Oakhurst Business Center – One Stop Shop | Sierra News Online

OAKHURST–When Christel Hays opened Sierra Global Tech (today Oakhurst Business Center) in 2018, she had a somewhat self-serving goal that would also benefit others. She wanted a local store that could offer everything she needed in one stop. She especially didn’t want to travel to Fresno to complete tasks that she felt should be available locally. Since several companies could offer parts of what she needed, but none offered them all, she decided to start her own.

Christel is very involved in logistics, hers and others, and she partnered with Ashley Kruser to start the business in their original location in the small center next to Camarena Health. Christel says, “I was a notary signing agent and needed a reliable place to pick up and drop off packages with urgent arrival dates. When Ashley, fresh out of high school, wanted to start her own business, her “Aunt Christel” gave her full support and still does. Christel leaves most of the day-to-day client interface to Ashley and on-site staff, while she performs background tasks and calls herself “retired.” She is always there whenever the company needs her help, even from remote locations when she travels.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Ashley has a four-generation commitment to this field and was determined to stay rooted here. Christel supported this decision. The two are going “back” since Ashley and Christel’s mother have been best friends since they were three years old.

“We cut our teeth on emergencies,” Christel says of the business. In July 2018, as they were putting the finishing touches on opening their original location, the Ferguson Fire started, followed by a pretty big winter, mild spring (thank goodness), and then from COVID, then the Creek Fire, followed by the devastating January 2021 windstorm. In July 2021, the River Fire began in the devastating footprint of the devastating Harlow Fire and threatened the town of Oakhurst. Thanks to the dedication and quick work of our firefighters, it was stopped quite quickly. Christel and Ashley, however, wondered if adversity was stalking them.

Through all of these events, the Oakhurst business center has persisted and thrived. In fact, they found that they needed a lot more space than they had in the original location. In May 2021, the Oakhurst Business Center moved to its current location at 40761 Highway 41, Suite 5, Bear Paw Quilts Mall, sandwiched between Pedal Forward and Yosemite Ax Throwing.

Almost as soon as they moved in, they found they were about to run out of space again to provide all the services they wanted to provide. But the Highway 41 site has real advantages, such as easily accessible parking in front of the store. There’s even enough room for people coming in for DMV services to bring their RV or big truck to have the VIN number checked.

OFFERED SERVICES

One of OBC’s biggest offerings right now is digital fingerprinting. Instead of having to travel to Fresno or Madera to do it, OBC can do it locally. A list of their services is long.

  • Vehicle registration and title service
  • Live fingerprint scan
  • Notary public services
  • Mailbox rental
  • Packing and shipping
  • FedEx, UPS, USPS Services
  • Copy, print, fax, scan, email (including encrypted)
  • Large format printing
  • Printed, copied and scanned construction plans
  • Binding and lamination
  • Document shredding
  • Business services
  • Computer rental
  • Photo prints
  • Canvas print and poster

Plus, they offer local and Yosemite souvenirs, cold drinks, keys, and some office supplies. Christel cites the goal of increasing this stock of office supplies to better serve her customers.

A customer might well ask, “what don’t you do?” Christel and Ashley hate saying “no” to anyone, so if they can find a way to accommodate a customer’s request, they will. They see themselves as especially valuable to their older clientele who may not be as computer savvy, such as transferring photos to digital format and getting important papers notarized.

COVID has taken its toll on everyone, OBC included. Although currently adequately staffed, Christel and Ashley have gone through a difficult time finding employees. They were scheduling interviews and the potential employee either didn’t show up or clearly wasn’t really looking for a job, which many local businesses have had to contend with. But, says Christel, “We were very lucky and found some amazing team members.”

When asked what her greatest satisfaction was, Christel said, “seeing the smiles on the faces of satisfied customers when we do for them what they need to do.” This is especially true when the client arrives with the expectation that OBC won’t be able to accomplish what they need. As a former network programmer, she has plenty of computer components that she tries to recycle. Sometimes she receives requests preceded by “I know you won’t get this, but . . .” Christel will rummage through her parts warehouse and pull out exactly what the buyer needs. It puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Christel’s biggest frustration? Let the community know that the OBC exists. She says she hasn’t left to find the perfect platform that brings people to her doorstep. But she is working on it and she is determined to succeed.

If you need something done quickly and efficiently or it’s something you can’t do yourself, contact the Oakhurst Business Center at 559/683-2388, visit their Facebook page or email them at contact@oakhurstbc.com. Hours of operation are currently 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.

Photos courtesy of Oakhurst Business Center and Sierra News Online Archives.


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