Fresno Oxygen closed its location on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno July 31 and opened a store in Madera to shuffle resources.
The company, which has stores from Sacramento to Bakersfield, is also dropping “Fresno” from its name and adopting a new identity — Barnes Welding Supply.
The Blackstone Avenue location was closed because it was primarily a consumer store, but the company mainly supplies the industrial sector with welding tools and gases, said president Mike Barnes. And activity at the Blackstone store decreased when the Internet sales division, originally run out of that store, was moved to the company’s main offices in southwest Fresno, he added.
Madera, however, had the potential for a lot of business. Fresno Oxygen had customers in Madera, but no store there.
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“We just felt that it was time to do something,” Barnes said.
Fresno Oxygen started in 1949 in downtown Fresno. The company now has 145 employees, a plant in Fowler and 12 sales locations, from Sacramento to Bakersfield and over to Salinas.
The new location at 311 Pine St. opened Monday, said Barnes. At more than 3,000 square feet, it is much bigger than Blackstone’s 1,800 square feet. The space will be used to run a route truck out of the store, he said.
Fresno Oxygen was first started in 1949 in downtown Fresno by his grandfather and expanded out from Fresno over the years, Barnes said. The company now has 145 employees, a plant in Fowler and 12 sales locations.
The company was started as Fresno Oxygen back when it was common for a welding supply company to name itself after the city and add “oxygen,” he said. But as the company grew outside of Fresno, using the name didn’t just make sense, he added.
We just felt that it was time to do something.
Mike Barnes, Fresno Oxygen’s president
While the corporate name remains Fresno Oxygen, the company has been transitioning its stores to Barnes Welding Supply, both in and out of Fresno, he said.
Three sales locations remain in the local area, with Fresno’s main store at 245 M St., another in Clovis at 2742 Clovis Ave., and a sales counter at the main offices in Fresno at 2825 S. Elm Ave., he said. While the sales counter is used mainly as a pickup for large accounts, it is open to anyone, he added.
The company’s website is www.barneswelding.com.
Sarah Anderson: (559) 441-6248; @Sarahsonofander