Sunday, October 31, 2004

A city on the grow

Dixon enjoys dynamic business development

By Barbara Smith/Business Writer

Cold Stone Creamery. Payless Shoe Source. Supercuts. Game Stop. Subway.
Those are just a few of the new businesses coming to Dixon.

New business in Dixon - big or small - is either under construction, wending its way through city approvals or being considered carefully by developers. The tiny city to the north is becoming one of the hottest commerce spots in Solano County.

Marshall Drack, the city's economic development director said compared to the size of the community, the level of activity is remarkable.

"We're enjoying a broad diversity of economic growth in retail, commercial, restaurant, office, industrial, as well as residential," Drack said.

The lure? Dixon has excellent Interstate 80 exposure, Drack said.

"Now everybody knows we're here," he said. "So, although we're a town of 18,000, ... we've got 150,000 cars a day going by that see us (and are) part of our community for a few minutes."

Visible from the I-80 is Wal-Mart, which opened in 2003 in Dixon's 643-acre Northeast Quadrant, specifically planned years ago as an employment center with a business park, industrial and commercial areas. The land around the retail giant is cluttered with signs from real estate brokers anxious to sell land that has not already been snapped up.

Jim Jeary, division manager for Sacramento-based Panattoni Development, said Wal-Mart is one of the main reasons retail businesses are scoping Dixon.

The ice cream and sandwich shops, hair salon, shoe store, game center and more near Wal-Mart will encompass 13,000 to 15,000 square feet of retail, Jeary said. And he understands the broker has the space fully leased, and hasn't even begun construction.

"He's got a significant number of tenants already lined up," Jeary said.

Just down the road from Wal-Mart, Panattoni and Wickland Oil Co. are in contract to sell about 4 of 12.5 acres both firms own on the southeast corner of North First Street and Vaughn Road to Tractor Supply Co., which would be a 50,000 square-foot facility. The firm has 300 locations in the Midwest. But there are a lot of approvals in the entitlement process, and the contract is contingent upon those approvals, he said.

"If the deal with Tractor Supply goes, we will probably build about a 12,000 to 13,000 square-foot retail strip center at that same corner," Jeary said. "And then we're talking other prospects as well.

Jeary said Dixon's residential base is also part of what attracts retail interests to the city. And as those business developments move forward, that also attracts retail, he said.

According to Drack, some recent business development projects in Dixon include:

• a 28,000-square-foot

office building and another 28,000 square-foot industrial building Vaughn Road;

• a 13,350-square-foot commercial building in the approval process on Market Lane;

• 34,901 square feet of commercial buildings on North Lincoln Street;

• a 5,600-square-foot building under construction on North First Street;

• 5,525 square feet of retail commercial buildings on North Lincoln at Russell Lane; and

• 5,000 square feet of commercial and 8,000 square feet of retail buildings on East Dorset Drive.

That's a tremendous change from what the city has seen in the past 15 years, Jeary said, noting there have been some significant office deals consummated.

Panattoni built the still fairly new Vacaville-based Dependable Heating & Air Conditioning facility on North First Street. Two businesses - KBI Construction and ISEC - have leased office space in the facility, about 10,000 square feet each.

"Those are big leases for the city of Dixon," Jeary said. "That's a 25,000 square-foot office and production facility, so those are three great deals that Dixon has landed in the last year and one half."

The city is also marketing Dixon with a new glossy brochure that boasts the city is business friendly, its strategic location between Sacramento and San Francisco, close proximity to the University of California, Davis and more.

Major employers in Dixon include Wal-Mart, 400 jobs; Campbell's Soup Supply Co., 350 jobs; Kragen Distribution Center, 270 jobs; Gymboree Corp. U.S. Distribution Center, 200 jobs; First Northern Bank, 160 jobs; Superior Meat Packing, 160 jobs; and Cardinal Health, 300 jobs.

Drack said the new businesses continue to provide Dixon with healthy sales tax revenue. Sales tax revenue comes from the retail concerns, whereas property tax dollars come from the equipment in the large buildings, some of which can contain millions of dollars worth of equipment, Drack said.

