Tulare downtown banks dwindle

West America Bank relocates away from the Tulare downtown, moving instead to Hillman near Prosperty

TULARE – Tulare is trying to revitalize their downtown district but it will be hard to do when employers opt to relocate away from it.

Downtown Tulare is home to two former bank buildings on the sales block now that West America Bank has relocated its branch to 1917 Hillman, near Prosperity. Their old location at 140 E. Tulare Ave. is for lease. West America moved last November. Citizens Business Bank’s former Downtown location at 256 N. K St. is also on the market. The bank left downtown a few years ago relocating to Prosperity Avenue.

Financial institutions are relocating to the city’s big box retail part of town following Chicago Title, who moved to that part of town as well, on Hillman. Chicago Title was formerly in downtown Tulare still has Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West and Bank the Sierra. It is not just financial companies that have exited the historical part of the city. A few months ago Walgreen’s closed at 49 W. Tulare Ave. and the 15,000-square foot store is for lease.

Heading to Downtown Visalia

Tri Counties Bank will relocate their Visalia branch to the former Rabobank/Mechanics Bank location at 618 W. Main St., now vacant. Their current site is at the corner of Noble and Pinkham. The move is expected this summer. A public notice said Tri Counties Bank applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to open a new branch in Visalia.

Established in 1975 and with assets of more than $7 billion, Tri Counties Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ:TCBK) headquartered in Chico, Calif. It is the 18th largest bank in the state of California and the 183rd largest bank in the nation.

No more Goshen jokes

Okay, Goshen does not have a lot of famous landmarks beside the detention basin known as “Goshen Ocean.” The Highway 99 town still is considered “disadvantaged” based on a large percent of low-income residents. But Goshen enjoys some distinct advantages lately.

They include being the new gateway to the booming Visalia Industrial Park and new highway interchange with opportunity on all four corners. That has drawn a host of development projects including several large new home subdivisions – both subsidized and market level. Then there is the new 16-acre TA truck stop with three fast food restaurants slated including a Burger King and a contracted Comfort Suites Hotel according to developer Luis Mota. A Starbucks is already open and the town’s first grocery store is in the works. This month a building permit valued at $600,000 was issued by the county to begin construction of the Burger King.

Then there is a Tesla supercharging station. Add to that the fact that Goshen and the Visalia Industrial Park continue to grow toward each other with large parcels in the county that have potential to attract more warehousing and industry. Several large parcels are for sale now.

All this activity has not gone unnoticed in Visalia. Mayor Steve Nelsen says Goshen may someday be ripe to annex “but not yet.”

Visalia Guitar Center to stay open

Visalia’s Packwood Creek retailer Guitar Center looks to stay open now that its parent company has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Guitar Center emerged from bankruptcy Dec. 31 after recently winning approval in federal bankruptcy court for its reorganization plan, the company said in a press release.

Visalia employees have been told it will stay open.

Start typing and press Enter to search