Survey finds confidence among Sparks businesses |

Survey finds confidence among Sparks businesses

Rob Sabo

More than half of business owners in the heart of Sparks’ industrial zone predominately feel that the worst of the recession is over, and that their businesses are growing or poised for growth.

Matt Harris, an industrial associate with Coldwell Banker Commercial Clay and Associates, recently surveyed nearly 100 businesses in the Sparks industrial corridor. The study included face-to-face meetings and telephone interviews with company owners or managers of businesses on the south side of Interstate 80, north of the Truckee River, east of Rock Boulevard and along Vista Boulevard.

Businesses queried ranged from a 200,000-square-foot logistics provider to 500-square-foot users.

The survey findings:

* 22 percent of businesses were extremely confident in the state of their operations.

* 36 percent were overly confident they saw the potential for growth, and the worst of the recession was behind them.

* 30 percent of respondents felt that business will remain flat.

* 9 percent said their confidence in continued operations was low and that they were unsure of their future.

* 3 percent had no confidence in their businesses’ future.

“In that Sparks industrial submarket you have nearly every industry represented,” Harris says. “I would have expected more to the middle and low confidence, but seeing the people out there in the market being excited and confident that things have turned around and have growth potential, that is exciting. People will be growing and looking for new space, and if businesses here are doing well more business will want to be here.”

Harris conducted the study to gauge business owners happiness with their locations. The majority of business owners in Sparks industrial properties run their operations from aging warehouse properties many built in the early 1970s that don’t draw interest from the new companies moving into the region due to their age, size and lower clearance heights than new industrial properties. However, the survey found that business owners often cite the ease of getting in and out of Greg Street and Glendale Boulevard, convenient access to the freeway and rail lines and nearby truck stops as main reasons why they are still located in east Sparks.

Greg Leach, president of Leach Logistics on Glendale Boulevard, says fear of flooding is always a concern for businesses located in that part of Sparks, though. Leach Logistics had 18 inches of standing water in its warehouses in 1997, which cost the company about $2.3 million dollars and more than three weeks of production. Leach Logistics also lost a few contracts or was passed on by others as companies feared the potential for future flooding.

Leach says business couldn’t be better today, though. The company has a new product it recently brought to market, and a $1.8 million investment in dry heat and steam sterilization equipment has opened new avenues of revenue as well.

“We took that opportunity during the recession to put a lot of money back into the business,” he says. “We saw an opportunity and a need in the market, and we expanded. For us, the outlook is real strong.

“Life is a pendulum, and it hit a low,” Leach adds. “But if you are growing today, that is a good sign, because it is only going to go up.”

Leach predicts roughly 30 percent growth this year alone.

Candice Mileham-Pratt, vice president of Filter Connections, also says her company is growing and maintains a positive outlook for the next few years. Filter Connections operates out of a 5,000-square-foot space on Freeport Boulevard, and though the rent is a little too high for Mileham-Pratt, she says the location is ideal for her customer base. Filter Connections provides filters for commercial HVAC contractors.

“We had growth last year and growth this year over last year, so I think we’re are on the right track and we are getting better,” she says. “I think we are headed into a better direction.”


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