All About DSELF

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By Courtney Wood

Did you know that the Downtown Stockton Alliance (DSA) administers loans from $10,000 – $65,000 for small businesses in the downtown area through the Downtown Stockton Enterprise Loan Fund (DSELF)? Read on to learn more about this useful economic development tool.

What is the DSELF?

The Downtown Stockton Enterprise Loan Fund (DSELF), a 501(c)3 existing under the umbrella of the DSA, is a “non-profit, multi-bank community development corporation created to facilitate economic development in Stockton’s economically under-served central city.”

This successful loan fund exists due to the 2006-2007 initial contributions of $172,000 from the following lending institutions:

  • Bank of Agriculture & Commerce         
  • Bank of Stockton          
  • Community Bank of San Joaquin
  • Guaranty Bank
  • Oak Valley Bank        
  • Wells Fargo Bank                      

Over the last 13 years, through the administration of loans to businesses like Juice it Up!, Chitiva’s, The Campus Downtown, J. Rusten Furniture Studio, and The Deliberation Room, the fund has grown to over $216,000!

How is the DSELF structured?

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, the DSELF is governed by a board of directors who provide policy oversight. The loan application process is guided by the DSELF Administrator, currently Courtney Wood of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, while the pre-approval scoring and loan recommendation is performed by the Business Loan Manager, currently Steve Lantsberger of the SJ Economic Development Department and Revolving Loan Fund.

Why is the DSELF important?

DSELF funds are used to provide much-needed capital to small and mid-size downtown businesses who typically “lack sufficient up-front equity and historic profits for conventional financing,” at an interest rate of prime + 2% (DSELF Mission).

Through the DSELF, businesses who may not meet a bank’s loan criteria still have the opportunity to access capital to open or grow their enterprises – and create jobs! – without being gauged by exorbitant interest rates that cut into their profits.

Since the DSELF isn’t a bank, is it easy to get a loan?

Although the DSELF is aimed at non-traditional borrowers, because the loans are considered “high-risk” there is still a detailed approval process which must be completed in order to approve a loan and protect the fund.

What is the application process like?

This year, the DSELF Board revamped the DSELF loan process and procedures. In addition to changing the loan range from $5,000 – $50,000 to $25,000 – $65,000, they decided to break the loan approval process into the four phases outline below:

  1. Pre-Qualification, which entails the initial application and non-refundable $200 fee, a credit score check, the submittal of an executive summary, and an interview with the DSELF Administrator
  2. Pre-Approval, which involves the submittal of 19 items outlined in the pre-approval checklist. These items include things like a business plan, financial statements, tax returns, description of collateral to be pledged, and resumes of the business partners, etc.
  3. DSELF Board Interview, which allows the board to ask an applicant questions regarding their application, business, loan request, etc.
  4. DSELF Board Vote, which makes the final decision regarding approval of a loan that has made it through the previous stages.

In Phases 1 & 2, a rubric is used to determine an applicant’s score and whether they proceed to the next stage in approval. In Phase 4, a majority vote is required to grant final approval.

The brevity of this process depends upon how quickly the applicant can submit all required documents to the DSELF administrator. It is recommended that applicants submit everything required within 90 days from the initial application date to ensure information being reviewed is up-to-date and accurate.

Who can apply?

The DSELF’s mission is to provide loans to businesses which fall within the Downtown Stockton Alliance PBID District. Apart from being located in downtown, to even be considered, applicants must be running or intending to run, completely legitimate operations.

What can a DSELF loan be used for?

Fortunately, DSELF applicants can use their loans for a variety of business expenses, from space renovations/buildouts to marketing materials. A few of the most common eligible uses are listed below:

  • Inventory   
  • Working capital for rent, utilities, telephone, insurance, etc.  
  • Equipment                           
  • Production of sample lines
  • Product development 
  • Initial advertising/promotion campaigns
  • Office supplies
  • Building and leasehold improvements

Is DSELF taking applications for new borrowers at this time?

