Welcome to the NorthBay biz Top 500 issue. The magazine began publishing this list of the top revenue-producing companies in 1991 as the Sonoma Business 350. In 1997, in response to the growth in Sonoma County, the issue was expanded and became the Sonoma Business 500. Now in its 27th year, it’s celebrating its 15th as the NorthBay biz 500, reflecting the magazine’s expansion into Marin and Napa counties in November 2002.
In addition to being delivered to all our subscribers, the NorthBay biz Top 500 bonus issue will be available at newsstands for the entire year—effectively extending its shelf life so it can be a resource to more people and businesses throughout the year.
The business climate in 2016 showed continued improvement with economic indicators brightening in selected sectors. While no one can say the economy has roared back, the jobs picture has gotten somewhat better, though many of the gains were due to increased part-time employment.
Here in the North Bay, we’ve fared better. Overall, business conditions have improved at a faster pace. While the local economy took its share of hits over the past eight to nine years, but it’s held up remarkably well, especially when compared to other locales. A survey released several years ago by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index concluded that North Bay residents are happier and healthier than anywhere else in California—and were rated fifth overall in the entire nation.
The North Bay’s diverse economy works in our favor, as does the area’s beauty and natural resources. The area’s tourism and hospitality industry is thriving. The local unemployment rate has dropped as businesses have recovered. It’s becoming clear that energy, the economy and the environment are intertwined, and letting them work in concert is a winning solution.
While the business climate in 2016 still faced challenges, the bright spots grew and the business community remained very competitive. So, we’d like to congratulate each company that made this year’s Top 500 list. It took creativity and courage to make the strategic decisions that resulted in positioning each company for success.
We strive to make the NorthBay biz Top 500 list as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Our database has grown and improved over the past 15 years as we’ve migrated to assembling more information online, simplifying the process and enhancing accuracy.
Some companies provide their revenue numbers as estimates because their fiscal years are incomplete. We report those numbers as verified because the company supplied them. When the company can’t or won’t divulge revenues, we estimate based on history, research and comparative industry data. If a company is headquartered here, we count all its revenues. If a company does business here, but is headquartered elsewhere, we count only its North Bay-generated revenue. Six zeros have been omitted from all the revenue numbers on the list because of space constraints. Therefore, the first four companies on this year’s list reported revenues in the billions, and every other company reported revenues in the millions.
We work hard on this issue to make it as complete and accurate as possible. If you discover any inaccuracies, or if we’ve overlooked a company that merits inclusion, please let us know and we’ll correct it in the future. The Top 500 list will be posted on our website (www.northbaybiz.com) and you can contact us there if you have any input about this year’s list.
We certainly hope you enjoy perusing the Top 500 and find it interesting, informative and useful in running your business. The North Bay possesses tremendous economic power and vitality, and with a little luck and continued hard work, it looks like 2017 will show continued economic improvement.
To close, here are a few lesser known, but nevertheless interesting business facts that might come in handy the next time you’re in a trivia contest. Each week nearly one-third of the U.S. population visit a Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart averages a profit of $1.8 million every hour. One in 10 Europeans is conceived in an Ikea bed. Marvel Comics once owned the rights to the word “zombie.” The red and white Coca-Cola logo is recognized by 94 percent of the world’s population. Candy Crush reportedly brings in $633,000 in revenue daily. Samsung accounts for 20 percent of South Korea’s GDP. Eliminating the U.S. $1 bill in favor of a $1 coin would save the U.S. more than $4 billion over 30 years. Sixty-four percent of consumers have made a purchase decision based on social media content. McDonald’s first menu items were hot dogs, not hamburgers. If you have $10 in your pocket and no debts, you are wealthier than 25 percent of Americans. Gambling generates more gross revenue than movies, spectator sports, theme parks, cruise ships and the recorded music industry combined.
That’s it for now. We hope you enjoy this special issue of NorthBay biz magazine.
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