opened a new distribution facility in Patterson in 2011, and hardware supply company W.W. Grainger Inc. added 828,000 square feet to Patterson as well. With all the industrial growth taking place and expected, 11,000 new homes are targeted for construction in the south county over the next four years.

Most recently, Mike Amman, president and CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership, announced the launch of the Entrepreneurial Drive campaign. As part of the partnership’s Greater Silicon Valley effort, the campaign is designed to attract and support business activity by providing incubation space for technology and social media startups.

The Greater Silicon Valley brand opened an office in Santa Clara last summer and printed a large supplement in the Silicon Valley Business Journal promoting the business amenities, available real estate and quality of life in San Joaquin. In April, Tesla Motors announced it would open a facility in Lathrop.

Challenges remain for Stockton and its neighboring cities, but under all the news stories about foreclosure rates and crime lie some positive achievements that have together established a solid foundation for San Joaquin’s future. And there’s more to come. In November, Comstock’s will be focusing on more challenged and changes in San Joaquin county. Stay tuned.

Post new comment

73044560703239 » If you have a visual disability, please type the numbers two one three three into the box. Your submission will be promptly reviewed by a validation service and sent to the site administrators.
By proving you are not a machine, you help us prevent spam and keep the site secure.