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La Tavola, ProSight, Central Payment add space, markets; Frank-Lin, Kiewit to move to the North Bay

From linen rentals to financial transaction processing to insurance underwriting to alcoholic beverage production to heavy construction, several companies in various industries have relocated or expanded in the North Bay this year.

La Tavola Linen

[caption id="attachment_24580" align="alignright" width="314" caption="La Tavola Linen supplied tablecloths, napkins and seat cushions for a Children's Chain fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. (Hilary Clark Events photo)"][/caption]

Herb and Betsy Stone started La Tavola Linen in April 2008 as a rental business for high-end tablecloths, napkins and other fabric items used for events such as weddings and parties.

From its former base of operations in a south Napa business park, La Tavola opened design showrooms in San Francisco and Beverly Hills in the closing months of that year. A third showroom opened in Santa Barbara in spring of this year.

In its short time in business, La Tavola Linen has garnered buzz among wedding and events planners.

For example, Jacki Allen and Jaimeson Gann of Jacki & Jaimeson in Lexington, Ky., wrote on their company blog about La Tavola's inventory and ecologically friendly cleaning and transportation methods at the time of the Beverly Hills expansion.

"Their [selection of] samples [is] huge compared to other companies," they wrote.

La Tavola, Italian for "the table," uses more than 600 specialty fabrics to fashion tablecloths, napkins, runners, chair covers, cushions and pillows. Many of the tablecloths rent for $30 to $40 apiece.

Having a large selection of fabrics necessitated a much larger warehouse. In spring of this year, La Tavola relocated its Napa operations down the street to a 61,000-square-foot warehouse at 2655 Napa Valley Corporate Drive. The facility uses radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags to speed inventory processing for returns.

Frank-Lin Distillers Products Ltd.San Jose-based Frank-Lin Distillers Products expects to open its new 298,000-square-foot production facility in Fairfield this fall and is planning construction of a 78,000-square-foot second phase.

The company has 160 employees now and produces and distributes more than 10 million cases a year of distilled spirits and wines in its three-building San Jose complex. Some of the more than 2,000 selections in the brand portfolio are made under contract for companies such as Skyy, but many are developed by Frank-Lin. In recent years, the company added premium products to the portfolio.

Concerns about the loss of freight rail service to the San Jose location prompted the company to look for a new location. City of Fairfield staff wooed the company to Solano County with a combination of $22 million in state industrial facility bonds to build the new $34 million location. [See the story "Bond offerings help Fairfield attract bottling company," Aug. 16.]

It's not known yet how many will be working in Fairfield because of new automated equipment, according to Christina Maestri, marketing director. Some existing positions will be moved to the new location, and some existing employees will be transitioned into new roles, she said. The company will operate out of both locations for a while.

Frank and Lindley "Lin" Maestri started Frank-Lin Distillers Products in 1966 with a 60,000-case-a-year facility and two bottling lines, and now it is operated by one of their sons, Vince Maestri. A sister company, Vinco Wine & Spirits, markets the brands.

Kiewit Pacific Corp.

Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit Corp. is one of the world's largest construction companies, specializing in heavy civil projects.

The company has leased 32,000 square feet of office space being built in Green Valley Corporate Park in Fairfield to relocate the regional office from Walnut Creek.

Kiewit is expected to employ 110 jobs in Fairfield.

ProSight Specialty Insurance

Chief Executive Officer Joseph Beneducci, once the top executive of Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. of Novato, and several other industry veterans started ProSight Specialty Insurance Holdings Inc. in Santa Rosa early this year. The company is incorporated in Delaware.

The startup specialty property and casualty insurance carrier is backed by affiliates of TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs' GS Capital Partners. ProSight is expected to hire 150 in Santa Rosa.

ProSight started with seven employees in a 4,000-square-foot office in Basin Street Properties space by Sonoma County airport and in late July relocated to 15,000 square feet of high-profile space the landlord owns in the Fountaingrove area of Santa Rosa, according to Basin Street Vice President Scott Stranzl. [See the story "Insurer leases 15,400sf for Santa Rosa office," Aug. 9.]

At the time of the expansion, ProSight announced a pending $230 million stock acquisition of marine policy underwriter NYMagic, a publicly owned New York company. The deal is set to close in December. A class-action shareholder lawsuit was filed in a New York court in late July challenging the sale price.

Central Payment Corp.Central Payment, which processes more than $2.5 billion in financial transactions for more than 35,000 businesses, has 120 workers at its San Rafael headquarters office and about 750 nationwide. A deal late last year to handle transactions for top 10 bank card provider First National Merchant Solutions has brought in more than 11,000 new customers.

Twin brothers Zach and Matthew Hyman started Central Payment in 2005 and more than doubled the size of the headquarters in March of this year. [See the stories "San Rafael-based Central Payment expands with new processing partner," Aug. 30, and "Growing payment processor in San Rafael lease," Nov. 30, 2009.]

Central Payment last month made Inc. magazine's its list of the 500 fastest growing companies for the first time. The company ranked No. 18 among financial services companies and No. 309 overall with $47.2 million in revenue last year and 976 percent annualized growth over three years.