Jeary said it's hard to say what's on the 2005 horizon, but he's optimistic.

"I think we're excited about what's happening in Dixon and all the recent activity. I think there's going to be more of that."

Panattoni also owns about 28 acres of industrial land on Fitzgerald Drive, However, the industrial market has been slow, he said.

"I think we could call it a secondary or tertiary market because of its distance from the main market of metropolitan Sacramento," he said. "It's far enough away that a lot of users won't look at it. It's a little too far out of their search area."

Barbara Smith can be reached at

Monday, October 25, 2004

Groundbreaking ceremony for new SCC campus

The Solano County Community College District will hold a groundbreaking ceremony 4 p.m. Wednesday to dedicate the site for the new Vallejo Center, on Columbus Parkway east of Ascot Parkway.

The new branch will be built on a 100-acre site and will not open for about two years. The facility will be paid for by Measure G, a $124.5 million bond voters passed in 2002. The Vallejo Center will be 4.5 times bigger than the current Vallejo campus, located within the JFK Library complex, and will offer more courses.

College President Paulette Perfumo, members of the governing board, elected officials, community members and Rosemary Thurston, wife of the late School Board Trustee Bill Thurston, will be on hand during the groundbreaking ceremony.

The first phase of the campus includes 33,000-useable square feet of classrooms, science, computer and learning laboratories, an art classroom, auditorium, and multi-use room serving physical education, dance and theater programs. Parking and outdoor spaces will also be provided.

The total cost of the Vallejo Center is estimated to be $11.6 million. The administration buildings will be named after former trustee Thurston, who died in July. He was instrumental in the passage of Measure G.

Chamber survey finds Vallejo business outlook improving

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

The results of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce's most recent member satisfaction survey are in, and things are looking up for the chamber and, by extension, the city's business community, a chamber official said.

"Chamber growth is usually a good indicator of growth and expansion of the local business community, and the Vallejo chamber gained more than 120 new members so far this year," said chamber chief Rick Wells. "During the same period last year, we'd only gained 65 new members."

Chamber members were asked about what challenges their businesses face, what the chamber should be focusing on and a variety of other questions.

"We learned that the largest challenges for professionals involve profitability and growth," Wells said. "Exposure and local, state and federal regulations are the other major challenges our members face."

Wells said some of the answers in the category "other challenges," include the city's physical appearance and reputation, and the city's approach to economic development, both of which need improvement, some members said.

The biggest challenges facing Vallejo business owners are the city's perceived lack of focus and a lack of friendliness to businesses, members said.

Leo Sumner of The Tiberon Group, a construction industry consulting firm located on Mare Island, participated in the survey.

"I've lived in Vallejo since 1978, and I've seen the struggle with the base closure and everything. I think generally things are improving, coming back slowly but surely, and the chamber is working very hard to make that happen," Sumner said.

The Vallejo chamber conducts a member satisfaction survey quarterly "to ensure the chamber is continuing to address the needs of our membership," Wells said. About 22 percent of the chamber's 743 members participated.

In comparing the most resent findings to earlier surveys, Wells said many members are slightly less concerned this year with taxes and employee issues like workers' compensation insurance. And 93 percent of the recent survey's respondents said the chamber was relevant to their businesses compared to 89 percent when the last survey was done in April. Also, 93 percent of this survey's respondents found the chamber's staff accessible and responsive, compared to 88 percent in April.

The survey's results indicate the chamber is "on the right track," Wells said, adding that chamber officials will use the survey's results to help them determine next year's business strategies during a planning conference scheduled for next month.

- E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or call 553-6824.

Friday, October 22, 2004

MV Transportation on the fast track

FAIRFIELD -- Inc. Magazine has named MV Transportation of Fairfield as one of America's fastest-growing private companies.

