Members of the McCaffrey family, winner of the 2018 California Family Business Award, will speak at this year's event Sept. 4 in Fresno.

published on May 24, 2018 - 3:06 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The McCaffrey Group was selected as the top family enterprise in the Institute for Family Business’s California Family Business Award program.

More than 200 people attended the awards event at Fort Washington Country Club in Fresno Wednesday night. The annual event is hosted by the Institute for Family Business at Fresno State.

This year 115 nominations were received for the prestigious award, which were whittled down to 20 businesses that were interviewed by local judges. From there 10 family businesses were selected as award honorees, with the McCaffrey family winning the top honor after another round of out-of-state judging. The Hobab family, owner of the Deli Delicious franchise, was honored as a “Rising Star” winner for up-and-coming family businesses.

Friday’s print edition of The Business Journal is devoted to the winner and honorees of the California Family Business Award. Here are some of the highlights:


California Family Business Award winner: The McCaffrey Group, Inc.

Though the company hasn’t always had the McCaffrey name, they’ve been building homes in the Central Valley for over 50 years and it all started with its founder, John Bonadelle.

Discharged from the army due to a back injury during WWII, Bonadelle was asked to do construction work on someone’s home and found the work so gratifying that he started buying lots and building homes.

Time passed, and after having hired trade contractors to help with the work, he started building subdivisions, the first ones being near the Fresno State campus, Saint Agnes Medical Center and Manchester Center.

In 1980, after having built 10,000 homes, Bonadelle let his daughter Karen and her husband Bob McCaffrey acquire the business and they gave it the McCaffrey name.

Today, Bob is serving as president, and Brent, the couple’s son, is serving as CEO.

Over 9,000 homes have been built under the McCaffrey name and the company is currently working on its biggest project to date. A 1,600-acre master planned community is scheduled to open in the fall in Madrea County that will include more than 5,100 new homes, businesses, a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school, a fire station and a sheriff’s substation.

Karen credits the third generation of her family, Brent, and her son-in-law, Ash, for spearheading the new development and that she is thankful for being able to work with her family.

“As a parent, it’s just deeply gratifying to work with your son and daughter and son-in-law and daughter-in-law and watch them blossom and develop,” she said.


Rising Star: Deli Delicious

In the 1980s, Mohammed Hobab, an engineer and banker from Iran, came to Fresno and in 1995, bought a local sub-sandwich shop called Deli Delicious and turned it into a franchise with 53 locations across California.

This year, the Small Business Association named Hobab the winner for its Small Business Person of the Year and the Hobab family was honored with the Institute for Family Business’ Rising Star Award.

The Deli Delicious office works closely with all of the franchisees and works with Fresno State and other colleges to find and help future entrepreneurs.

“You have folks that are just graduating from college — they have never initiated a business startup,” said Ali Nekumanesh, vice president of Deli Delicious Franchising. “The franchise support office takes this person through all the steps of negotiating a lease, finding a site, finding contracts, building the restaurant and going through a 31-day extensive training.”

There are stores from Sacramento to Bakersfield and into the Central Coast. The company is looking for growth opportunities with a new store opening in Corona and possible franchises in Washington and Utah.

Award honorees:


Charles McMurray Company

The Charles McMurray Company, founded in 1946, is a wholesale distributor of cabinets, doors, hardware and surfacing products that serves California, Nevada, and Southern Oregon.

With two locations in Fresno, and two in Sacramento, Charles McMurray Company employs 110 people that help buyers choose the exact products needed for a project.


Gianni Fine Jewelers

Gianni Fine Jewelers in North Fresno has a reputation for their hands-on expertise, and the family run business is set apart by the one-of-kind type pieces from all over the world with something in all price ranges.

It is run by Sonya Jelladian-Gage, her daughters Gina Jelladian and Stephanie Bedrosian, and their design associate Mary Papaleo. The company has been in business since its founding as Jewels Unlimited in 1972.


Affinity Truck Center

Fresno’s Affinity Truck Center is a multi-generational family owned truck sales and service dealer that sells Mack, Volvo, and Autocar trucks, and offers a complete line of new and used trucks.

Founded in 1980 by the Howard and Pollack families as Central Valley Truck Center, the company rebranded itself as Affinity Truck Center after the Howard family sold all its shares to the Pollack family this year.


Groppetti Automotive

Groppetti Automotive is an auto dealership with locations from Visalia to Gilroy to Santa Cruz, selling brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, and Kawasaki.

Don Groppetti started the company with his wife Shelley in Visalia in 1994 and today employs more than 320 full time employees and has grown to $300 million dollar in sales. Two of their sons work with the company today, having moved up the ladder from car washers to management.


Hellwig Products

Since 1946, Hellwig Products have been manufacturing spring and suspension parts for vehicles. Originally founded in Glendale, the company’s current location just north of Farmersville manufactures helper springs, air suspension systems and sway bars for a variety of vehicles. Their products are sold around the world.

Rudy and Don Hellwig started the company in 1946. Don’s son, Mark, and his daughter Melanie White run the business. Mark serves as CEO and her grandfather Don serves as chairman of the board.

There are 53 employees currently working at the company, some of which have been with the business for decades.


La Tapatia Tortilleria

La Tapatia Tortilleria went from a side job to a big business that ships tortillas to foreign countries such as South Korea, China, Malaysia and Jordan.

Started in 1969 by Helen Hanson after she bought tortilla making equipment and hired a worker to make the tortillas, Hanson has expanded her operation to make more than 284 million tortillas a year at its Fresno plant.

A big part of Hansen’s success comes from running the business with her four daughters who work in human resources, marketing and social media, sales, and finance and accounting.


Mountain Valley Express

Mountain Valley Express is a family owned business based in Manteca that focuses on overnight and second-day freight services and primarily serves manufacturers of industrial commodities.

The business operates with more than 200 trucks and collects over $50 million in annual revenue. It is run by CEO Scott Blevins, stepson of founder Charles Giles, and his son Derek, who has been COO since 2016.


Pioneer Equipment Co.

Through their business, Pioneer Equipment Co., the Wilson family has been delivering agricultural products, services, and farm machinery for more than three decades.

The family business was started in Idaho by Herman T. Wilson in 1988 and has grown to five locations in the founding state, and two in California — one in Fresno and one in Reedley.

Today, Herman’s son Dale runs the business as general manager, and is getting the next generation in on the family business, as Dale’s daughter and stepson are now also employed in the business.


Steel Structures/ Riley’s Brewing

For 66 years the Riley’s family steel business has made several business moves and changes, and in that time is has been run by three generations of the family.

Based in Fresno, Steel Structures builds steel tanks for a number of industries, taking in about 40 to 50 orders in any given week in the Central Valley and across the country.

CEO of Steel Structures Dan Riley also runs Riley’s Brewing Company and is training the fourth generation of his family for the business — his two sons.


Whelan Financial 

For 30 years, Whelan Financial has served as a financial advisory firm in the Central Valley. 

Based in North Fresno, the company was founded in 1988 and serves 258 clients. Their services include 401K investments, along with management for individuals and families.

Whelan financial is helmed by founder and CEO Vincent Whelan, who currently has his son and daughter—Taylor and Riana—on staff.

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