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Felix Adamo/TBC...The Bakersfield sign outside of the Crystal Palace.

Visitor spending in Kern County reached a record $1.28 billion in 2011, eclipsing the previous record set three years earlier by about $37 million, according to a California Travel and Tourism Commission study done by Dean Runyan Associates.

Exceeding the previous year's total by more than 8 percent, the achievement marks the seventh consecutive year visitors spent more than $1 billion in the county. It makes Kern the 15th biggest tourism county in California, by total dollars spent.

According to the report, the county's travel and tourism industry supported 12,990 jobs with a combined annual payroll of $301.2 million.

"Tax dollars received from visitors coming from other areas are essential to local governments and help to maintain service levels for local residents," noted Teresa Hitchcock, activity executive director for the county Board of Trade, Kern's official tourism bureau.

at 1620 Mill Rock Way, Suite 900.

The company specializes in property services such as title research, leases and real estate acquisitions.

Although the company has initially staffed the new office with existing employees, it said in a news release that it hopes to fill the office with local hires. For information about employment opportunities, visit the company's website:

Hydraulic fracturing is to be the subject of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce's "Good Morning Bakersfield" business breakfast from 7 to 8:30 a.m. July 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court.

The event is to feature presentations by representatives of the state Department of Conservation, the Western States Petroleum Association and Energy-in-Depth, among others.

Attendance costs $45 for chamber members and $75 for non-members. A table of 10 costs $550. For information, call the chamber at 327-4421.

Variance Reduction International Inc. has won an Exporter Award from the University of California, Merced Small Business Development Center Regional Network.

The 14-year-old Bakersfield company serves engineers, technicians, managers and operators by offering statistical process control and measurement system analysis. Its international customers include Alcoa Aluminum, Chevron USA and Lockheed Martin. It had grown from 20 employees in 2010 to 50 employees this year.

Last year the U.S. Department of Commerce gave the company a 2012 Export Achievement Certificate.

Delta Liquid Energy has opened a Lake Isabella branch offering propane service.

Located at 5100 Lake Isabella Blvd., the branch is to be run by Tony Olito, who has more than 20 years of experience in the local propane industry.

The 77-year-old company is based in Paso Robles and has 10 California locations.

Chalk Talk, a vintage furniture restoration store, home decor boutique and workshop, opened earlier this year at 10810 Rosedale Highway.

The store sells and teaches people how to restore French country-style and "shabby-chic" furniture using quick-drying, no-need-for-primer Chalk Paint by designer Annie Sloan.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Its website is

A new Bakersfield Visitors Guide has been released by the Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The 50-page glossy includes detailed listings of the city's hotels, events and attractions, as well as "20 Free Things to Do in Bakersfield" and "10 Snapshot Spots." It also offers tips on exploring Bakersfield's food, music and arts scene.

The guide is available at the bureau's Visitor Information Center at 515 Truxtun Ave., as well as online at It will also be available at local hotels and attractions.