Yes! The DSELF is looking to lend out additional money within the next year. Apply!

Where can I go for more information?

If you or someone you know has a downtown business and you want to learn more about the DSELF, call 209.888.8630; email [email protected]; attend a DSELF board meeting – held the 2nd Tuesday of every month, at 12:00 PM in the DSA offices; click here to view the application; or click here to view the application guide.

This page has additional information about DSELF.

Take advantage of this amazing resource only available to downtown businesses!

Economic Development

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By Andrew Rocha

Downtown Stockton is a lively place with people coming and going to live, work, and just enjoy themselves. To support such a community, a lot of time and effort has to be put into many different aspects and areas so that it will continue to thrive. One of these areas is in economic development. At the Downtown Stockton Alliance, Courtney Wood works as the economic development coordinator and has been serving in that role since Autumn of 2017. 

What is Economic Development?

Courtney Wood

But what is economic development? Courtney Wood explained, “The economic development aspect at the DSA is aimed at fostering economic growth, which fuels the community’s well being. With more economic growth, there will be more disposable income downtown. This means better resources and quality of life for those who live and work here. What I do is basically keep track of who owns what property, get in contact with them, see what they are trying to do with the property, and then based on what they tell us about what their plans are, we try and see if we can support them in anyway. “

In her position, Courtney Wood ensures that those property owners have the full support of the DSA. This includes having access to resources needed to succeed in their endeavors. One recent example is with the Bearpaw Group, who purchased three buildings downtown. “We wanted to see what their goals were. It turns out they bought the three buildings and were interested in turning them into mostly residential units.” Courtney Wood shared, “Some of their spaces are live and work spaces, so that means people are getting a great deal. Because they can have their working and living space for a rent that would be half of what they would pay for two separate spaces. So that was neat and we were there to listen to what they were doing and support them.” 

Enhancing Economic Development in Downtown

For Courtney Wood, being an economic development coordinator has been a positive experience. She has learned more and grown while serving the downtown Stockton community. In addition, she has taken initiative to improve the area for property owners. “I have had a lot of thought about things that we could do. For instance, I did see that our communication with property owners had been poor. We didn’t have very much outreach with them at all. So I gathered phone numbers and emails for as many property owners as possible. I compiled them all so we could send out regular notices to them.” By maintaining a close relationship with property owners, Courtney Wood has made property owners more comfortable in downtown Stockton and aware that there are resources available to help. 

As Economic Development Coordinator, Courtney Wood is making a difference in the district. As downtown Stockton continues to strive toward new heights and grow as a community, it is economic development that will play a large part in facilitating a bright and prosperous future.  

Downtown Banners

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By Andrew Rocha

Whether they are working hard or hanging out and having fun, people love downtown Stockton and are proud of the progress the district makes every single day. It’s easy to notice the sense of the pride the district has by walking around and seeing banners posted along the streets, letting everyone know that they are in downtown Stockton.

Many are probably already familiar with the All-American City Award banners around the Stockton Town Hall. An award that Stockton has received several times and is an award given by the National Civic League that is the oldest community recognition program in the United States. There are also the banners along El Dorado Street that highlight Stockton’s sports teams such as: the Stockton Ports, Stockton Heat, and the Stockton Kings. These serve as a reminder to everyone that this is a city with a sports legacy and culture, which is an integral part of downtown Stockton. 

Creating a Downtown Brand

New Downtown Stockton Banners went up before the end of 2018 along Weber Avenue catching everyone’s attention with a light blue, dark teal, and unique logo. The banners aim to create a brand that identifies the downtown district. It is something that everyone and every business downtown can associate with themselves. In fact, the light blue, Downtown Stockton logo on the banners can be used by any local business or organization that is interested. It is a brand for anyone who loves downtown Stockton. 