MV Transportation, which specializes in passenger transportation contracting and operates buses in 98 locations in 22 states, was ranked No. 393 in the magazine's 24th annual 500 ranking.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be recognized for our tremendous growth and to be in the company of such successful businesses from across the country," said Jon Monson, CEO of MV Transportation, in a press release. He added that MV thrives in part because most of its competitors are foreign companies.

The Inc. 500 ranks privately held companies according to averaged year-over-year sales growth during the past four years. MV Transportation had four-year sales growth of 375 percent. It was also among the top 10 largest companies on the list.

Inc. Magazine's issue featuring MV Transportation will hit newsstands on Tuesday.

Gateway to open new office

By Marla J. Pugh

FAIRFIELD -- Gateway Realty will open its second new office of the year in Fairfield next month.

The office, located at 3700 Hilborn Road next to the Northern Solano County Association of Realtors, is part of a year-long expansion plan for the county's largest real estate firm. It opened another office in Green Valley earlier this year, and plans to open another new office on Mason Street in Vacaville by the end of the year.

The company closed its long-standing Holiday Lane branch office in Fairfield in July as part of the plan. Overall, the company will grow from three offices in Solano County to five.

The full-service branch on Hilborn Road at Freedom Plaza in Rolling Hills will include 13 agents. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. Nov. 5. People can RSVP to attend by calling 422-4511.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Efficiency boosts Copart earnings

October 19, 2004

By Matthew Bunk

FAIRFIELD -- Copart's annual revenue topped $400 million for the first time in the auto salvager's 22-year history.

Sales and income were up and operating costs went down, the Fairfield-based company announced Friday in its annual report for fiscal 2004. Much of the growth can be attributed to an online auto auction system adopted in December, Copart said.

By using computer technology called Virtual Bidding Second Generation, Copart was able to widen its market base and generate healthier profits on vehicle sales. All of Copart's auctions now take place using VB2, which allows buyers from all over the world to access Copart auctions.

Prior to the unveiling of VB2 in December, buyers of salvage vehicles had to go to one of Copart's auto lots to bid.

"It (VB2) has improved the efficiency of our operations," Copart said in its annual statement. "We believe the implementation of VB2 across our salvage operations has increased the pool of available buyers for each sale and the added competition has increased the amount buyers are willing to pay for salvage from us."

Sales of vehicles to buyers outside the state where the vehicle is located accounted for 41 percent of total vehicles sold in fiscal 2004. Twenty-four percent of salvage vehicles were sold to out of state buyers and 17 percent were sold to buyers out of country.

Copart's year-end financial figures echoed the company's success with VB2.

Revenues were $400.8 million, an increase of approximately $53.4 million, or 15 percent, compared to $347.4 million in fiscal 2003. Copart said the increase was due primarily to increased salvage vehicle volume, new service revenue and higher fees resulting from increased auction proceeds per vehicle.

Net income rose to $79.2 million from $57.2 million the year before. Income represented 19.8 percent of revenues, up from 16.5 percent a year ago.

Copart acquired six vehicle storage and auction facilities during the past year, bringing the total number of Copart properties in the U.S. and Canada to 107. The new facilities generated $1.4 million in new revenue, the company said.

Operating expenses for the year dropped slightly to $68.9 million. It was down from $73.9 million in 2003.

Copart's performance landed it at No. 76 on Forbes' list of the 200 best small companies in 2004. The list was released Monday.

Reach Matthew Bunk at 425-4646 Ext. 267 or

Friday, October 15, 2004

New staff help with Fairfield's growth

October 15, 2004
By Matthew Bunk

FAIRFIELD -- Three months into his first stint as an economic development specialist, David White, a 30-year-old former real estate consultant, is most impressed with how busy he's been.

Mark Kaiser's situation is much different. After 15 years in the economic development field, Kaiser, 51, knows a thing or two about working in government. He's even got some background in Fairfield, an asset he's drawn upon since taking a position with the city on July 26, the same day White joined up.

Both Kaiser and White help businesses thrive and new ones start up. It's one of the main functions of their jobs as Fairfield economic development project managers.

