UC Merced Update

SBDC Helps Central Valley Businesses Grow


Construction began on Caseys' new plantMid Valley Foods, formerly E & E Meats, was started in 1979 by Earl Casey. The company sells wholesale processed and packaged meat to grocery stores, restaurants and delicatessens. In 2000, Les and Cheri Casey purchased the business from Les’ father. The couple incorporated the business, then modernized and expanded sales and distribution at their Riverbank facility. In 2008, the Caseys began exploring the possibility of building a new plant that would nearly triple the company’s capacity and increase employees.

The couple found the process slow and frustrating, so they turned to the Alliance Small Business Development Center in Modesto for assistance. After exhausting a number of options, they purchased property in Oakdale.

The SBDC helped the Caseys develop a proposal that resulted in a $2 million loan, allowing them to move forward with construction on their new plant. The SBDC has been working with them throughout the process. The project is expected to be completed this spring, and the Caseys are already discussing a potential second expansion.

The UC Merced Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Regional Network Office was established after the campus was awarded a grant from the Small Business Administration in 2003 to support the growth of small business in a 15-county region of Central California. Today, the regional office administers a $1.4 million matching grant that oversees six full-time SBDC service centers and 12 satellite centers.

The SBDC program is a job creation and job retention program that assists business owners and entrepreneurs with business plans and loan package proposals, advises on financial systems and projections, evaluates plans for expansion, provides analysis and assistance on cash flow issues, and provides technology needs assessment, important research, and international trade and procurement assistance. In addition to free one-on-one business consulting, the management team offers a variety of workshops and seminars.

Since it was established, the UC Merced SBDC Regional Network has:

• assisted 12,008 small business clients,

• facilitated more than 527 business start-ups,

• created or retained nearly 3,445 jobs, and

• generated more than $148.5 million in new capital investment funds.