Pelco by Schneider Electric, for 30 years one of Clovis’ largest employers, will move its executive, engineering and marketing teams from Clovis to Fresno in September.
Pelco, a manufacturer of video security cameras sold around the world, is relocating those employees to an office building in the Palm Bluff Circle complex on West Alluvial Avenue, in the Pinedale neighborhood of northwest Fresno. Mark Standriff, a spokesman for the city of Fresno, said Pelco submitted plans for tenant improvements in the building at 625 W. Alluvial Ave.
The relocated employees will work with a distribution center that Pelco has in Chino. According to a marketing firm for Pelco, the office move will take place in September; the company’s production will remain in Clovis.
It’s not clear how many workers are involved in the relocation.
Pelco’s future offices on Alluvial Avenue are at a site that, in 1942, served as the U.S. Army’s Camp Pinedale, an assembly center for Japanese-Americans who were ordered from their homes in the wake of Japan’s December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 4,800 people were detained at the camp before being transferred to internment camps for most of World War II. A memorial plaza in front of the building at the office complex is dedicated to the detainees.
The move represents another step in diminishing the company’s employment profile in Clovis since it was purchased by a French company, Schneider Electric, in 2007. At one time, Pelco had more than 2,000 people working at its sprawling campus in an industrial park at Peach and Dakota avenues. Since the purchase, the company has shed about two-thirds of its workforce in Clovis, according to city reports.
Clovis’ annual financial report from last year estimated Pelco had slipped from being the city’s second-largest employer in 2007, with more than 1,800 workers (more than 4 percent of the city’s jobs) to 650 in 2016 – or sixth in the employment rankings at 1.23 percent of jobs. Those workforce reductions don’t include 200 layoffs announced last month that are expected to take place by the end of this year.
Even as Pelco has sliced its number of employees, Clovis has filled three former Pelco buildings in the Peach Avenue industrial park with new tenants in the past few years and the city’s job market has swelled.
“We have been aware for a while that they were planning to relocate a portion of their staff to Fresno, but we weren’t quite sure when that would happen,” said Andy Haussler, economic and community development director for Clovis.”We are ready to jump in and market the property to get people in there.”
Haussler said Pelco’s slow departure has allowed the city to diversity its economic base rather than be at the mercy of one large employer’s economic peaks and valleys. The city attracted NIACC Avitech, KW Suspension and the County of Fresno to buildings that Pelco employees previously occupied.
If Pelco keeps its production lines in Clovis, the city won’t see a significant effect on sales tax revenue, Haussler added.
As Pelco departs, the Clovis job market continues to attract a larger workforce. From 2012 through 2016, Haussler said, Clovis has added 7,726 jobs, much of it in expanding businesses, professional and medical jobs at Clovis Community Medical Center, which has been expanding.
Pelco was founded in 1957 in Hawthorne, and relocated in 1983 to a production plant in northwest Fresno. In 1987, the company moved to Clovis, becoming one of the first tenants in the city’s Peach Avenue industrial park, where it rapidly grew.
A timeline of layoffs at Clovis manufacturer Pelco since the company was purchased in 2007 by French-based Schneider Electric:
No. of layoffs
Source: Bee archives