The two new bodies will free up other economic developers to spend more time on the details of other projects, said Sean Quinn, director of Fairfield Planning and Development. While his staff has grown, Quinn pointed out his department had to cut staff positions a few years ago and hadn't made it up until now.

"I just don't want people to think we're adding a bunch of staff," Quinn said.

White can't believe how busy everyone is around him, he said.

"I'm just continually impressed with everything that's going on in Fairfield right now," White said. "It took me by storm. I was expecting more of a honeymoon period."

Instead, White was given reins to one of the most controversial projects the city has undertaken - turning Allan Witt Park into a living community of homes, apartments and offices.

He's also in charge of the City Center Redevelopment Project Area, which includes the downtown shopping district and surrounding residential zones.

Kaiser, a native of Austin, Texas, specializes in affordable housing projects and working with small businesses to secure expansion or start-up loans. He had worked in the city's Quality Neighborhoods Program before taking a job in West Sacramento three years ago.

"I'm here to serve the harder-to-serve portions of our housing market, like first-time home buyers," Kaiser said. "I'm constantly surprised by how expensive it is to create affordable housing."

Kaiser, who lives in Davis, said Fairfield has become a nicer place since he last worked for the city three years ago.

"I've noticed that the good things that were here are still here," he said.

White, who grew up in Southern California and later moved to El Cerrito, said he's always wanted to be a part of the economic development machine.

"This is my first foray into the public sector," White said. "I felt the city was very aggressive and entrepreneurial. It seems like the right blend."

While both men come from very different places, they do share a few similarities. The most distinguishable shared quality is their passion for progress.

White might have said it best: "I'm just excited to get some good redevelopment projects done."

Reach Matthew Bunk at 425-4646 Ext. 267 or

Dixon boom puts city on the map, forum told

By Barbara Smith/Business Writer

Dixon's economic gains are putting the city on the map of the region, according to experts at an economic development forum held Thursday.

"Dixon: 2004 and Beyond" was the theme of the breakfast forum that drew a full house at the Dixon Senior Multi-Use Center, where a panel reported on land development and the burgeoning retail market.

Jim Jeary, division manager of Panatoni Development reported that while industrial and office use have been slow, retail is flourishing, crediting Wal-Mart as a regional draw that has changed the dynamics of doing business in Dixon.

"When Wal-Mart comes to town, people kind of want to be near Wal-Mart," Jeary said.

Jeary reported a number of new business coming to town, including Tractor Supply Co., a firm with 300 locations in the Midwest. Panatoni is building a 50,000 square foot facility on North First Street and Vaughn Road to house the business.

Also in the works is a 12,000 square-foot building for mixed retail; a 10,000 square-foot building for a health club; a Wendy's under construction across from Wal-Mart; a "dollar" bargain store; an optometrist, barber shop, car wash and veterinarian.

A mattress retailer and furniture retailer plan to move into a 5,000 square-foot building on North Lincoln Street, and other businesses are "circling," Jeary said.

Jeary said Dixon has a lot of inventory, good freeway access and lower land prices.

"And I think the quality of life we recognize will attract employers to Dixon," he said.

Real estate veteran and broker Gary Archer of Archer & Ficklin reported on the progress of the 561-acre national cemetery in rural Dixon, a $6 million sale to the Department of Veterans Affairs that Archer worked on for four years before it closed escrow in July.

Seismic work has been completed, and construction should begin in 2006, Archer said. The government believes the cemetery will be built out by 2030, he said.

"It will ultimately inter approximately 60,000 veterans and their spouses," he said. "On a personal level, we are fortunate to have that kind of facility come to Dixon. ..."

Archer also reported on major land developments, including the huge southwest housing development and land for the new high school in southeast Dixon.

Real estate broker Marianne MacDonald gave an overview of the housing market, noting the seller's market, complete with bidding wars, is over because the market has settled down.

However, in 2003 the average sales price of a Dixon house was $215,000, compared to $382,000 this year. She said buyers are coming from Dixon, or are returning to Dixon.