And the new banners are definitely a welcome addition by the community. “Since we’ve come back from holiday, I’ve had at least ten to twelve people say they’re amazing. They really pop and show pride for downtown.” said Mike Huber, the executive director of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, “I’ve had a lot of citizens tell me that they like the sports banners being up and the designs on those. They show that we’re a major sports city.” 

Matt Amen, executive director of Huddle Cowork + Create, shared a similar sentiment, “The new banners along the Weber corridor bring more color and life to Downtown Stockton! Looking forward to seeing more businesses represented on these throughout the district.”  

Not only is downtown Stockton a district that is making great strides in business and creativity, but it’s outward appearance is reflecting those efforts. It is a great place to live and work and the banners let anyone who visits know immediately that people take pride in downtown Stockton and want everyone to know it. 

DSA Banner Program

The Downtown Stockton Alliance’s banners are just one method to liven up the area with color! But it’s not just for the DSA and the sports teams! If you are a downtown businesses and/or organization and would like your own banner displayed within the district, we’ve put together a short summary on how to apply for your own banner!

  • Choose how many banners you want to purchase
  • Choose the banner sizes
  • Choose the banner locations 
  • Sign a 3-yr. contract with the DSA for the leasing of the poles and pay the annual fee
  • Send DSA artwork to be printed on the banners (or work with DSA to design the artwork if needed) 
  • Approve the digital banner proof
  • Watch the banners go up!

For the complete, detailed list of steps to follow, visit our website at downtownstockton.org

Pioneers of Downtown Stockton

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By Andrew Rocha

Downtown Stockton has been experiencing a period of resurgence. Businesses are opening and happily accepted by the community! In addition, many people are showing interest in living in downtown. It is an exciting time to be downtown!

But a lot of what is happening downtown would not be possible if not for the time and effort from several figures in the community. Not only have they shown enough interest in the district to use their resources in fostering the downtown area, but their passion for the area is sparking interest and attracting more people to visit downtown Stockton. Growth and new life in downtown would not be possible without their efforts!

Bali Ranchhod

Bali Ranchhod and the S&M Ranchhod Family Trust own several properties in downtown Stockton including, 820/840 East Main Street, 526/530 East Main Street, and 47 North Grant Street. To help support growth and life in the area, Ranchhod explained that,

“We encourage new businesses into our properties in downtown by offering low rents and assisting with establishment as possible…We have recently become involved with the Downtown Stockton Business Watch and their efforts to improve security. Just having tenants in formerly vacant properties and generating some traffic flow is helping keep downtown active and help with its new growth.”

Bali Ranchhod’s father, Shamjibhai Ranchhod, came to Stockton in the early 70’s for a better life than what was available in their home of Zambia. Though it was a struggle, Shamjibhai Ranchhod worked hard for his family and the downtown community. Bali Ranchhod shared,

“He would take over any distressed property and try to make it work. He would get sellers to carry a note with a small amount down and worked hard to keep up with payments, manage tenants and do the necessary maintenance (mostly himself and getting help from the cheapest contractors available). He was a good negotiator and a lot of folk did jobs for him simply because of his persistence and character.”

Cort Companies

Cort Tower

Cort Companies is a full-service commercial real estate and development company. They renovate and restore buildings that are integral to the history of downtown Stockton. Cort Companies has been serving the community for 40 years. In that time, around two million square feet of space have been restored. Dan Cort, the president and CEO of Cort Companies expressed that he believes more people will be drawn to the district because of Cort Companies’ hard work and the businesses that have chosen to work with them. It is a community effort that is helping downtown Stockton grow.

Mahala Burns, the senior broker of Cort Companies, mentioned some of the projects that Cort Companies is working on. One of their main goals is to bring new residents to the downtown area. These projects to draw new residents include Tretheway Live+Work Lofts at the historic Tretheway building, a space for those who want an area where they can comfortably live AND practice their business. According to Mahala Burns, more and more people are showing interest in downtown Stockton and overtime life will be thriving like it never has before.

