Written by Gabriel Dillard
I’ve often heard it said that Fresno’s economic plight would be much better off if a Fortune 500 company were headquartered here.
That’s absolutely correct, but it hasn’t happened so far, and probably never will. But there’s still reason to hope.
According to Fortune Magazine, the 500 most revenue-rich companies on their list represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $12.8 trillion in revenues, $1 trillion in profits, $21.6 trillion in market value and employ 28.2 million people worldwide.
If Fresno could land even a piece of that kind of business, think of how things could be.
I’ve been at The Business Journal for a dozen years, and I don’t believe I’ve ever had the occasion to write the word “trillion” when it comes to dollar dollar figures. Millions, yes. Billions? When we are talking about community bank assets, billions is the figure. Trillions is a whole other universe.
These companies represent the nexus between Corporate and Main Street America, considering the economic benefit they bring to their hometowns. In California, you’ll have to go to the Bay Area or Southern California to live next to a Fortune 500 company.
Travel east, and there are more Fortune 500 companies spread over smaller towns. Ever heard of Kingsport, Tennessee, population 48,000? It’s the headquarters of Eastman Chemical, with annual revenue of $9.5 billion. How about Moline, Illinois, population 43,000? That’s the home of Deere, the famous tractor maker that pulls in $29.7 billion annually.
It’s not like Fresno is not trying to land a Fortune 500 company. We put in our bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, though that went nowhere. But we are in the Fortune 500’s thumbprint. Amazon is set to open an e-commerce distribution center here. It cracked the Fortune 500’s Top 10 list for the first time with a No. 8 showing, representing $178 billion in revenues.
Ulta Beauty made its Fortune 500 debut this year at No. 471 with $5.8 billion in revenue. Ulta is also going to be opening up an e-commerce center in Fresno.
At No. 181, Gap is relocating e-commerce functions to its Fresno campus. The San Francisco-based retailer had $15.85 billion in revenues.
So will Fresno ever land a Fortune 500 company? My magic 8-Ball says “Don’t count on it.” But we are in their orbit. We can hope the quickest way to a corporation’s heart is through its e-commerce fulfillment.
And who knows?
The founder of a future Fortune 500 company could be mowing your lawn this weekend, or designing a web application for your business.