"People want to stay here," she said. "The vast majority of people are right here in Dixon."

She also reported on city financing programs that help first-time homebuyers, and the Oct. 22 groundbreaking of an affordable housing project in the Valley Glen subdivision. Also on the horizon is an 81-unit senior housing complex and, pending approval, a 172-unit apartment community for both seniors and families.

Margorie Dickinson, assistant vice chancellor for government and community relations at the University of California, Davis, reported on the university's long-range development plans and partnering with Dixon.

Dickinson considers the soon-to-be developed $3.7-million, 300-acre Dixon-Davis Greenbelt a "legacy" that will be modeled after the Vaca-Dixon Greenbelt.

Mike Ammann, president of Solano Economic Development Corp. discussed Solano EDC's regional and national outreach efforts to attract businesses to Solano County, as well as to Dixon.

Ammann said Solano EDC is doing well in the Sacramento area, and trying to work well with the Bay Area.

"We've got to start getting a national presence," Ammann said. "People just don't know where we are. They know a lot about us, but they do not know Solano County and all the benefits they have to offer a business."

However, Solano EDC's "Team Solano" concept is under way. As an example, Cardinal Medical was recruited to Dixon at the Biotech 2004 convention in San Francisco in June. Marshall Drack, the city's economic development director, attended the convention with Team Solano.

Barbara Smith can be reached at

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

City center look' for fairgrounds?

By CHRIS G. DENINA, Times-Herald staff writer

Within years, the Solano County Fairgrounds could become a downtown-styled attraction, complete with a main street lined with shops and restaurants - and possibly even a Ferris wheel.

That vision is a change of plans for the Mills Corp., whose earlier concepts for redeveloping the home of the annual two-week fair into a year-round attraction included clustering shops and fair attractions amid parking on the 152-acre site.

Solano County's Board of Supervisors and Fair Association on Tuesday agreed to give the Arlington, Va.-based company six months more to study its new idea of creating a town center. The company's original deadline to submit a more detailed proposal was Friday.

"This is something that's really out of the box," Mills development consultant Brian Clark said.

Mills now has until next April 15 to submit project plans for its so-called The Fair at Solano project along Interstate 80 near Highway 37. The developer will use the time to study such issues as traffic and the effects of the rainy season on the site, plus to gather more feedback from residents, Clark said.

The company opted to revise its project after hearing from people at community meetings, he said.

"They've told us they don't want to see a closed mall that looks like just another mall," Clark said.

Mills' plans unveiled this summer include a sports and recreation area, hotel and conference center, arena, exhibition halls and a recreational vehicle park.

Fair officials still want to raze the fairgrounds' golf course and racetrack, though plans call for a satellite site for betting on horse races.

Under Tuesday's deal with the county, Mills must pay the fair association $10,000 a month to cover project expenses, in addition to an earlier $100,000 deposit.

"I think it's well worth the time and effort," said Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, District 1-Vallejo. "We want something that's first-class."

For some downtown businesses, the project may create more competition.

Linda Brown, who owns a Marin Street store, said she'd like to learn more about the project and its impacts.

"I don't want to compete against a big chain, but I'm not scared of it, either," Brown said.

Janet Sylvain, who owns a Georgia Street shop, also said she needs more information as a downtown stake-holder. "We're concerned about our efforts downtown to rebuild the heart of Vallejo," Sylvain said.

At Westfield Shoppingtown Solano, a mall in Fairfield, there are fears that a new Vallejo shopping facility may take away business. The mall's attorneys submitted a letter criticizing Mills, saying the developer needs to do a better job providing information to the public.

Meanwhile, Hank Howard of Vallejo said he welcomes the project. "I'm glad they're coming here," Howard said. "I think it's a big movement for this area."

While Mills works on redeveloping the area, the fair association is focusing on its annual tradition, General Manager Joseph Barkett said. "We have every intention of putting on a bigger and better fair each year and in improving our year round events," Barkett said.

