Community Impact Award: Clovis Culinary Center
All bios were contributed by Chamber of Commerce
February 1, 2024 – Almost twelve years ago, a few members of the City of Clovis Economic Development team came up with an idea.
Their vision was to start a business incubator with kitchen space that would help assist and facilitate commercial culinary success.
The goal was to create a facility that would support local chefs, entrepreneurs, and foodies to start and grow new businesses.
Today, Clovis Culinary Center serves the central valley as a one-of-a-kind nonprofit facility which features a certified commercial kitchen with twenty-four hour, seven-day-a-week access to wide-range of professional commercial equipment needed to prepare specialized products from start to finish.
But it’s more than just a kitchen. Services include hands-on technical assistance from industry-minded professionals as well as workshops and classes focusing on basic food handling, developing business plans, marketing, social media, securing permits and licenses, procuring contracts with government organizations, obtaining a wholesale license, and access to capital.
For established or start-up caterers, food truck operators, bakers, small manufacturers of specialty foods, legal street vendors, wholesalers who sell to retail markets, and those starting a part-time food business and ready to take their idea from recipe to reality, Clovis Culinary Center serves them all.
The Clovis Culinary Center was created and operates thanks to generous considerations from the City of Clovis, USDA, Northern California Community Loan Fund, Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, Clovis Chamber of Commerce, California Fresh Works, JD Food, Clovis Community Foundation, California Restaurant Association, and Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Because of these community partners, special hourly rates and scholarships are available.
Business of the Year: Wawona Frozen Foods
February 1, 2024 – Founded in 1963, Wawona Frozen Foods specializes in the growing and freezing of fresh fruits.
As the pioneer in the frozen fruit industry, the company is an industry leader, shipping more than 100 million pounds annually.
From orchard to table, Wawona Frozen Foods produces many of America’s favorite fruits including fresh frozen peaches, strawberries, pears, plums, and unique mixed fruit blends.
The company supplies the retail, club store, foodservice, school and food ingredient industries from its three processing plants in Clovis, Fresno and Watsonville, Calif.
Its fruit is found in the nation’s largest jam, yogurt, ice cream, baby food, pie and pastry manufacturers, foodservice distributors, restaurants, resorts and supermarkets, as well as in school lunch and breakfast programs.
Wawona Frozen Foods remains all in the family as Bill’s three children work in the following critical positions:
Blake Smittcamp Executive Vice President, Bradley Smittcamp, Regional School Sales, and Blair Smittcamp-Martin, Marketing and Special Projects Manager.
With over 100 items, the company continues to develop new products. Its innovative approach to growing, hand-harvesting, processing and packaging is the reason it’s distributed throughout North America.
Wawona Frozen Foods and the Smittcamp family recently celebrated their 60th anniversary and commemorated their year and the past 60-years of innovation, food safety and unwavering commitment to quality and customer service. And they are looking forward to what the next 60 years will bring!