We had a nice profile in the Salinas Californian, our local newspaper. As you might guess, they were very interested in jobs for the local community, still it’s always nice to see your company’s name in print! We’re getting a copy framed for the showroom.
The article is only available in their “archive” at this point, so here is the text.
February 9, 2013
Pizza Oven Maker Moves to Salinas
After nine years of impressive growth, Forno Bravo, a global manufacturer of residential and commercial pizza ovens, has found a new home in Salinas.
Forno Bravo, which is still decorating its new headquarters on West Market Street, employs about 30 skilled workers, and plans to bring that number to more than 40 in about a month as the company ramps up to meet spring and summer demand, said Brent Wooldridge, engineering manager for the company.
While it can no longer be called a start-up, the company has grown from a boutique maker of ovens in 2003 to having a global presence in just nine years. The brainchild of retired Silicon Valley marketing executive James Bairey, the company has a network of dealers in North America, the United Kingdom, Holland, Denmark, Australia and Asia.
“And we are in the process of selling a unit in the Maldives,” said sales representative Amber Cuellar, who was out helping guys load a unit for a customer Friday afternoon. The Republic of Maldives is a chain of islands about 250 southwest of India.
The company started moving to Salinas from Marina last month after deciding it needed a single building — it was spread out over two buildings in Marina — and space to grow.
Bairey knows his way around the world of high-growth companies. As a high-tech marketing executive, he worked with companies that included Microsoft, Intel, Apple, 3Com and Novell, as well as scores of successful start-up companies. While he has lived in Spain, England, Austria and Italy, he now lives in Pebble Beach and consequently set up manufacturing in Marina and now Salinas.
Forno Bravo does much of its marketing online, which affords them the ability to market internationally. The gas- and wood-fired ovens range from smaller residential units for about $1,200 to large commercial ovens priced just under $10,000. The company also sells everything from gourmet basalmic vinegar and pizza-making kits to terracotta bakeware and outdoor fireplaces.
The company started out marketing solely to the residential market, but the commercial side is what is currently driving growth, Wooldridge said. The reason is obvious. An August 2012 Packaged Facts survey shows that 97 percent of U.S. adults eat pizza, and 93 percent have gotten food from a pizza restaurant in the past 12 months.
Making pizzas at home, where consumers can control ingredients, has also been trending up. According to NPD’s National Eating Trends survey, pizzas prepared at home increased to 6.4 billion in 2010 from 5.4 billion in 2009.
The success of Forno Bravo — Italian for “baked good” — is also a plus for Salinas in terms of tax revenue and the up to 45 jobs the company brings with it.
Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter, writing in the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce publication, said he requested an expedited permit process for the deal, something Daniel Vorhies, an associate vice president at Cassidy Turley, a commercial real-estate brokerage in Salinas, said he appreciated.
“Absolutely,” Vorhies said. “Joe (Gunter), Jeff Weir, Robert Latino and Courtney Grossman (all with the city of Salinas) understood what we needed to get the deal done.”
Before the lease by Forno Bravo, the building at 251 W. Market had sat empty for roughly five years, Vorhies said, adding that the building’s owners also “worked hard to lure the company from Marina.”