- E-mail Chris G. Denina at or call 553-6835.-

School district OKs land swap

By Audrey Wong

FAIRFIELD -- Travis school board members gave official approval Tuesday to a property exchange with a developer so the district would have land for future schools in Vacaville.

The district will swap two properties, amounting to nearly 11 acres, near Foxboro Elementary School and Nut Tree Road for 30 acres owned by Meritage Homes of California Inc. The Meritage property is off Nut Tree Road between Youngsdale Drive and Foxboro Parkway.

By securing the land, the district won't have to shell out potentially millions of dollars when it needs to build a new elementary school and a middle school. The Meritage property would cost much more when it's developed, district officials said. The district is down 70 students this year, but developers are buildings homes in Vacaville, which may draw more families with school-age children.

Board member Harry Axhelm said the district is paying less per acre for the Meritage property than in a normal purchasing transaction.

"This is a tremendous bargain today," he said.

The deal calls for the district to pay Meritage $1.2 million plus the two properties. But the district is exploring waiving about $1.2 million in fees that Meritage would have to pay the school district for buildings homes on the land. If that happens, it wouldn't have to pay the developer any money.

If the district must pay Meritage, then it will use funds designated solely for facilities and not general fund money. Board member Ed Sanderson was concerned about what would happen if there was a depression and the developer didn't build homes on the property. With no construction the developer wouldn't have fees and the district would have to pay the whole $1.2 million.

The district has garnered enough from Mello Roos property taxes to cover that amount, said Bill Taylor, assistant superintendent of business and fiscal resources.

Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Kohl's to make Vallejo debut

By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN, Times-Herald staff writer

Vallejo's new Kohl's Department Store opens Thursday, along with 11 others in the Bay Area, as the Midwest-based retail giant drives full-tilt into the California market.

Kohl's regional manager Mike McMullan said the Bay Area stores are coming on line about 18 months after the chain opened 28 stores in Southern California.

The Bay Area openings bring the number of Kohl's in California to 62. McMullan will oversee six of them, including the ones in Vallejo and Vacaville.

"I'm looking forward to it being there," said Vallejoan Sandy McCulley, 61. "I'm hoping it carries a better quality of merchandise than a lot of the stores in Vallejo."

Tim O'Conner of Vallejo also welcomes the new shopping option with open arms. "I'm happy to see some new businesses opening up here in Vallejo," said the 45-year-old technician and stage hand for the musical group The Doobie Brothers. "There's a real need for quality businesses like Kohl's here. Vallejo is changing from a blue-collar, Navy town to a more middle and upper-middle class kind of town. And those of us who came from other parts of the Bay Area are hungry for quality shops and restaurants."

McCulley, a retired Pacific Bell clerk, said she'd never heard of Kohl's before ads began appearing on television a few months ago. O'Conner, on the other hand, has been in a Kohl's store and approves of the inventory.

"I travel around a lot, and I've seen Kohl's in other parts of the country, and it's a decent store," O'Conner said. "They carry all the name brands. I think it's a good fit for Vallejo. My wife and I are happy to see quality businesses emerging in Vallejo. We don't want to have to travel to Benicia or Concord every time we want stuff."

It's just the kind of response Kohl's officials like to hear.

A former Target manager, McMullan said Kohl's hired him to help get its California operation off the ground.

"The strategy has been to hire people who understand the local markets," said McMullan, who lives in Los Angeles, though his first California home was in Vallejo some 20 years ago. He managed the Vallejo Target store for several years, he said.

The Vallejo Kohl's differs from most of the company's other locations in that it's a two-story structure. It offers about 92 square feet of retail space built on the spot once occupied by the Gateway Plaza's Century 8 domed theaters, McMullan said.

"Our philosophy is to provide convenient locations - you don't see us much in big malls - and we have wide aisles and centralized check-out, so you don't have to hunt for some place to pay for your merchandise," he said.

