One of the top sales tax revenue generating businesses in Clovis, Anlin Window Systems, has experienced a recent surge in success, steadily growing over the last four years in both revenue and number of employees. With that increase in business, however, Anlin is in desperate need of more space as it continues to expand.
Having established roots in Clovis over the last 20 years, owner and co-founder Eric Vidmar said it is his desire to stay in Clovis, but until three weeks ago that goal seemed impossible. For the past two years, he has been searching for the right location to relocate in Clovis and has come up empty handed. Instead, the company has considered relocating to nearby Madera or to another state, namely Nevada or Arizona, where the cost of doing business is significantly lower.
On the heels of a trip to Arizona, scheduled for next week, Vidmar said the owners of the builder’s concrete site next door to Anlin on Fowler and Tollhouse Road have finally agreed to sell their 5-acre parcel to Anlin, albeit at double the price tag.
In order to help offset the expense required to purchase the builder’s concrete property, demolish the unsightly concrete slab on the site, and make necessary improvements, the city has signed a sales tax agreement with Anlin which will allow the company to recapture a portion of its growth in sales tax over the next several years to put back into the business.
“The city would rebate back to Anlin 50 percent of the growth in sales tax beyond the 2016-2017 fiscal year, up to about $500,000 or over a 10-year period, whichever comes first,” Andy Haussler, the city’s community and economic developer explained. “For that, Anlin agrees to purchase the adjacent concrete parcel, demolish the structure on site and go forth with an expansion effort. According to the growth projections Anlin provided, the city would reach the $500,000 in rebates around Year 7.”
The agreement is a win-win, Vidmar said, because the city only pays if Anlin is indeed successful and if it continues to do well as projected, the city will benefit from increased sales tax revenue in the future, more jobs, and the current eyesore along Tollhouse Road would be repaired by Anlin, which plans to update the frontage along the road to streamline it with its current facility.
“The thing I like about this proposal is, and this is what I love about Clovis, it is very smart,” Vidmar said. “This proposal is built on growth, nothing else. We stress our business on the financials and worse case scenarios to determine what our business can withstand and what it cannot withstand and in this case, let’s run the worst-case scenario: Anlin spends a ton of money purchasing the property, then Anlin spends a ton of money–$500,000 to be exact–to demo the place and Anlin spends the money on the frontage improvements along Tollhouse, but then Anlin fails to meet its objectives in our forecast. In that scenario, the city is out zero. The only thing the city contributes is if we meet our projections over the next five years, which is the best case because then you not only end up with a much higher tax revenue, but we would obviously have employed a lot more people, so I personally view it as a win-win.”
“We don’t like to ask for help,” Vidmar continued. “We’re a proud family, but we are also proud to be part of Clovis and we represent what you and a local business in partnership should be like. This is our home. Clovis is a way of life.”
Though the agreement is a step in the right direction, Vidmar did say that snags with the property due to its age, such as asbestos issues, could nix the deal with builder’s concrete, but he and his staff are praying that the property is in the clear so Anlin does not need to consider other options that would take the company out of Clovis.
“It’s my duty as an owner to go through all alternatives no matter how painful, and I say painful personally because I am Clovis, my father was Clovis, our company is Clovis and our employees are Clovis, but it is my responsibility to make sure that we run through all alternatives if in fact we run into a brick wall,” Vidmar said.
“I won’t lie to you, our competition continues to move to Nevada and Arizona. Those are the two main states because property and sales tax, utilities and just the cost of doing business in those states is just substantially less than in California. My father wanted to fight the fight and stay in Clovis and I promised him I would fight the fight. I just will not fight to the company’s death … As much as I’m excited [about this agreement], we also know the history of batch plants is not good when it comes to getting a clean bill of health to build on, so obviously our offer to builder’s concrete is contingent upon an asbestos survey and environmental Phase 1 and Phase 2, so we will be saying a prayer that we get that clean bill of health. Then we can start to celebrate.”