Costco got their building permit earlier this month for both their 150,000 square-foot Costco warehouse, valued at $13 million, and a second permit for their new 4,000 square-foot fueling facility, valued at just under $400,000. The Costco gas station is likely to be the town’s low-cost leader and will no doubt have the line up of cars to show it.

Around California, Costco is more often the lowest priced station listed on the website Gas Buddy. Nearby Visalia Costco is a typical example, selling gas on May 16 for $2.38 a gallon, about a nickel cheaper than any station in Hanford. Bigger bargains await for diesel fuel users.The Visalia Costco is selling diesel May 16 for $2.12, about 25 cents less a gallon than you can buy it in Hanford this week.

As oil prices rise this month, so will gas prices even though Californians are motoring more these days, according to the the Board of Equalization. Drivers bought 2.7 percent more gasoline in the fourth quarter of 2015, they say.

Who is coming in? 

We don’t know which retailers will locate at the new Costco shopping center - Hanford Marketplace - on the east side of town, although so far the betting is that Starbucks will have a location there.

Only one permit has been issued so far, for a Panda Express. Broker David Kennedy says tenants could range form 100,000 square feet on down. Smaller anchor stores that could be candidates range from TJ Maxx, Old Navy and Burlington Coat Factory to name a few.

”We will see some quick service food and cell phone companies” in the expansive 500,000 square-foot retail center. Kennedy says the shopping center will likely be built in phases. Costco itself, will be first to open before this coming holiday season.

Home building up in Kings

Home building in Kings County is on the grow, according to Construction Monitor. Permits for 131 new homes have been issued through mid-May 2016 compared to 101 homes this time last year and 86 during the same period in 2014.

Median price of homes climbs here

California Association of Realtors reports that in April the median price of a Kings County home sold climbed to $208,750, up 21 percent from a year ago when it was $172,860. However sales are down year-over-year by 6.6 percent.

Four dairy auctions set

Hanford’s Overland Sales Yard will handle several dispersal sales as more local diaries, hurt by red ink, shut their barn doors. CME milk futures have dropped from $16.50 in mid-November to just $12.33 this week, well below the cost of production for many operators.

In the next few weeks, four Tulare County dairies will auction off their cows and rolling stock.The farms include Bar 99 Dairy owned by Gary Zysling and family at 8061 Ave 360 - selling off 1000 cows at a May 20 auction; The Henry Brower Dairy near Lindsay with a May 25 auction; Also closing is J&E Dairy of Tulare owned by John and Edie Simoes at 3231 N Oakmore selling their cows May 24. Also Floyd & Gail Kampen Dairy sale will happen May 18. Their dairy started in 1950 in Artesia and moved to Visalia in 1972 - some 66 years in the dairy business. This is a complete dispersal and sale of 500 cows.

The Daily Dairy Report calculated Golden State dairies collective losses at $752 million last year. Since then, milk checks have gotten even smaller. California lost 32 dairies and 41,670 cows in 2015, and ”the pace of contraction is accelerating“ worries the Milk Producers Council.

This week the Wall Street Journal reported that ”Supplies of cheese, meat and poultry started building as farmers decided to expand their herds and flocks two years ago when prices were high and export markets were hot. Abundant stockpiles of grain made it less risky by pushing down feed costs. But the steady climb in the dollar has deterred major foreign buyers, causing supplies to back up in the U.S. just as production is surging to records. That is sending prices for many goods to their lowest levels in years.”

John Lindt is an independent business reporter. He can be reached at 

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