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Sales at OC’s Women-Owned Businesses Fall 4.5%

The largest women-owned businesses collectively saw their first decline in more than a decade.

The 38 companies on this year’s Business Journal list reported total revenue of $4.4 billion, down 4.5% from the year prior.

Only eight firms on the list, however, reported year-over-year decreases.

Most of the decline can be attributed to Tustin-based New American Funding, which saw its revenue fall by more than half to $462.7 million. Its local headcount also dropped 36% to 394 employees, representing the largest decrease seen on the list.

Those declines are explained by the increase in the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rates, which have caused a drop in mortgages and refinancings.

That drop hasn’t stopped the second biggest company on this year’s list from striving to improve communities. The mortgage lender last month announced that it was rebranding its NAF Dream initiative, originally launched in 2016, to NAF Black Impact to help increase homeownership rates in the Black community.

“For us, this is much more than a rebrand of the initiative,” co-founder and Chief Executive Patty Arvielo said in a statement. “This was a necessary step to demonstrate our responsibility to the Black community.”

New American said it has committed to extending $20 billion in new mortgages to Black homebuyers by 2028.

Another decrease on the list came from Saf-T-Co Supply Inc., a distributor of underground utility supplies located in Santa Ana.

Saf-T-Co Supply reported a 25% decrease in revenue to $68.4 million for 2023.

“The amount of product we sold in 2023 is comparable to previous years, but revenue is down due to the stabilization of commodity costs,” President Robyn Dague told the Business Journal.

The list ranks companies with a minimum of $10 million in annual revenue and at least 51% female ownership, a standard for certification by the Women’s Business National Council.

Their OC employee count jumped 10% to 6,593 while companywide increased 6% to 48,647.

Repeat Customers Key

The largest sales gainer on the list was a 28% jump to $17.9 million for Pacific Design Directions Inc., an Anaheim-based tenant-improvement firm. The gain helped it jump seven spots to No. 30.

“We have always valued our business relationships, and as a result, the majority of our client base is repeat and referral clients,” founder and President Susan Stoneburner told the Business Journal.

In-N-Out Burger last year surpassed $2 billion in sales with a 16% increase in revenue, coming in at No. 1 once again on this year’s list.

The Irvine-based fast food restaurant chain recently raised menu prices in response to California’s minimum wage increase that went into effect on April 1.

Other companies that experienced significant growth in revenue include Irvine-based Global, a 1st Flagship Company, up 26% to $85 million, and Santa Ana-based solid waste and recycling service Ware Disposal Inc., which reported a 23% rise to $74 million.

Ware Disposal General Manager Jay Ware said that Ware Disposal has maintained clientele over the past 56 years the company has been in business.

“We strive to provide our clients with the most updated technology for waste and recycling, so they’re better positioned for the zero-waste future,” Ware told the Business Journal.
There was one newcomer to the list this year.

La Mirada-based Orange Courier Inc., an on-demand delivery service, ranked No. 15 with $52 million in revenue for 2023 (see story, page 4).

The Business Journal’s Raymond Dinh contributed to this article.

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