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Monday, May 20, 2024

Growth for Women-Owned Businesses, Besides Mortgages

Orange County’s largest 45 women-owned businesses made $4.9 billion in 2022 revenue collectively, a figure that’s up about 17% from last year’s list.

Only 10 firms on the list reported year-over-year declines, and there were several notable double-digit gains seen in this year’s Women-Owned Business list, led by an 11% jump in revenue for In-N-Out Burger, once again No. 1 with $1.8 billion in sales.

About one-third of the companies on the list saw revenue jump more than 10% last year.

Perennial No. 1

In-N-Out Burger is expanding its operations to eastern markets for the first time.
It will be opening new offices and locations in Tennessee over the next three years, with the first restaurant set to open in 2026.

Tennessee is the farthest east the company has ventured to date and marks the first sign of larger U.S. expansion plans for In-N-Out, which is currently in predominately western states, under President and Owner Lynsi Snyder.

The Irvine-based chain will invest $125.5 million to develop a 100,000-square-foot office in Franklin, Tenn. to serve as the company’s eastern territory office, and a hub for new southern and eastern markets. In-N-Out currently counts 391 stores.

The burger chain will celebrate its 75th anniversary at the Pomona Raceway with a festival in October.

Rate Hikes’ Impact

Despite a rough climate for mortgage lenders amid rising interest rates, Tustin-based New American Funding took the No. 2 spot with revenue of $935 million. Still, its revenue was down some 35% year-over-year, representing almost a half-billion-dollar decline.

This week’s other 44 list members collectively saw a nearly 9% year-over-year boost in revenue.

New American’s Chief Executive Patty Arvielo, who co-founded the mortgage lender, had a new business school named after her at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.

The Arvielo family donated an undisclosed amount to the school to support a new MBA program slated for 2025 and online course development.

The program’s new title marks the first business school in the U.S. to be named after a Latina woman, officials said. The new Patty Arvielo School of Business and Management was unveiled in April as Vanguard officials aim to recruit faculty and find a founding dean for the business school by fall 2024.

The lender’s local employee count dropped over 300, representing a bulk of the decline seen on the list.

Compared to last year’s list, OC headcount fell 4.5% to 6,079 local employees, while total employee count jumped 9.3% to 46,319.

New Entries, Departures

Huntington Beach-based AQC Environmental Brokerage Services Inc., also known as Air Quality Consultants, entered the list at No. 31 with $20.4 million in revenue for 2022.

Revenue for the firm, which helps companies navigate emissions markets and buy carbon offsets, climbed 30% from the year prior.

CEO Jackie Ferlita attributes AQC’s growth to increased regulations in the California compliance market as well as more demand from companies that voluntarily purchase carbon credits to earn a carbon neutral status.

To keep up with demand, the company expanded its staff from four to six emissions brokers last year.

“There are times where we have large, chunky deals” worth several millions, Ferlita said.

Notable drop-offs from the prior year’s list include Los Alamitos-based Frieda’s Branded Produce, which sold in January to Legacy Farms LLC in Anaheim.

The marketer and distributer of more than 100 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, founded by Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan in 1962, was headed by owner and CEO Karen Caplan, who recently transitioned to an advisory role for the company, now called Frieda’s LLC, which ranked No. 11 last year with $65 million in revenue.

Top Gainers

Companies that experienced the largest increases in revenue include Graves Construction, up 50% to $77 million; and Irvine-based data technology firm Kaygen Inc., reporting a 54% rise to $23.9 million.

Foothill Ranch-based Graves, No. 10 on the list, attributes its growth to investing in its team and company culture.

“If we ensure the very best environment is providing for our team, it creates and establishes a culture that fosters growth internally,” Vice President Jasmine Graves told the Business Journal.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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