A brutal economic downturn left many for-profit companies scuttling building plans in 2007, but Beth Hassett pushed ahead with a $2.6 million construction project she inherited when she became executive director of the nonprofit WEAVE.
It was past time to replace a rickety, rat-infested safe house where women came to escape domestic abuse, Hassett said, but the time didn't seem ideal. Her operating budget had plummeted to $3.2 million from about $4 million. Sacramento County, facing shortfalls, slashed its contribution to WEAVE by half a million dollars. The state, however, provided a $1 million grant toward the project.
"We had to raise the rest of it in '07, '08 when nobody had any money and everyone was losing their jobs," Hassett said. "It was painful."
Perhaps it was all that pain that yielded a gem of a 12,000-square-foot safe house with 18 bedrooms, hardwood floors, cozy kitchens and oodles of space. Its location is kept secret to protect clients. Designed by Sacramento architect Jon Westphal, it is a place so welcoming that children send letters to the staff saying, "I don't want to leave."
Their parents don't either, and that is just what Hassett and her staff want.
"We've found that 21 days is the magic number," she said. "If we can keep them here for 21 days, they are much less likely to return to their abusers."
For clients who need longer to get on their feet, Hassett now can offer four two-bedroom, two-bath cottages. Construction was finished in December at a cost of about $1.1 million, the lion's share of which came from the state's Emergency Housing and Assistance Program.
Hassett isn't done building. A donor recently gave WEAVE about a half-acre of land adjacent to its 2.4-acre campus, and Hassett plans a park once she raises funds.
He fuels innovation
Kyle Fowler envisions a day when Jiffy Lube customers won't have to come to the counter or go into the garage to talk with technicians about their cars.
Rather, his employees will pick up an iPad and find customers wherever they are having coffee in the lobby or outside on a smoking break. To be more accurate, Fowler isn't just thinking about it he's part of a corporate committee that Jiffy Lube has enlisted to find the right sales solution to roll out nationwide.
Though Fowler is 36, he has a long history at Jiffy Lube. His father, Don Fowler, bought three stores back in 1986, and his son couldn't resist tagging along.
"I started washing windows when I was 11 years old in the summer," he told me, "and then I worked up to inventory management. Now here I am today."
Don Fowler owns 30 Jiffy Lube locations through his West Sacramento-based Broadbase Inc., and his son helps to ensure that operations run smoothly. The company has sales of about $30 million a year and has become a place where Jiffy Lube tests ideas before rolling them out systemwide.
In the past, Don Fowler has received the honor of Franchisee of the Year, but it was his son who brought home the hardware this year. Jiffy Lube corporate recognized Kyle Fowler for helping to lead innovation throughout the whole chain.
"I found out the night of the awards dinner, and I was shocked because there are a lot of people who work hard within the franchise community," Kyle Fowler said. "They sit on a lot of committees and work to make the franchise better. I felt like 'I'm not worthy,' but I definitely volunteer a lot of time to work with corporate and a lot of the other franchisees."
Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193.