As we head to the end of The Crush, there is a lot of economic developments in Sonoma County.
First, the grape harvest this year looks to be large and good. It is also in earlier than normal. This is good for our local businesses. The Economy in the North Bay has a huge dependence on the wine business. In many ways, we can be looked at as a Cash Crop Export Economy, There are other good size industries particularly in Marin and Sonoma but still Wine is the big dog on the block.
Second, the new Graton Resort and Casino is set to open on November 5th. What we will now have in Rohnert Park is a relatively large full service casino. It will be the closest to the Bay Area. This has been a highly controversial project. The total cost of the project was $820M and that is huge in the North Bay. The local scuttlebutt is that there are still a lot of open jobs that are available there. Love it or hate it – still have to deal with it.
Third, we have the expansion of the runways at the Sonoma County Airport. As it is flights are back to pre-9/11 levels. Most of the flights I have been on have been full or nearly so. The service is now to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and San Diego. With the expansion of the runways, we should be able to get flights that can reach Salt Lake City or Denver. That will make going East no longer a trip to Oakland or SFO.
Fourth, we have the spin out of the Santa Rosa Division from Agilent. I think most folks are not sure what this will do for us locally, but it would seem to be good news in the long term. Focus and Clarity are important and being on your own will bring that to a business. I suspect there will be lots of rough spots along the way as the Division becomes a Company, there always are.
So, there are big things happening here in the North Bay. How will they impact each of us and our businesses I have no idea. What I can tell you is that if you want to talk about your business or anything else…Just let me know!
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