All in a Day's Work: 20 Cool Companies
Sep 04, 2018 02:19PM
Though our region boasts a bevy of businesses, certain places rise above the rest. From work perks that go beyond Casual Friday to others that have been on the block for over 100 years, the following companies are cutting-edge and seriously cool. In no particular order…
Culture is King
3131 Fite Circle, Rancho Cordova
Named after a red-tailed retriever named Tucker, this tech company is firmly “Team Take-Your-Dog-to-Work-Day,” every day. A leading provider of web-based client relationship management (CRM), compliant text messaging solutions, paperless offices, and e-mail archiving solutions for financial advisors, this Western financial technology pioneer has expanded its offices to Arizona and Georgia. Think you need a degree in computer science to earn a seat here? Think again: The company asserts that they consider nearly all degrees for roles, and they’re always accepting resumes. In addition to their dog-friendliness, they provide great health benefits, contribute to continuing education, pay a monthly stipend for gym memberships, and offer cell phone reimbursements, among other perks.
Tech for man’s best friend: The canine-loving company fosters pups from Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter. The latest addition to the office is Jack, a one-year-old brown-and-white mutt who’s rumored to steal your heart—and your treats.—LA
1900 Prairie City Road, Folsom
Employees: Close to 6,000
This Intel outpost is a 1.8 million-square-foot center for graphics, chipsets, and solid state drives, delivering innovative technology and support for a range of devices and client platforms. With employees situated all over the world, Intel is certainly global, but the company also champions locally by getting involved in schools and nonprofits in the community through programs like Helping Teachers, Helping Students where they partner with several schools in Folsom to put together and distribute supply kits to teachers in need. The progressive tech giant is also committed to improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions, and conserving resources, through one of the largest private on-site solar installations in California and the largest at Intel worldwide, numerous EV charging stations and carpool spaces on campus, and water reduction through turf conservation and upgraded irrigation systems.
Job perks: Oh, you have a gym? They have one too—and a pond with a jogging trail. Oh, you got a hand-held massager at last year’s Secret Santa? They offer on-site...massages...and on-site nursing rooms, and dry cleaning. And if that’s not reason enough to apply, more than half of their employees volunteer nearly 200,000 hours each year.—LA
5105 Manzanita Avenue, Carmichael
Offering comprehensive home support services that help older adults remain at home for as long as possible—as well as those who choose to live in one of Eskaton’s communities that feature everything from independent living to skilled nursing and rehabilitation—this life-enriching program is the largest nonprofit community-based organization serving seniors in the Sacramento region. What’s more, 55 percent of the seniors they serve live below the poverty line.
Age is just a number: More than 650 elementary school students and their senior “buddies” meet regularly each school year to read, write, and build friendships. The award-winning project, dubbed Eskaton Kids Connection, fosters impactful intergenerational relationships that focus on mutual respect, socialization, a sense of purpose, and shared smiles.—LA
5072 Hillsdale Circle, Suite 110, El Dorado Hills
In 1992, five independent insurance agents began weekly meetings to address the pressures of rising company volume requirements, profit sharing minimums, and general business pressures. PIIB was formed from those meetings as a means to enable their individual agencies to be more successful. Since then, PIIB has also helped more than 250 independent insurance agencies achieve success. “Independent by choice and united for strength” remains the company’s vision. PIIB currently represents companies in a total of nine states, from Washington to Texas and everywhere in between. Each affiliate has direct access to individual companies, making it more efficient for every agency involved. In less than 25 years, the brokers have grown the company from seven to over 200 affiliates—proof that their model is working.
Chew on this: It’s safe to say that any office that allows dogs is a happy office. Each of the employees at PIIB can bring furry friends to work, which is just one of the reasons this insurance broker company is ahead of the game.—AM
VoxPro—powered by TELUS International
255 Parkshore Drive, Folsom
For any large company, good customer service is a necessity and this customer-service-based company pulls out all the stops for both its clients and employees. Voxpro (powered by TELUS International, a global Canadian BPO) rewrote the script when it came to customer contacts, ultimately helping companies—both incredibly big, like Google and Airbnb, and small—provide better service to their customers, which is any company’s most important asset. The new take on outsourced customer service features two computer monitors at employee desks and what can only be described as loads of fun in the workplace, as VoxPro does its best to liven up their office with bright colors, funky furniture, and clever solutions to common problems.
