San Joaquin Sul­phur named Cham­ber’s top small busi­ness

Lodi News-Sentinel - - BUSINESS -

San Joaquin Sul­phur Com­pany has been named the Small Busi­ness of the Year by the Lodi Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“We are hum­bled, hon­ored, and de­lighted to be given this award,” said Jan Chan­dler, Pres­i­dent of San Joaquin Sul­phur Com­pany. “We have had the good for­tune of work­ing with gen­er­a­tions of great cus­tomers in the farm­ing com­mu­nity and this award is as much for them and their ded­i­ca­tion to hon­or­ing the fam­ily tra­di­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity with us. We are ex­cited about the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture in the Lodi re­gion.”

San Joaquin Sul­phur was founded in 1941 by three part­ners as a small in­de­pen­dent ag re­tail store. The com­pany’s pri­mary busi­ness was im­port­ing rock sul­phur from Texas by rail and grind­ing it into dust so it could be hand ap­plied into the vines.

In 1957, the firm was sold to Ralph and Bruce Burling­ton, two brothers raised in a fam­ily with a his­tory in Lodi agri­cul­ture.

As sul­phur dust be­came in­creas­ingly more pop­u­lar, the com­pany saw ad­di­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for crop pro­tec­tion. They man­u­fac­tured var­i­ous blends of dusts with pes­ti­cides and fungi­cides so grow­ers could treat mul­ti­ple pests and dis­eases while they dusted. Then, see­ing a need for unique blends of fer­til­iz­ers for spe­cialty mar­kets such as green­houses and hy­dro­pon­ics, they for­mu­lated cus­tom fer­til­izer blends, which are to­day sold lo­cally as well as na­tion­ally.

In 1990, Quan­tum Ir­ri­gation was formed un­der the SJSC um­brella in or­der to pro­vide an­other in­no­va­tive style of ir­ri­gation: drip ir­ri­gation. Ralph re­tired from SJSC in 1984.

The com­pany is owned by Bruce and his three chil­dren, Tom and David Burling­ton and daugh­ter Jan Chan­dler. Jan joined the com­pany in 1993 and has served as pres­i­dent since 2000.

Be­tween the mul­ti­ple agribusi­ness en­ti­ties, field per­son­nel, man­u­fac­tur­ing and of­fice staff, SJSC at one time grew from just Bruce and Ralph to over 50 em­ploy­ees. To­day, they are more com­pact and pro­vide a full range of farm sup­plies, in­clud­ing safety gear and spray equip­ment as well as crop pro­tec­tion and nu­tri­tion prod­ucts.

In 2018 SJSC cel­e­brated 77 years in busi­ness and con­tin­ues to find new niches to fill and be a valu­able re­source to lo­cal grow­ers.

The Lodi Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce will be rec­og­niz­ing the San Joaquin Sul­phur Com­pany dur­ing an awards din­ner and cel­e­bra­tion on Thurs­day, Jan. 24. The Cham­ber will also rec­og­nize Out­stand­ing Cit­i­zens Richard & Sandy Pres­zler, Agribusi­ness Per­son of the Year Amy Blagg, and Busi­ness of the Year Vi­enna Nurs­ing & Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter.

Tick­ets for the event can be pur­chased at LodiCham­ber.com or at the Lodi Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce at 35 S. School St.

COUR­TESY PHO­TO­GRAPH

San Joaquin Sul­phur Com­pany own­ers Jan Chan­dler and Bruce Burling­ton.

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