Mediha DiMartino

Staff Reporter

Mediha DiMartino covers media, marketing, auto dealers, government, nonprofits and education. She can be reached at

Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 224

Recent Stories

Glass Company Breaks With Traditions to Thrive

3rd-Gen Owner Nabs Big Accounts; Markets Online

Greg Wingert took the time to hear out the Mater Dei High School guidance counselor’s push for college, but the senior’s mind was already set on joining the family business.

Mother, Daughter Immersed in 40-Year Labor of Love

Swimwear Maker Moves In Market In Its Own Way

Felicia Madrigal sees Laguna Beach-based Merrilee’s Swimwear returning to shelves at popular retail chains, including PacSun and Nordstrom.

Sadeghi Plans More Retail Magic at 2 New Sites

Shaheen Sadeghi, the visionary behind the Anaheim Packing House and other hip retail concepts, has picked a 12-acre site in San Marcos in San Diego County as his next challenge.

Boost Mobile Aims to Boost Sales With ‘Project Switch’

Ads Highlight How Easy It Says Switch to It Is

Boost Mobile LLC in Irvine launched national marketing and advertising campaign “Project Switch,” which highlights its “four lines for $100” offer.

Advantage’s Next Growth Step: IPO

Advantage Solutions Inc.’s initial public offering filing provides a glimpse into the Irvine-based company’s strategy of growth through acquisition of complementary sales and marketing businesses—it spent about $566 million on 39 deals in the past three years.

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Revero Hits the Road

The first batch of Karma Automotive LLC’s Revero luxury plug-in hybrid vehicles is on its way to 10 dealer showrooms in the U.S. and Canada.

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J.D. Power Gets First Ad Agency, Partly for Auto Creds

Goes With Torrance-Based PCG, Which Serves Honda

J.D. Power and Associates in Costa Mesa hired Pacific Communications Group as the agency of record for its automotive division.

Apparel Maker Cuts Jobs

St. John Knits International Inc. next month plans to cut 130 jobs at its facility in Irvine, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification it filed with the state Employment Development Department.

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ASICS Down in Q1

ASICS America Corp.’s sales in the March quarter declined 5.3%, according to its parent, Japan-based ASICS Corp.

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Inventory of Influence

The Business Journal compiles roughly 60 lists a year using various factors to rank local companies—growth pace, employee count, and in some cases, annual revenue. The OC 50—published since 1992—sorts entries alphabetically, so rather than a list, think of it as an always-evolving collective of local influencers.

Kia Replaces Marketing VP With Auto Industry Vet

Saad Chehab Previously Worked for Maserati, Ford

Kia Motors America Inc. in Irvine hired Saad Chehab as vice president of marketing communications.

Autobytel Exceeds Q1 Forecasts

Autobytel Inc. reported March quarter revenue and adjusted profits that beat Wall Street expectations.

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Hybrid Apparel Adds Brand

Hybrid Apparel in Cypress launched Love Tribe brand, a Disney princess-themed line of clothing for young women that’s available only at Macy’s department stores.

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Newer Brand Reaches Into Past for Higher Gear

Z Supply, Its Eponymous Line Celeb-Approved, Guns for $100M

Z Supply LLC’s latest offering is a nod to Orange County’s apparel industry heritage.

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April Auto Sales Mixed

Three of the four largest Orange County-based automakers trailed the national sales pace for new vehicles in April, according to New Jersey-based market researcher Autodata Corp.

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Journal Honors 5 Female Leaders

About 750 people gathered at Hotel Irvine on Tuesday for the Business Journal’s 23rd Annual Women in Business Awards ceremony.

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Female Verizon Engineer Stars in STEM-for-Girls Ad

Irvine Staffer Symbolizes Empowerment Effort

Ammara Essa, principal system performance engineer at Verizon Communications’ Irvine office, is starring in the brand’s new national TV ad.

Irvine Co. Elevates Common Areas for Office Teamwork

REAL ESTATE: Perks like fridges, grills answer employers’ demand

Irvine Company’s own twist on the creative-office trend is gaining ground.

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Streetwear Apparel Co. Acquired

Lifted Research Group Inc. was bought by Mad Engine LLC in San Diego on undisclosed terms.

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Volcom Sales Down

Costa Mesa-based Volcom Inc. posted $60.1 million in revenue in the first quarter, a 3.5% decrease from the prior year period, according to Kering S.A., its Paris-based parent.

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Outlets Developer Gets Support to Position New Center

Specialist to Help Plan, Brand San Clemente Shops

Craig Realty Group in Newport Beach hired hospitality, retail consulting and brokerage firm Brandon-California to help brand and plan the tenant mix for the second phase of its Outlets at San Clemente.

Naude’s Vissla Turns Industry Heads 3 Years In

APPAREL: Takes trade group honor, but ‘lot of work to do’

Vissla, three years after its inception, emerged as the men’s apparel brand of 2016 at the Laguna Niguel-based Surf Industry Manufacturers Association’s annual gala this month.

Mazda Hires CMO

Irvine-based Mazda North American Operations hired Dino Bernacchi as its chief marketing officer, a new position.

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Kaiser Aluminum Beats in Q1

Kaiser Aluminum Corp. reported revenue and earnings for the first quarter that beat Wall Street expectations.

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Houzz It Done It?

