SP Materials: State $1.1M loan to help create new recycling business
Santa Paula News
Published: February 01, 2013
A $1.1 million special state loan will help fill a need that in turn will fill spaces with recycled materials destined to become roadways after Santa Paula Materials received the funding to expand its East Santa Clara Street operation. The ceremonial check for the proposed expansion - considered in the category of “green” business practices - was presented Thursday to Santa Paula Materials’ owner Mile Grbic and his son Roko Grbic, the company’s manager.
The company is located just south of Highway 126 and east of 12th Street. Part of the parcel is leased from the city, which benefits the Harding Park Trust.
According to David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst with Ventura County and the administrator of the county’s Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ), the company will go from cleaning boulders from Santa Paula Creek - which helps water flow in the seriously flood prone waterway - and crushing them to “now going a step further, recycling concrete and asphalt. It’s going from one public good to another.”
The funding received by the company is one of the program’s larger loans, and being in the RMDZ zone also benefits recycling companies through assistance including expediting permits with cities and other local agencies.
Goldstein said the initial recycling program of concrete and asphalt is just the first step for Santa Paula Materials, who will branch out their operations in stages to include construction demolition debris that “down the line” will require more permitting. Eventually, county Environmental Health will be paid a fee for required oversight.
Santa Paula Planning Director Janna Minsk noted Grbic had taken what had been an “underutilized property” and turned it to a location that receives tons of creek boulders that are crushed into gravel. “It benefits the city” not only by helping creek flow, but also with the storage and resale of the aggregate.
Fire Chief/Building & Safety Director Rick Araiza said a meeting was planned for that same afternoon with Minsk, Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez - who also attended the check ceremony, and the company’s owner to discuss the planned expansion of enterprise services including, said Yanez, reporting on recycled materials. “They’re still in the setup stages, the planning stages,” noted Araiza.
Bruce Stenslie, director of the Economic Development Corporation of Ventura County, said of the nonprofit, “Our passion” is getting firms such as Santa Paula Materials on firmer ground for future success.
According to a statement sent announcing the loan, the RMDZ program also has a niche, combining recycling with economic development to fuel new businesses, expand existing ones, create jobs, and divert waste from landfills. This program provides low-interest loans, technical assistance, and free product marketing to businesses using discards to manufacture their products.
Supervisor Kathy Long said the loan is “a great investment for Santa Paula... jobs and green businesses are grown here and will grow more” through enterprises such as Santa Paula Materials. “I’m excited for them!” noted Long.
City Councilman Jim Tovias said the “new owners have done a wonderful job” at the formerly blighted location where Santa Paula Materials is now located. “I hope to extend the review period” Santa Paula Materials must undergo from an annual basis to up to three to five years. The extension, said Tovias, would allow the owners to “be more comfortable to invest” in their business.
“This is going to be very helpful to East Area 1 and East Area 2,” Limoneira residential and commercial developments, as, Tovias said, “they will complement each other.” Tovias added Santa Paula Materials will not only offer local jobs, but also recycling services.
A press release noted Santa Paula Materials would use the loan to “develop a new market for the county’s heaviest recyclables. Demolished concrete and asphalt, brought to SP Materials by contractors and road crews, is crushed by massive hammers inside towering machines at SP Materials and conveyed neatly into piles sorted by particle size.” The crushed material “is used by these same contractors and road crews to build new roads throughout the region.”
The loan to Santa Paula Materials has a 15-year payback term at an interest rate of four percent, much lower than what banks usually offer for business loans.
Mile Grbic, a Croatian immigrant, started working in the aggregate materials business when came to the United States in the mid-1980s. “I’m excited,” Grbic noted. “We have a long way to go,” but now can start the expansion which will include acquiring equipment among other plans.
Roko Grbic said his father decided to start recycling concrete and asphalt about a year ago, and since then the company has tripled its employees from two to six. The company has plans to keep growing.
“A year ago, we didn’t have any equipment and we were struggling to stay alive,” he said during the ceremonial check presentation. “This,” he noted, “is a huge step for us.”