Pacific Coast Business Times

There’s Meritt in his work: Serial entrepreneur takes students under his wing

Over the past decade, he’s perfected what he calls the Meritt Model, his method of selecting ideas with a broad market appeal and then using contract manufacturing to move hundreds of thousands of units — all with minimal capital upfront. more

Affinity downsizes, puts HQ up for sale

Affinity Group, once a major employer in Ventura, has made layoffs and restructured, putting its massive ocean-view headquarters campus up for sale for $9.7 million. more

Jordano joins Hall of Fame

Peter Jordano, president of Jordano’s, one of the region’s oldest family-owned companies, will become the sixth member of the Pacific Coast Business Times’ Business Hall of Fame. more

At Westmont breakfast, Rice defends Afghan war, warns of strife in Mexico

Be patient. Stay focused. Don’t underestimate the power of freedom and of immigrants. more

Editorial: U.S. News knows our colleges are tops

Our region’s four-year colleges and universities fared well in the latest rankings from U.S. News &  World Report — yet another indication that over the long haul, the tri-county region’s economy is likely to be stable and that our tradition of successful entrepreneurship remains intact. … The region is also home to two of U.S. News’ top 100 national liberal arts colleges: Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula was No. 71, and Westmont College was No. 99. more

Region’s colleges rank high on U.S. News lists

All five of the four-year universities in the Tri-Counties are among the top 100 colleges in the nation in their respective categories, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News ranks schools separately according to whether they’re considered research universities or liberal arts colleges and whether they’re national or regional in scope. more

Affinity refinances $144M in debt

Ventura-based Affinity Group, which faces nearly $700 million in debt payments in coming years, closed a deal for a new $144 million loan on March 3 to refinance debt due at the end of this month…Affinity Group is part of the business empire built by Montecito resident Stephen Adams…Adams is believed to be the anonymous donor who defaulted last year on a $75 million gift he made to Westmont College in 2006 more

Mexican ex-president calls for free trade, legal drugs

The United States needs to strengthen its economic alliances with Mexico and Canada to compete with emerging markets in Asia, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said Feb. 19 in Santa Barbara. “I hope that the present [U.S.] administration has vision and learns that to recover — to fully recover — the competitiveness of this nation and the future growth of gross domestic product, we have to work together. We have to have a vision of a NAFTA-plus,” he said. more

Westmont neglected as donor defaults on $75M

By any account, $75 million is a lot of money. If you are a small, Christian college laboring with recovery from a major fire and an ambitious expansion plan, it’s an enormous amount of money. Which is why the report in this issue of the Business Times that Westmont College’s mystery donor won’t be able to honor the full $75 million he pledged for campus expansion several years ago is both baffling and frustrating. more

Donor in default on $75M gift

Stephen Adams, owner of Affinity Group in Ventura and former owner of the failed Affinity Bank, appears to have defaulted on his $75 million gift to Westmont College, slamming the brakes on the school’s most ambitious building project in a quarter century. Though Westmont could not confirm it, Adams is believed to be the man behind the massive donation to the Montecito school in 2006. more