Welcome to the much anticipated “Top 500” bonus issue of NorthBay biz magazine. If your organization is listed here, let me be the first to congratulate you!
A list of 500 businesses might seem like a lot, but it’s merely a fraction of the 28,000 businesses in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. Sonoma alone has close to 14,000 active businesses; Marin and Napa make up the remainder, and yet those two counties include some of the largest grossing businesses among them.
Has your business climbed up the ladder or slipped a bit? Or, perhaps your company hasn’t quite made the Top 500 list? If you’re a regional company, rather than a national business, the answer may be a function of whether your firm is participating in the rebuild activities currently underway.
The services provided by architects, engineers, bankers, retailers, contractors and the like have been in high demand since the rebuilding process began last year; their organizations’ revenues have grown as a result. For both better and worse, there’s a feeling in the North Bay that one might experience after wartime—massive cleanups, constant dislocation of services and lives, inflated real estate transactions, and a renewed opportunity to financially prosper. Many of the companies listed in our Top 500 have indeed grown because they found ways to satisfy the needs of consumers in the North Bay who lost so much in October 2017.
Last year in this issue, I voiced concern that reduced housing, inflated pricing and job dislocation would lead to “out-migration.” Sure enough, Sonoma County’s population decreased the greatest amount in 2018 among all 58 counties within the state of California. What a tragedy—at the time we need our strongest leadership, we are hampered, once again, with overly-stringent regulations and delays that diminish the vitality of the North Bay.
Who’s standing up for the trainloads of contractors and developers who are willing to risk everything to grow our devastated communities? Since the 2017 firestorm, we’ve devoted time and space in this magazine to feature those who lost homes and evacuated their neighborhoods. We shared the challenges they faced to find temporary housing as they began the process to rebuild their homes, neighborhoods and communities.
I urge you to write in and tell us how we can appropriately articulate what our region needs from its civic leaders, so we can voice your ideas and concerns. As a news source in the business community, our involvement may help give that necessary push in the right direction. Sometimes, well-intended county and city politicians need some cover to strengthen their resolve on controversial issues; let this magazine help do that very thing. At NorthBay biz, our intention is to lead growth and vibrancy in the communities we share with you.
It was also just a scant year ago that I voiced concern regarding Sacramento leadership, so what’s improved? Regrettably, not a thing. Governor Gavin Newsom cries out for equality, justice and fair play for us all, yet he quietly relocates his family to a white-bred enclave away from Sacramento’s economic and racial diversity. He’s anxious to lecture on the ridiculousness of “border walls,” and even more anxious to judge those who have a different opinion. When leaders give up their battalions of armed guards, security details, vehicle motorcades and fortified gates, I’ll begin to reflect more seriously on how the hoi polloi should live their lives. Find me the politician who walks-the-walk as well as he or she talks-the-talk, and I’ll start believing all the rhetoric, won’t you?
If you live and work in the North Bay, your opinion on these issues matter. As a region, we’re at a crossroads and poised to thrive and prosper. New homes are rising in Napa and Sonoma counties, as we continue to heal as a community. But recovery is far from complete. Please chime in anytime by writing to me at Lawrence@Northbaybiz.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
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