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Chamber honors TOP businesses

The Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized 31 Valley businesses at its annual TOPS in Sonoma breakfast Thursday, and awarded the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn the honor of being 2013 Business of the Year.

The event was a celebratory affair, as a parade of speakers painted a positive picture of the Valley’s evolving business climate and released statistics showing business confidence is increasing along with the rate of new job hires.

The 31 top businesses accounted for 2,500 jobs and those situated inside Sonoma city limits provided 60 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue and 80 percent of the hotel tax revenue.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn (SMI) was praised as a model of sustainability with countless environmental initiatives and extensive outreach into the community. As part of the Fairmont corporate commitment to sustainable practices, each of the company’s 50 hotel properties fields a “Green Team” to undertake environmental initiatives in their local communities.

For SMI, that has meant teaming with the Sonoma Ecology Center on the annual Coast and Creek Cleanup, helping support and maintain the Sonoma Overlook Trail, the Sonoma Community Garden and quarterly cleanup days in its Boyes Hot Springs neighborhood. SMI has also reduced its water consumption to one-third less than comparable properties around the world, according to Ecology Center executive director Richard Dale, and has drastically reduced energy consumption through installation of 3,000 low-power light bulbs.

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