Go big or go home: VoxPro is headquartered in Cork, Ireland, and also has offices in San Francisco and Dublin, a telltale sign of the exponential growth since their recent start in 2002 and new partnership with TELUS International.—AM
Folsom Dog Resort
120 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom
This most-awarded Folsom pet facility is almost fit for humans! The dog resort features an outdoor play yard with a special Doggie Waterpark (complete with a wading pool, misters, splash pools, and shaded areas with relaxing cots). Their mantra, “Safe, Happy, Healthy Pets!” rings true with highly trained, pet-loving staff members and their state-of-the-art security, cleaning, and ventilation systems. Services also include cat condos, doggie daycare, training, and grooming (dogs love their blueberry-scented facials!). What’s more, Folsom Dog Resort’s training effectiveness has an unmatched success rate, thanks to the special care they put into personally tailored programs made just for you and your dog.
Give where you live: They remain active in the community by sponsoring events, hosting donation drives, and appearing on fun exclusives through various TV channels.—AM
Oldies but Goodies
Handley’s Western Wear
314 East Bidwell Street, Folsom
With Sacramento being America’s farm-to-fork capital, there’s always a crop of farmers in the vicinity looking to expand their ranch hand regalia. Founded in 1961 by Chet Handley, the locally owned clothier is the go-to locale for outfitting the region with some of the finest boots, flannels, jeans, purses, and, of course, iconic cowboy hats. Whether you’re heading to the Folsom Pro Rodeo, working on the farm, or just looking for Western-themed threads, Handley’s has you covered from head to toe.
Hat’s off to you: When you purchase a hat at the shop, you can get it shaped on the spot for free.—LA
703 Sutter Street, Folsom
Located in the heart of Folsom’s Historic District, the cheerful bright green saloon—established in 1885—is one of the neighborhood’s best hangouts. When the sun goes down, the restaurant transforms into a vintage music venue, featuring local musicians and cover bands every night.
Folsom foodie alert: The building might be historic, but the menu isn’t. This gastropub serves up delights like candied bacon, breakfast burritos, and even the buzzworthy “Impossible Burger,” a vegan hamburger that you have to taste to believe.—LA
Rainbow Bridge Jewelers
721 Sutter Street, Folsom
With an intriguing selection of stones and materials in bold colors, Jim Kelly’s aptly named Rainbow Bridge Jewelers (RBJ) stands out from the rest of the pack. In fact, it seems more appropriate to call the building a gallery. Having celebrated their 40th anniversary last month, this shop has set itself apart from traditional jewelry stores by offering a wide variety of unusual yet beautiful pieces of art. Kelly is a silver and goldsmith whose work is unique to RBJ with jewelry designs ranging from delicate and empowering to geometric and sculptural. What’s more, RBJ focuses on emphasizing the whimsical and powerful within each design. Even better, the store makes sure to keep their prices reasonable so that everyone has the opportunity to wear something sparkly with confidence.
Heart for the arts: Co-owner and art director Dorothy Cormack is responsible for the "look" of RBJ. She curates the gallery and the website and searches for the work that will complement any taste. Her own sculptures also hang from the ceiling.—AM
Food & Drink Purveyors
The Chocolate Architect
250 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1335, Folsom
There are no walls to this architect’s creativity: licensed architect and chocolatier Becki DeKoning Tyner has re-engineered one of life’s simplest pleasures: chocolate. Similar to the center of a truffle, her trademarked “Chocolate Silk” is velvety, indulgent, and worth every calorie. The melt-in-your-mouth sweets come in 25+ seasonal varieties at any given time, hand-picked from a master list of more than 80 flavors, including creations like Baby, Bleu, Hot Chili Mango or Smokin’ Bacon Silk, in addition to a more traditional lineup and gluten-free options.