Another difference between Kohl's and other department stores, he said, is that about 70 percent of its merchandise consists of recognizable, brand-name items. These include Levis, Gloria Vanderbilt, Arrow, Haggar, Dockers, Reebok, Nike, Adidas, OshKosh B'Gosh and Carter's in its apparel departments, and Calphalon, KitchenAid and Martex in its home department. Kohl's is also known for its shopping carts that double as strollers.

McMullan said Kohl's is dedicated to community involvement wherever it operates stores, and Vallejo will be no exception.

"We have our Kohl's Cares for Kids promotion, by which the sale of certain children's merchandise generates a donation to Stanford's Lucille Packard Children's Hospital and Oakland's Children's Hospital and Research Center. Also, each store is encouraged to provide associates time to volunteer for local school reading programs, and we're always very active in local soccer programs."

The Vallejo store created about 220 jobs, 95 percent of which are filled by local residents, McMullan said.

McMullan said Vallejo was an easy choice to put a store. "When you look at Vallejo, you see it's a community of families, and we look for that, and the location makes sense," McMullan said.

The grand opening events, which will take place simultaneously at all the new stores, begin at 8 a.m. Thursday. A highlight will be a sweepstakes featuring prizes that include a Chevy Equinox sport utility vehicle, educational scholarships and vacations. Also, the first 800 shoppers 16 and older will get free tote bags.

- For more information, call 649-9851 or visit

Solano Kohl's open Thursday

By Reporter Staff

Kohl's new department store in Vacaville will celebrate its grand opening Thursday, company officials announced.

To celebrate the grand opening of the new store, the first 550 shoppers, age 16 and older, will receive a free, limited-edition tote bag.

The celebration will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a press conference and ribbon cutting. The store, located at 570 Orange Drive, will open its doors to the public at 8 a.m.

Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl's hired about 150 staffers for the new store in Vacaville. A store is also opening today in Vallejo. Kohl's is a specialty department store offering moderately priced national brand apparel, shoes, accessories and home products. Including the new stores it opens in October, the company operates 637 stores in 40 states. For a list of store locations, or for additional information, visit Kohl's Web site at

Genentech profits soar

By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Fueled by strong drug sales across the board, Genentech Inc. reported Wednesday its profits surged 52 percent in the third quarter.

The results, released after the stock market closed Wednesday, beat analysts' expectations. The company also raised its annual earnings per share forecast from between 75 cents and 80 cents to a range of 80 cents to 83 cents.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the South San Francisco-based company earned $230.9 million, or 21 cents a share, a 52 percent increase over the previous year's third-quarter earnings of $152 million, or 14 cents a share.

Excluding special expenses and income related to litigation, Genentech said it would have posted a profit of $259.6 million, or 24 cents a share. On that basis, the results exceeded the per-share estimate among Wall Street analysts by 3 cents, according to research firm Thomson First Call.

"We have maintained consistently strong performance across our product portfolio," said Myrtle Potter, president of commercial operations.

The rosy earnings report was tempered by the company's disclosure Monday that it had received a subpoena from federal prosecutors in Philadelphia. The company said the subpoena related to promotion of Rituxan, its flagship drug for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Revenue was $1.2 billion in the quarter, an increase of 47 percent from a year earlier. The company's new colon cancer drug, Avastin, was approved for sale in February and accounted for $183 million in sales in the third quarter.

Avastin is designed to choke the blood supply that feeds tumors and is the first drug of its kind to be approved by the FDA. When used with chemotherapy, it extends the life of the sickest patients by an average of about five months.

Analysts expect the drug, which costs each patient about $4,400 per month, to surpass $1 billion in annual sales in the next few years. The company also is investigating Avastin's possibilities to treat other forms of cancer, including breast, lung and kidney.

Meanwhile, sales of Genentech's two established cancer drugs also reported increased sales in the first quarter.

Sales of Rituxan increased 18 percent to $437.7 million in the third quarter. Breast cancer fighter Herceptin sales in the quarter increased 17 percent to $126 million.

In trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, Genentech shares fell 88 cents to close at $50.25. They gained 75 cents in the extended session.

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