Small Business Month Success Stories
Four Wheel Pop-Up Campers in Yolo County
It might be Woodland’s best kept secret - a local manufacturer that has blended into the community’s fabric since 1989. Four Wheel Campers, a small business of 96 employees, is home to the world’s leader in pop-up truck campers. In a warehouse just off Interstate 5 in Yolo County, employees build, assemble, and ship out the campers throughout the United States as well as Canada, China, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Peru, and Taiwan.
To keep up with high demand, Four Wheel Campers is always looking for qualified candidates for the dozen or so different positions needed throughout the warehouse. Kelly Long, human resources representative at Four Wheel Campers, says sometimes it’s hard to find people around Woodland. “A lot of times people will come in because they see our signs out front that says ‘Now Hiring,’ and they aren’t ready for the interview,” she explains. Four Wheel Campers even tried posting ads on Craig’s List, but didn’t have any luck.
Looking for recruitment assistance, they turned to their local America’s Job Center of California SM (AJCC) for specialized employment services. At the AJCC, the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) business service team provided CalJOBS training that helped identify a large number of job seekers.
“A lot of the employers we work with have no clue that we’re here to provide this service,” said Paul Hernandez, an employment program representative with the EDD. With the EDD’s help, Four Wheel Campers had thousands of applications to review. “Having EDD there to help makes my life a lot easier because it’s very difficult to find people,” Kelly said.
In addition to EDD job referrals, there was a recruitment event at Four Wheel Campers where qualified applicants were able to meet face-to-face with management. “It was really cool, they were extremely excited about it,” Paul said. As for the job vacancies, they made matches and filled positions all because of EDD programs, services, and resources that are available to, and used by, small businesses throughout California. “Right now hiring is so difficult. There’s so many jobs out there, but a lot of people don’t know how to get to them,” Kelly said. “To have resources available to you makes life easier.”
Porto’s Bakery and Café in West Covina
Last fall, Porto’s Bakery and Café, a family-owned small chain of Southern California Cuban bakeries, was making plans to expand to its fifth location in West Covina, and needed to fill more than 260 positions. So they turned to the San Gabriel Valley Workforce Services America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC) office for assistance.
The bakeries’ human resources supervisor Marisol Reiner worked with the Employment Development Department’s (EDD) employment program representative Eileen Chavez to recruit employees for the newest Porto’s Bakery and Café location. Reiner needed to find qualified employees that included cooks, cashiers, decorators, sales associates, servers, hostesses, bakers, and maintenance personnel.
The bakeries began when Rosa and Raul Porto Sr., who emigrated from Cuba to California in the 1960s, started selling cakes out of their home using family recipes. The recipes have been passed on to their three children - Beatriz, Raul Jr., and Margarita - who are continuing the dream of bringing quality desserts and foods to people in Southern California and by online orders to customers throughout the United States.
Together with West Covina Business Services, EDD’s Chavez collaborated with Porto’s Bakery and Café to set up a five-day recruitment event at the San Gabriel Valley’s AJCC office. During this successful hiring event, 517 applicants were interviewed, which led to 72 hires. More than 30 applicants were identified as potential candidates for on-the-job training opportunities provided by West Covina Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act partner, Managed Career Solutions.
“Because we are a family business, we hope we can be an anchor to the community and help to inspire families to come gather here, enjoy our good food, low prices, and welcoming environment,” said Beatriz Porto, co-owner Porto’s Bakery and Café. “I hope they come and see what we have been able to accomplish and it will encourage others to start businesses here in West Covina as well.”
The grand opening for the new Porto’s Bakery and Café in West Covina was last month.
Small Business Month
Visit the EDD’s Small Business Month feature page for resources that can help your small business succeed.