Wax on, wax off, please: Edible paraffin wax is often added to melted chocolate, giving it a glossy finish when hardened and preventing it from melting in your hand. It’s also a common additive because it doesn’t require chocolate to be properly tempered, a delicate trick of the trade that produces glossy shine and shelf stability. This chocolate architect, though, crafts her treats without any preservatives—including edible wax—and without trans fats.—LA
Dry Diggings Distillery
5050 Robert J Mathews Parkway, El Dorado Hills
Focused on locally produced farm fruit, grains, and wine, this distillery works with local farmers, vintners, and breweries to craft vodka, whiskey, brandy, and bourbon that represents the unique and beautiful terroir. Don’t miss the tasting room, which is beautifully decorated with nods to Northern California’s Gold Rush history.
Rye, oh, rye: As a throwback to early American-style whiskey, the Rubicon rye whiskey is double barreled in a hand-toasted and naturally fired barrel that gives it a unique taste and lingering finish. It’s named for the Rubicon Trail, a world-famous trail for off-roaders. Starting in Georgetown and ending in South Lake Tahoe, the stretch is only 17 miles, but many consider it to be the toughest “highway” in the country. It’s the same spirit that inspires the work required to produce this single-grain whiskey—it’s tough, but worth it, and no doubt creates lasting memories and stories.—LA
1136 Sibley Street, Folsom
Not many companies can say they’ve been around for almost 400 years. Gekkeikan Sake (then called Kasagiya) first opened in Japan in 1637. It became so popular over the next 300 years that the name changed to Gekkeikan—which means “crown of laurel”—and their sake began making its way to California. The U.S. branch opened in Folsom in 1989, and only uses rice from the Sacramento Valley for its Folsom-made lineup. The company regularly donates to organizations around the community, like the historical Wakamatsu Farm in Coloma, and sponsors the Folsom Pro Rodeo. They also frequently participate in local events like Community Asian Theatre and Taste of the Little City.
Sip on this: Swing by Gekkeikan’s tasting room (Monday through Friday and every second Saturday) for complimentary sips of five different kinds of their sake and a self-guided brewery tour (weekdays only) of their relaxing state-of-the-art space that boasts a koi pond and Japanese garden.—AM
731 Sutter Street, Folsom
When a candy company has stayed around for 55 years, you know two things are true: The candies are phenomenal, and the staff is even better. Snooks has been serving up the best possible confections to residents in Sacramento since 1963 and Historic Folsom since 1985. “One of the coolest experiences Snooks provides is the opportunity to see the candies being made on location,” owner and operator of the Folsom locale, Jim Snook says. A few examples of this delectable event are watching the 300-degree peanut (or cashew or macadamia!) brittle being poured out on the original marble table, or seeing the chocolate delicately drizzled on any number of mouthwatering treats—be it honeycomb, fudge, or caramels.
Customer service is key: Snooks enjoys hiring young people to help develop and hone their customer service and social skills with the public—skills they can benefit from throughout their lives. It’s Snooks’ dedication to providing top-notch service and drool-worthy treats that has made the fun and inviting store such a success.—AM
1000 Glenn Drive, Folsom
The Japanese makers of the ubiquitous bottle of soy sauce set up shop in Folsom in 1998. After opening an American headquarters in San Francisco 50 years ago, they looked for a new plant site, eventually settling on Folsom due to its proximity to Folsom Lake. (Soy sauce requires clear, clean, and pure water.) The soy giant is also a friendly neighbor: The State of California has awarded the company for waste reduction and environment improvement, and Kikkoman has contributed nearly half a million dollars to the Folsom community and charitable events.
Fun fact: “Kikko” means tortoise shell and “man” means 10,000 in Japanese. The significance? It’s a symbol of longevity; according to Japanese folklore, a tortoise’s lifespan is 10,000 years.—LA
Small Gone Big
4818 Golden Foothill Parkway, Suite 9, El Dorado Hills
Innovation meets style with these sleek belt enthusiasts, all of whom share one belief: Holes in belts are unnecessary. In 2004, founder Brig Taylor was teaching abroad in Moldova when a student presented him with a simple yet ingenious gift: a belt featuring a buckle that ratcheted into teeth-like ridges instead of a prong and worn-out holes. Taylor sought to stylize the belt and turn it into a mainstream marvel, but there was one caveat: ratcheting buckles were already public domain and a patent wouldn’t be possible until nine years later, when he improved and redesigned the buckle into a dual-ratchet lever. (He also added a bottle opener to the belt for good measure.) Today, the belts are shipped worldwide and offered in utility and fashion styles, kids’ sizes, and even vegan leather.