Melvin Corren

A 94-year old Stockton native, Melvin Corren, leads a class titled “Revitalization of Downtown Stockton” in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of the Pacific. In this class, Melvin Corren and various people from the city government and local organizations suggest ways in which downtown Stockton can return to its former glory.

“My drive for doing all of this has been number one, because I remember when downtown Stockton was such a vibrant place and I would like to see it return to that state.” said Corren.

Bob Hope Theatre

In 1901, Melvin Corren’s grandfather opened a furniture store on San Joaquin Street in Downtown Stockton. He remembers those old and wonderful times downtown. He also shared some ideas that would benefit the area while paying respect to the area’s rich history. One idea is to compliment the iconic Bob Hope Theater with a Bob Hope Plaza or museum to celebrate the life and work of Bob Hope, perhaps including a film of Alex Spanos dancing with Bob Hope. Such a project would not only give people an incentive to visit and live in downtown Stockton, but also a reason to care and cherish the area.

Downtown Stockton is an area that is on the rise. Members of the community can help support the new life and growth in the area by simply supporting the businesses that are located there and spend time enjoying the atmosphere of downtown’s city life.

Written by Andrew James Rocha

Living Downtown

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By Andrew Rocha

Downtown Stockton is not just a great place to hang out with friends and grab a bite to eat, but it also has numerous living options. Current and future housing projects welcome new residents with a variety of spaces that will fulfill the needs of a diverse population.

University Lofts 

There are so many places to choose from when moving to Downtown Stockton, including the University Lofts that sit along the waterfront. It is a seven-story full-scale housing, resort style, residential building, and it offers 51 suite-style lofts and 42 condo-style lofts. Not that far from the lofts, there is Stockton Arena, Banner Island Ballpark, and Weber Point Events Center. All of which are within walking distance of the building!

Cal Weber 40

The Cal Weber 40 Apartments are Downtown Stockton’s first affordable housing project. They are located at the intersection of California Street and Weber Avenue. The apartments include a total of 40 units. 28 are apartments with two bedrooms and one bathroom, and the remaining 12 apartments are with three bedrooms and two baths. Cal Weber 40 also provides residents with designated parking and common areas with computer labs.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES – CalWeber

Mansion House

Mansion House is an apartment complex located along Weber Avenue and just a short walk away from many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Amenities such as assigned parking, high-speed internet access, and washers and dryers, are available to residents. The apartment is three-stories and includes 26 units that overlook the County Superior Court and the Historic Hotel Stockton.

Hotel Stockton

The Hotel Stockton is a low-income housing community located in the center of downtown near the waterfront; the building has four-stories and includes 156 units. Residents have all of downtown within walking distance as well as amenities like a fitness center and a community room.

Hotel Stockton

Silvercrest Residences

There is also the Silvercrest Residences located on North Stanislaus Street. Silvercrest is a senior living community that is made up of 83 units. Affordable apartments are available for individuals who can live independently, though income restrictions may apply.

Tretheway Live+Work Lofts

There are also several projects currently underway to encourage more individuals to make Downtown Stockton their home. The Tretheway Live+Work Lofts is for those who not only want a space to operate their business, but also to live and relax. This is especially attractive to artists and entrepreneurs. The Tretheway Building is a historical landmark on Weber Avenue across from the County Superior Court. Mirroring most downtown living locations, it is not too far from entertainment and food. The Tretheway Live+Work Lofts are estimated to be ready in March 2019. However, five of the twelve Live+Work lofts are already reserved, so there is plenty of interest in this location.

Tretheway Building

CalMain Lofts

Currently under construction are the CalMain Loft apartments. The complex is right across from Trail Coffee Roasters on Main Street. The CalMain Lofts are made up of one bedroom, two bedroom, and studio apartments with new kitchens and bathrooms, and high-end finishes.

Future CalMain Lofts

This is the best time to live in downtown Stockton – not only to have access to comfortable housing and a gratifying atmosphere – but also to witness and be a part of a community that is growing and becoming more recognized for its positive potential.