Year in Review: Business | News | – Sonoma West


Each year The Healdsburg Tribune compiles the year’s most noteworthy events, newsmakers and shakers and writes a comprehensive timeline of sorts that looks back at the year.

For the 2020 year in review, it would be all too easy to write, “A year in review: It sucked. The end.” However, we won’t do that.

We want to stick to that tradition of sharing and discussing the events, city council meetings, changes, business news and other items that have shaped the year.

We broke this year’s review into several themes: COVID-19, disaster, business, local government, events, people, schools and crime.

Here are some of the highlights from Healdsburg’s year in business. 

Back in January when the new year was fresh and we were still struggling to remember to write 2020 instead of 2019 on checks or papers, a new coworking space called CraftWork opened on Center Street.

Coworking is a workspace model that takes the form of a shared office space between people and businesses. Coworking spaces often charge monthly or daily fees to those who want to rent out a desk, office space or meeting room.

CraftWork is specifically a member-based space where folks can go to work if they are visiting town on the weekends or are traveling and want a designated and quiet space to work.

Healdsburg local Jim Heid is the founder of CraftWork. Heid got the idea to start a coworking space while traveling as part of his work for the Urban Land Institute’s Small Scale Developers Forum.

CraftWork opened on Jan. 7 and is located in the old Crocker Bank location and boasts a design that honors the historic nature of the building. While they are still open, members must complete several COVID-19 related self checks and wear masks.

Fast forwarding to March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit forcing countless businesses and industries to close, the Small Business Administration made their Economic Injury Disaster Loan program available to businesses affected by COVID-19.

In April, the Healdsburg City Council approved a plan to reallocate $600,000 of unused funds from the city’s Measure V fund to go toward a small business loan program in order to help support local businesses during a difficult time.

The small business zero interest loans were capped at $15,000 and payments were scheduled to be due starting in January of 2021 with a potential three-to four-year term for completing payments. The funds could have been used for lease or mortgage payments, wages and benefits and other necessary services. 

As the pandemic dragged into May several local businesses including the Russian River Tea Company were going the extra mile to help thank health care workers.

Russian River Tea Company owner Holly Hunt started creating free tea care packages and delivering them to local hospitals. Each kit contained herbal tea and classic caffeinated tea like Earl Grey, English breakfast and zesty orange.

As June rolled around, Foley Family Wines made news following their acquisition of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery.

The purchase deal included 1,200 acres of premium vineyards and a showcase winery property in Dry Creek Valley. The winery includes a large on-site processing plant and while no sale price was reported a Wine Spectator article estimated the purchase to be in the $250 million range.

Foley’s other assets include Sebastiani, Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley and Chalk Hill. The Foley family also owns the chic Hotel Les Mars in downtown Healdsburg.

In July, a popular store that had been on the Plaza for years finally closed its doors.

After 19 years of business Cathleen Boitano-Grande announced her plans to retire and closed up her retail store “Bella All Things Beautiful” on July 31.

Over the years, the quaint corner store has been a popular shopping destination for gifts, jewelry and women’s clothing and upon hearing Boitano-Grande’s announcement, folks were a bit saddened by the news.

Boitano-Grande said she was looking forward to morning walks and spending more time with friends during retirement.

In August, The Tribune interviewed Dustin Valette to see if his up and coming restaurant, “The Matheson,” was still on track to open in 2021.

At the time Valette said the restaurant was still slated to open on time in the spring of 2021 despite some construction challenges due to COVID-19.

“COVID did delay our process and it was something we definitely did not anticipate. The main thing that we realized is that we were able to pivot and instead of working on project ‘A’ we were able to work on project ‘B,’ and it also gave us the opportunity where we are able to make some modifications,” Valette told The Tribune in August.

Construction on the 98-seat Matheson eatery started in the summer of 2019 after a June demolition party where attendees got to take a swing at the walls of the building with a sledgehammer.

Before construction could begin the process to get the plans approved was a long and arduous one that spanned several months. The proposed project was first brought to the Healdsburg Planning Commission in September of 2018 for a planning commission workshop.

In September, the effects of the pandemic started to show in the Plaza as more window fronts went dark. The folks behind Healdsburg’s lone movie theatre, the Raven Film Center, announced that the theater would be closing in the first week of September.

The nonprofit Raven Performing Arts Theater is not involved with the film center, and the performing arts theater is remaining open.

The Tocchini family owned and operated the movie theater for several years and while the theater had been a place of business, it had also been a beloved gathering place for meetings, film festivals, shows and movies for Healdsburg residents both young and old.

Many residents lamented the loss of the theatre on social media and shared fond memories of time spent at the theater.

Healdsburg local Jessica M. Alcantar said the theater was where she had her first movie theater experience as a kid.

“I watched my first movie at a movie theater there. The movie was ‘Selena,’ I was 9 years old,” Alcantar said.

In October, Flying Goat Coffee, another popular spot for locals and tourists alike, closed the doors to its original Center Street location. The Flying Goat satellite shop at 419 Center Street is still open for grab and go coffee.

“It is a bittersweet departure from that original building,” Phil Anacker, Flying Goat Coffee co-founder and managing partner told The Tribune in October. “Long story short is that we had our rent nearly doubled on us last year and the location is no longer sustainable for us.”

When Flying Goat opened in Healdsburg in 1994 it was the city’s first and only coffee roaster.

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