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

Sister, Brother Believe in Bricks-and-Mortar Retail

Handle Hobie Brand Stores, Including Furniture Venture

Growing up, Laurie Alter’s older brother Mark Christy wanted to keep “her and her hamsters and her dolls” as far away as possible—he said he was “desperately trying to be cool,” and having a Ford Pinto as his ride didn’t help, either.

Kawasaki Gets in Ring With Wrestler for Campaign

Steve Austin to Get Word Out on Off-Road Wheels

Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. in Foothill Ranch partnered with pro wrestler Steve Austin on a new advertising campaign to promote its Mule Pro-FXR off-road utility vehicle.

Tustin Aerospace Co. Buys Competitor

Elite Aerospace Group in Tustin acquired Halo Industries Inc. on undisclosed terms.

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Volcom Shifts PR Lens To Wider Audience In Fresh Growth Effort

APPAREL: New ads, ambassadors pan out beyond its traditional core

Volcom LLC is giving you permission to ditch the daily grind and pursue your true passion, whatever that may be. Heck, it’ll even foot the bill for about a dozen winners of its #ThisFirst social media contest.

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Wilson Automotive Group Diversifying, Not Panicking

Other States Pick Up Slack for Business Journal’s No. 11

David Wilson is keeping things in perspective when it comes to cooling U.S. auto sales.

Food Maker Closes Distribution Center

Michigan-based Kellogg Co. is closing its distribution center in La Palma and eliminating 280 jobs there, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification the cereal and snack giant filed with the state.

Chicken Chain Goes Crazy for Foodie LA Dodger

Adrián González Will Lob El Pollo Loco Props

El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. is turning to influencer marketing in its latest Loco Summer Fun advertising campaign.

Kellogg Leaving La Palma

Michigan-based Kellogg Co. is shuttering its distribution center in La Palma and cutting 280 jobs there, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification the cereal and snack giant filed with the state Employment Development Department.

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Karma’s First Reveros Hit the Road Smoothly

AUTOMOTIVE: Production slow now for exclusive clientele

Krishnan Menon had unique plans for the launch of Karma Automotive LLC and its $130,000 hybrid sports car, Revero—he envisioned it as the world’s first invite-only auto brand. Works Its Way Into New Wardrobe Corners

APPAREL: Garden Grove E-Tailer Adding Shirts, Suits wants to be a one-stop shop for the modern man—at least from the waist up.

Stance, New Balance Partnership Crosses Country

Companies’ Home Turfs Inspire Shoe, Sock ‘Kits’

Stance Inc. is collaborating with New Balance Athletics Inc. on a series of shoes and socks kits, the first of which pays homage to the companies’ hometowns—San Clemente and Boston.

Going Once … on the Auction Block

A piece of prime local real estate—albeit a virtual one—is up for grabs.

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Milk Promotor’s Campaign Spills Across California

Sings Dairy’s Praises, To Give Away Refrigerators

The California Milk Processor Board in San Clemente launched the “California Thrives on Milk” campaign, designed to “help guide consumers to more healthful choices this summer” via educational events in Los Angeles, Fresno and Bakersfield.

Boot Barn Misses on Q4

Shares of Boot Barn Holdings Inc. were down 15% to $6.30 during Friday morning trading after the company reported revenue and adjusted profits for the April quarter that missed the Wall Street expectations.

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May Auto Sales Mixed

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

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City Clubs' Future Sparkles

Members-Only Establishments Preserve Purpose as They Change With Times

Are member-only dining clubs vulnerable to technology advances that in the past decade have rendered paper maps, pay phones and film cameras obsolete and conditioned us to communicate on social media more often than in person?

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Genetic Tests Maker Cuts Jobs

Ambry Genetics Corp. plans to cut 99 jobs at its facility in Irvine next month, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification it filed with the state Employment Development Department.

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Experian Ad Presents Company as Data Protector

Highlights Vulnerability Of Personal Info Online

Experian PLC’s latest TV spot juxtaposes footage of the Miller family building a blanket fort in their living room with the sound of an auctioneer offering up their personal data to the highest bidder online.

Emerald Expo Reports First Q1

Shares of Emerald Expositions Events Inc. in San Juan Capistrano fell slightly after the tradeshow operator met Wall Street expectations on revenue but faltered on earnings for the March quarter.

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Tilly’s Up in Q1

Tilly’s Inc. reported sales that beat Wall Street expectations for the April quarter, sending its shares up 14% to a $279 million market cap in recent trading.

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E-tailer to Close Irvine Operation

Australian online retailer SurfStitch Group Ltd. said it will close its North American operations based in Irvine this year and shift its SWELL ecommerce business there to Australia.

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Apparel Makers’ OC Employment Drops 5% to 8,593

54 Biggest Firms Include Four Newcomers

Orange County’s largest apparel makers slowed hiring over the past year.

Billabong Seeks Smaller OC Space

APPAREL: Two-building Spectrum site listed for lease

Billabong USA may be looking for new, smaller, digs in Orange County, the company confirmed last week.

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.