Home-Updo Firm’s OC Office Balloons as It Sets Sights on World

It started out in 2012 as a small, 18-person office in Irvine whose “tight-knit” team had breakfasts and lunches together. Nowadays, Orange County is home to the biggest chunk of Palo Alto-based Houzz Inc.’s workforce. About 500 employees work in support, sales and e-commerce for the online home-improvement idea generator and marketplace.

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Emerald Prices IPO

Emerald Expositions Events Inc. in San Juan Capistrano is slated to raise about $300 million in its initial public offering, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Billabong’s Bikini Campaign Outswims the Competition

Roark Revival’s Work Lauded By Surf Group

Laguna Niguel-based Surf Industry Manufacturers Association recognized The Roark Revival in San Juan Capistrano and Billabong in Irvine for producing marketing campaigns of the year at the 14th Annual SIMA Awards ceremony last month in Silverado.

Ad Agencies Post 2nd Straight Year of Double-Digit Gains

Two Firms Have 56% of List’s $1.5 Billion in Revenue

Let’s see that clip again.

Mom’s Love for Baby Inspired Specialized Line

LulyBoo Creator’s Naiveté Powered Her Through Snags

They say that what you don’t know won’t hurt you, or in Pazit Benezri’s case, stifle her entrepreneurial spirit.

Commercial Printers Hold the Line on 2016 Sales

29 Biggest Take in $621M Through 110 OC Presses

Orange County’s 29 largest commercial printers combined for $621 million in sales last year, about the same as the group posted in 2015.

Hyundai Runs With LA Marathon Sponsorship Opp

Auto Partner of One Of Biggest Runs in Country

Hyundai Motor America Inc. in Fountain Valley debuted last month as the official automotive partner of The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, a new sponsorship category.

Vans Parent Foresees 47% Sales Jump

APPAREL: Growth space, history inspire 2021 plan

Is a $3.37 billion revenue goal slightly “off the wall,” even for action sports industry superstar Vans Inc.?

Trade Show Operator Plans More Growth Post-IPO

SERVICES: Spent about $190M on shows in 2 years

San Juan Capistrano-based Emerald Expositions LLC spent nearly $190 million since early 2015 on a dozen acquisitions, according to the initial public offering it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 31.

Robots to the Rescue

Manufacturers Say Systems Integrator Helps Them Stay Competitive

TransAutomation Technologies Inc.’s mission is to “help businesses succeed through automation,” and get them to “re-shore, remain in California and remain profitable.”

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Taco Bell Gets PETA Props

Taco Bell Corp.’s bean burritos will be the focal point of an upcoming campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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Volcom Exec Moves to RVCA

Kevin Meehan has left the role of Volcom Americas market president to join Billabong Group’s RVCA in Costa Mesa as global general manager.

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OC Automakers’ March Sales Mixed

Two of the four largest Orange County-based automakers exceeded the national sales pace for new vehicles in March, according to New Jersey-based market researcher Autodata Corp.

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Emerald Files for IPO

San Juan Capistrano-based Emerald Expositions LLC has filed to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.

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Taco Bell Dishes Out Fast Fare with Foursquare’s Help

Using Data to Get Better Handle on Foot Traffic

Taco Bell Corp. in Irvine has begun to use Foursquare Analytics to better “understand changing foot traffic patterns” at its U.S.-based restaurants.

It Computes Shopping

Humanoid Robot Tested for Irvine Co. Retail

Irvine Company is spicing up its retail scene with Pepper, a humanoid robot capable of understanding and reacting to human emotions.

Kelley Blue Book Rolls Out Overseas

AUTOMOTIVE: Vehicle valuator’s Portuguese site may be first of many

Kelley Blue Book Co. Inc., after about 90 years in business, is dipping its tires into international waters.

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ASICS Opens Boston Studio

ASICS America Corp. plans to open a product design studio in Boston, according to news reports.

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Berkshire Hathaway Campaign Homes in on Image

New Spots Say Franchise Network ‘Good to Know’

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Irvine launched a national brand campaign that positions the real estate brokerage franchise network as a brand that’s “good to know” when selling or buying homes.

American Advertising Federation OC Chapter Names Winners

The American Advertising Federation of Orange County held its annual awards gala Thursday at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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Irvine Firm Buys in Munich

Advantage Smollan Ltd. in London—a holding company Irvine-based Advantage Solutions set up in 2015 with Smollan Group in Johannesburg—plans to acquire Combera Group GmbH in Munich on undisclosed terms.

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Kelley Blue Book Expands Overseas

Kelley Blue Book in Irvine launched vehicle pricing and valuation website KBB.PT in Portugal that it plans to adapt to other international markets.

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Kia Extends Women’s Golf Sponsorship for 2 Years

Will Continue as Auto Partner, Be at 7 Events

Irvine-based Kia Motors America Inc. renewed its sponsorship of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in a multiyear deal that enables it to continue as Official Automotive Partner and to have a presence at seven tournaments, including the ANA Inspiration and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Finnish Roots, Latin Name, OC Preference

TECHNOLOGY: Continuity point of difference for software developer

Finland-based Vincit Group PLC drew its name from “amor vincit omnia”—Latin for “love conquers all.”

Left Brain, Right Brain

Ad Industry Innovator Leveraged Math Skills for Venture

Peter Nguyen got a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT, so naturally, he took up online advertising.

Tilly’s Report Mixed; Shares Down

Irvine-based Tilly’s Inc. beat Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings for the January quarter, but its shares fell about 11% to $8.80 on a downbeat forecast for the current quarter.

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