Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 4:42 pm | Fair 63º

BizHawk: Wells Fargo Bank Moving Into Former Blockbuster Building on Milpas Street

Mission Wealth adds new partners, Santa Barbara County unemployment rate increases and Retirement Benefits Group hires Daniel Sheehan

Wells Fargo plans to open a bank branch at the former Blockbuster location at 101 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara in early 2015.
Wells Fargo plans to open a bank branch at the former Blockbuster location at 101 N. Milpas St. in Santa Barbara in early 2015.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected]]

A Wells Fargo bank will move into the former Blockbuster location on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, slated to open in early 2015.

The banking corporation will improve the building at 101 N. Milpas St. before it’s able to open, generating six to 10 new bank teller jobs, according to Wells Fargo spokeswoman Julie Campbell.

The 2,619-square-foot spot, originally built for Great Western Bank, will be the fourth bank branch in Santa Barbara and the 11th in Santa Barbara County, Campbell said. Wells Fargo also has branches in Montecito, Lompoc, Goleta, Buellton and Santa Maria.

“Our goal is to find ways to better serve our customers and meet their financial needs,” she said. “One way we do this is by continuously searching for optimal locations that are convenient for our customers. For example, just this year, Wells Fargo opened our first store in the Isla Vista community, which is helping dozens of college students succeed financially.”

The building at the corner of Milpas and Mason streets has been vacant since January, when the area’s last Blockbuster location closed its doors. The news puts to bed a well-spread rumor that Starbucks was considering the location.

Mission Wealth Adds Firm Partners

Mission Wealth Management has added Andy Penso and Dannell Stuart as its newest partners in the firm, which is headquartered in Santa Barbara.

As advisers and leaders, the company said Penso and Stuart have made significant contributions to Mission Wealth's growth and success providing financial planning, retirement and estate planning, investment advice, tax strategies and more.

Retirement Benefits Groups Hires Daniel Sheehan

Retirement Benefits Group LLC, a retirement plan consulting and wealth management advisory firm, has announced the addition of retirement plan adviser Daniel Sheehan, CFP, AIF, RLP, to its professional staff.

Based in San Luis Obispo, Sheehan will offer retirement plan services and wealth management strategies to clients on the Central Coast and beyond.

Sheehan has more than 20 years of experience working in the corporate financial advisory, financial planning and wealth advisory fields, which provides him with an understanding of financial markets, products and regulations. He will focus on ensuring trustees are diligently managing their personal fiduciary liability and that employees are properly preparing for retirement.

County Unemployment Increases

The unemployment rate for Santa Barbara County in June was 5.4 percent in June — up from 5 percent in May and below last year’s 6.8 percent.

California’s unadjusted unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, one percent higher than the nation’s 6.3 percent, according to information released by the State Employment Development Department.

Job growth was recorded in most industry sectors, with the exception of losses in construction (200 jobs), manufacturing (200 jobs), and leisure and hospitality (1,200 jobs). The highest growth was in Professional & Business Services, which gained a total of (1,200) new jobs.

Government also saw an increase in the number of positions gained (400 jobs), and Trade, Transportation & Utilities showing a gain of (300) new positions.

Although the county labor force dropped by 0.8 percent in June — to 224,200 down from 225,900 in May — it has fluctuated only 2 percent since June 2013, when it was at 228,700. The overall number of employed workers in the county is currently at 212,200 with a labor force of 224,200.

Santa Barbara County came in eighth of the 10 state counties that had below 6 percent unemployment rates in June.

Hardy Diagnostics Employees Earn Certification

Hardy Diagnostics, an employee-owned Santa Maria company, this week announced three of its employees have earned certification as registered microbiologists in pharmaceutical and medical device microbiology with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.

To earn the NRCM credential, Christopher Massey, R&D manager, Kerry Davies Pierce, technical services manager, and Rianna Malherbe, R&D microbiologist/technical support specialist, met rigorous educational and experiential eligibility requirements and passed a comprehensive written examination.

The NRCM, founded in 1958, is a voluntary certifying body which has certified microbiologists in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and on six continents. The registry aims to minimize risk to the public by identifying qualified microbiologists, encourage mastery of microbiological knowledge and foster professional pride and a sense of accomplishment in qualified microbiologists. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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