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Jensen’s Honored in Sacramento

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Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 12:00 am

When Matt Zack, vice president of Jensen’s Finest Foods, heard the company had been chosen as the Small Business of the Year for the 23rd Senate District, he was pleased but wondered what the catch was.

“I thought I would go all that way to Sacramento, eat some rubber chicken and be handed a plaque,” Zack said.

His experience could not have been more different.

Zack did indeed fly up to Sacramento and was met at the airport by Senator Mike Morrell’s chief of staff, who took him to the capitol building.

The first thing the senator said to him, Zack said, was “Let’s walk and talk.” Senator Morrell took Zack to a caucus, where he got an insider’s view of what goes on at the capital.

They did have lunch—although it wasn’t rubber chicken—and Zack did receive the award.

“Jensen’s Foods has long been an invaluable part of our community,” said Morrell at the ceremony. “Their commitment to quality service, along with strong support for local events and charitable causes, makes them a model business in our region. I am proud to recognize Jensen’s for their contributions to our economy. It is my privilege to honor them as Small Business of the Year for the 23rd Senate District.”

“We are truly humbled by this award,” Zack told the Mountain News. “The recognition supports our belief that success is earned and not given. That hard work, dedication and commitment to quality and service still remain the cornerstone of successful business.

“This award was earned and truly belongs to all our amazing employees and the incredible customers who support us,” he added.

After the awards ceremony, the senator’s press aide gave Zack a private, one-on-one tour. “We got to walk onto the Senate floor,” Zack said. The senator joined them, pointing out some of his favorite architectural features of the chamber.

As the senator went off to a meeting, the press aide took Zack to the Assembly floor and then to the offices of both Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, who represents the Jensen’s stores on the mountain, and Assemblyman Chad Mayes, who represents the desert stores. Zack had the opportunity to speak with both representatives, spending a half hour with Mayes in a discussion about “what’s plaguing our business,” Zack said.

He had the opportunity to attend two early evening events with the senator and his chief of staff before being driven back to the airport.

His experience, Zack said, “speaks to the quality of the senator and his staff.”

Jensen’s was opened in Blue Jay in 1940 by Einer and Marie Jensen. In 1981, Gene Fulton purchased the store, after having worked his way up from the position of clean-up boy. Under his leadership, the company has expanded to include eight store locations in Blue Jay, Cedar Glen, Running Springs, Wrightwood, Palm Desert, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage. The family-owned and operated business is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Jensen’s supports many local charities, nonprofits and causes in the mountain communities—including the Arrowhead Arts Association, the Boys & Girls Club of the Mountain Communities, the sports programs at the high school, AYSO, Little League and many others. It also donates food to Operation Provider and supports Marines and their families at 29 Palms.

Additionally, when there are wildfires, Jensen’s has opened its doors to the firefighters battling the flames.

“It was an honor to be selected as Small Business of the Year by Senator Morrell,” Zack said. “On behalf of the Jensen’s family, we would like to thank the community and our loyal customers for shopping with us for the last 75 years.”

California Small Business Day acknowledged 80 small businesses for their contribution to the state’s economy.

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