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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

Large Companies Learn to Ratchet Up Growth

It’s a major milestone for small businesses to execute a strategy for fast growth, but large companies in the Valley have learned to grow at double-digit rates despite their bulk.This year, Calabasas-based Harbor Freight Tools USA Inc., La Canada Flintridge-stationed trucking company Allen Lund Co.

and builder Bernards in San Fernando were the largest companies to make the Business Journal’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. Harbor reported 2019 revenue of $5.5 billion.“Those companies are all integrally related, you can see why,” said California State University – Northridge Nazarian College of Business and Economics Professor Kristen Walker. “Construction is an essential service. All three are supply-chain companies.”These enterprises are also forward-moving, even in the face of a pandemic.“There’s a difference between commercial and industrial. These companies tend to be in the middle of that,” Walker said.Last year, Harbor Freight moved into an expanded headquarters at 26541 Agoura Road to accommodate growth. The company grew 22 percent from 2017 to 2019 to rank 36 on the list.In October, the company secured a $3 billion senior secured term loan from Moody’s Investors Service. While some of the money will refinance existing debt, another portion together with excess cash held by the company, will be used to fund a dividend to Harbor Freight’s shareholders, including billionaire Chief Executive Eric Smidt.

“Although the proposed debt-financed dividend will increase leverage to approximately 4.4 times on a proforma basis as of July 31, 2020, we expect Harbor Freight Tools to quickly deleverage to 4.1 times over the next 12 months,” Vice President Christina Boni said in a statement.Allen Lund Co. is a trucking company that earned $595 million in revenue last year. It has a three-year growth of 15.3 percent. It ranks 40 on the list.Allen Lund, who brought in sons Kenny, Eddie and David, and his son-in-law Steve Doerfler to work with him, moved his family company to its current La Cañada location at 4529 Angeles Crest Highway in 1979. Across four decades, Lund has grown his company from a small business to brokering 300,000 shipments annually.The company has 30 offices spread in 22 states nationwide, with hubs in Boston, Savannah, Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland and Chicago.

Additionally, Lund has expanded the company’s value proposition with a software division called ALC Logistics, out of Charlotte, North Carolina.  “We need to hold our carriers and drivers to a higher standard and elevate the transportation industry for the benefit of the whole,” Lund told The Snack in a recent interview. “Remember, the most important thing is the customer. Reputation is everything.”Bernards is a construction firm with nearly $523 million in 2019 revenue. It grew 33 percent between 2017 and 2019 and is No. 31 on the Business Journal’s list.

Bernards, which occupies a 56,150-square-foot headquarters at 555 First St. in San Fernando, has been active as a builder in many high-profile projects.Last month, the Santa Clarita Valley health care facility Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Patient Tower, which Bernards and HMC Architects design-build team collaborated on, received the National Award of Excellence in Healthcare Facilities from the Design-Build Institute of America.The recently completed medical project features a six-story, 163,369-square-foot patient tower which connects to the existing 238-bed Level II Trauma Center. There is also a 120-bed tower featuring a dedicated maternity floor with 20 Anti-Partum/Post-Partum private room beds, six labor/delivery/recovery private room beds, and two operating rooms for C-section deliveries.

“Bernards has executed superbly within the design-build method; we began to see this as early as in the planning/preconstruction period,” said Former Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Schleif on the Bernards website.Also, October saw the groundbreaking of the new Kingdoms of Asia exhibit at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, for which Bernards will transform a center part of the zoo into “an immersive experience where visitors will find Malaysian tigers, Sumatran orangutans and other jungle species,” according to the company.

Michael Aushenker
Michael Aushenker
A graduate of Cornell University, Michael covers commercial real estate for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. Prior to the Business Journal, Michael covered the community and entertainment beats as a staff writer for various newspapers, including the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The Palisadian-Post, The Argonaut and Acorn Newspapers. He has also freelanced for the Santa Barbara Independent, VC Reporter, Malibu Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

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