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Movers and Shakers: Business news from around the Valley, March 14


Localfest: The third annual free Localfest New Business Showcase will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, at Ramekins on West Spain Street. Last year there were over 350 attendees and more than 40 new businesses showcased. This event is co-hosted through the Chamber’s partnership with the City of Sonoma. New businesses should contact the Chamber at 996-1033 or visit SonomaChamber.com to participate. New this year, a concurrent Volunteer Sonoma! expo will be held as well during which the community can learn about volunteer opportunities.

New baseball team: A new independent, professional minor league baseball team in Napa would add a nice rivalry to the Sonoma Stompers’ season. Negotiations are underway with Napa Valley College to secure Storm Field for the “Napa Silverados” to start in June of 2018. Napa resident Bruce Johnston has a contract with the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs to add the Silverados, pending approvals. The Silverados would join the Sonoma Stompers, Vallejo Admirals, San Rafael Pacifics and Pittsburg Diamonds in the independent league. Each of the teams plays an 80-game schedule, with the season running from June through August. Forty of those games are home games.

Not a tasting room: The contents of East Napa’s Corner Store for Kids is moving into its parent store, the Corner Store on the Plaza, on the corner of First Street East. The kids store is now sealed from view with a sign that reads, “Don’t Panic – Not a tasting room.” Within weeks, neighbor J. James Sonoma will expand into the space. J. James is owned by Carole and Jon Shearer, and the store sells clothing, jewelery and gifts.

Car cash: The annual April Classic Car Racing Weekend at Sonoma Raceway will be held this year from March 31 to April 2. The event contributes $1.9 million to local economy according to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. It takes place over three full days of racing and competition. With an average of 340 days of on-track activity scheduled each year, Sonoma Raceway will host 27 multi-day amateur racing weekends in 2017, in addition to major events weekends like NASCAR, NHRA and IndyCar.

Snack success: Locally-produced new Parmesan Crisps snacks were a big hit at Costco earlier this year but consumers have been emailing Sonoma Creamery CEO John Crean to ask why they are no longer on the shelves. The gluten-free, high-protein, low-sugar real cheese snacks are made with aged parmesan and a little quinoa. Crean says that the family-size bags will be back at Costco in May and that the small bags continue to be available at Amazon.com and Safeway. Other crisp flavors include cheddar and bacon cheddar. sonomacreamery.com

Smashmallow expands: Stephanie McGregor has been hired as VP of marketing for Sonoma Brands’ SmashMallow brand. Most recently she ran marketing for barkTHINS snacking chocolate; ultimately positioning the brand for its acquisition by Hershey in 2016. Previously, McGregor spent 10 years working on brands like Red Bull, Clif bar, vitaminwater, popchips and KRAVE. She will split her time between Sonoma and Washington.

Starting a business: Creative Sonoma is offering a free workshop for anyone interested in starting their own small, creative products business, launching into consulting; or going into business with a partner. It will explore the differences between forming as a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation and an LLC. It will also focus on developing good contracts and agreements. The workshop is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board at 141 Stony Circle in Santa Rosa. Register at creativesonoma.org.

Send business news to lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.