Job perks: Full-time employees enjoy 35-hour work weeks (paid hour-long lunches), subsidized gym memberships, chances to win money and prizes, an open vacation policy, and a game room with ping pong and VR. (Yes, they’re hiring—put in a good word for us?)—LA
90 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom
Founded in 2003, this tech company specializes in web-based industrial automation software for industries such as automotive, oil and gas, manufacturing, and food and beverage, among others. Their main product line is Ignition, an award-winning integrated software platform for SCADA systems. (SCADA, short for supervisory control and data acquisition, is a software that enables efficient monitoring and control of plant-floor machinery, while also enhancing capabilities for data analysis.
Kind of a big deal: Forty-eight percent of Fortune 100 companies use Ignition.—LM
1743 Creekside Drive, Folsom
This certified woman-owned, privately held company is making a huge difference in the medical research field. “StemExpress provides researchers around the globe with the human biological samples they need to complete vital work,” Natasha Clawson, director of administration, says. Typically, research and clinical trials are often put on hold waiting for the right samples, which can add months or even years onto projects. Now, StemExpress’ Stem Cell Collection Centers (SCCC) allow community members to donate blood or bone marrow for science, thereby shortening the time it takes to collect individual samples and isolate primary cells. They’re even a leading provider of several different biospecimens, thanks to their purity, viability, and quality guarantees.
Give and get: Compensation for donations range from $25-$550, and last year, the Folsom SCCC gave local donors a total of $240,325 worth of gift cards! What’s more, furry friends are welcome in their dog-friendly office (just not the lab)!—AM
4949 Windplay Drive, Suite 100, El Dorado Hills
ClearBags is the number one provider of crystal clear bags for packaging various retail items—think food, photographs, and everything in between. Their first priority is to promote, protect, and preserve their customers’ products. The company started by selling posters, but after numerous customers began purchasing the clear bags the posters came in, instead of the posters themselves, ClearBags was born. In the 26 years since, the company has evolved to function around its customers, including an expansion to Tennessee for those on the East Coast, and a custom team that constantly comes up with new and improved packaging ideas.
Did you know? ClearBags also sells boxes, stationery, and accessories to complete the packaging of any product, all available at wholesale pricing. With over 6,000 products in their inventory and ready to be shipped within one business day, it’s easy to find packaging fit for any occasion.—AM
4475 Golden Foothill Parkway, El Dorado Hills
A leader in the rail industry for over two decades, Paragon Products accounts for over 95 percent of the train fuel and lubricant market in North America. All around the world, the company is recognized as a pioneer by global diesel engine manufacturers and offers many products and services supported by patented technologies in support of fuel transfer systems, like fuel and oil pumps and valves. Engineering services are also available to troubleshoot existing functional challenges or create brand-new concepts for unique solutions. In addition to being globally recognized, Paragon is also frequently in local news. They’re a member of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce and sponsor and participate in many local charities and events.
Work perks: Employees are hardworking and innovative, and they have great benefits, including 100 percent company-paid health care, company picnics, and paid holidays.—AM
Sutter Street Cruisers
306 Riley Street, Folsom
Look no further than Sutter Street Cruisers for a wide variety of custom, classic, BMX, and vintage cruisers and accessories! Being in the heart of Historic Folsom has allowed the company to build not only bicycles, but also relationships with those around the region. What’s more, the company is “bridging the gap between motorcycle and bicycle by creating styles that reflect the rider’s personality” with the uniqueness of their own bike. With almost 1,200 items in their online store, even bicycles purchased elsewhere can be customized and personalized from their wide variety of parts and accessories.
And the winner is…The store has a number of accolades: They recently won The Shop Showdown in Las Vegas and a custom bicycle build-off staged at the worldwide gathering called CruiserCon for their chopper-inspired electric bicycle Chop SuEy.—AM
FOR MORE COOL COMPANIES, VISIT STYLEFEDH.COM.