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Sonoma gets its new first shopping center in decades

The new Vailetti Plaza shopping complex is scheduled to welcome customers beginning this week.

Originally planned to open in mid-2017, the four-tenant shopping plaza on Highway 12, adjacent to the Fetters Apartments complex, will be Sonoma Valley’s first new shopping complex since Maxwell Village opened 30 years ago in 1988.

The four tenants are North Bay Credit Union, Operation Bicycle, Noble Yoga and Cielito Coffee & Ice Cream.

Marco Vailetti’s family trust has owned the three parcels on Highway 12, just south of Sonoma Charter School, for more than 40 years. He sold two parcels to MidPen Housing in 2012, one for the Fetters Apartments and the other for a new senior affordable housing complex that broke ground last week.

He has developed the third into the new shopping center, which he will manage.

The 6,500-square-foot barn-style shopping complex consists of a north building, which houses Noble Yoga, and a south building with the bank, bike shop and ice cream shop. The vehicle entrance is from Depot Road but access from the sidewalk enables people to enter the stores from either side. There are 32 parking spots.

The largest space will be occupied by Noble Yoga, though the yoga studio is still awaiting its occupancy permit. The new studio is owned by Denise Salvo, who previously owned Bungalow 313 on First Street East downtown.

Salvo said that she has been looking for a location to open a yoga studio for the past two years. Salvo does not teach yoga herself, but has brought on board several local teachers and the studio will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., offering beginners, hatha, vinyasa, heated flow, hot vinyasa and restorative yoga, as well as pilates and Spanish classes.

Noble Yoga’s 750-square-foot yoga store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will sell clothes, gifts, equipment, candles, drinks and snacks and picnic items.

Salvo plans to schedule baby and toddler classes, after-school classes, private and group classes. Noble Yoga will offer both memberships and drop-in options.

The two studios in the space have 27 foot ceilings and Salvo says she is excited to “elevate the yoga experience.”

With the opening this week of the second tenant, North Bay Credit Union, the Springs neighborhood ends a long drought without a bank.

“This week, the Springs area will finally have a banking institution available, complete with 24-hr ATM, without having to drive three miles into town,” said Vailetti. “My dream finally came through.”

This would be the credit union’s first branch in Sonoma Valley. The credit union offers checking and savings accounts, student loans, farming loans, credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. It will be open six days a week, including Saturday mornings.

While NBCU has only a handful of branches, it belongs to a co-op with 30,000 ATMs. The 1,100-square-foot branch in the Springs will have one external ATM that will be accessible 24 hours. Membership is open to all Sonoma County residents.

North Bay Credit Union CEO Chris Call said that he is excited to bring the convenience of neighborhood banking back to the Springs. He, and the branch manager Lynnette Barlesi, plan a grand opening event with the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The third Vailetti tenant is the micro-business Operation Bicycle. Once crammed into the low-ceilinged basement of Teen Services on Highway 12, the nonprofit this week will spread out in spacious new digs where it will repair and sell used bikes to generate money to help keep Teen Services Sonoma (TSS) sustainable.

The micro-business is the passion project of its founder Adrian Palanchar, who oversees dozens of kids ages 13 to 19 who rebuild donated road bikes and mountain bikes that will later be sold to the public. His earn-a-bike program enables teens to earn a bike by volunteering their time helping with the program.

“Operation Bicycle introduces teens to the world of cycling, a new set of hands-on skills and satisfaction from a job well done,” said Palenchar, who added that he believes “in bicycles as vehicles of change. They provide mobility to those who don’t drive. They’re a cheaper alternative for those who can’t afford cars. They build active bodies and minds. They are good for the environment and more.”

Operation Bicycle is a staple at the Tuesday night farmers market and other community events where Palenchar sets up a donation-based mobile repair stand and valet bike parking. Palenchar said that he is always seeking donations of bikes, helmets, lights and locks, which can be dropped at the new shop at Vailetti Plaza.

Palenchar expects Operation Bicycle to be open for business sometime next week.

The fourth Vailetti tenant, a new ice cream business called Cielito Ice Cream and Café: Sweets from the Sky, hasn’t yet set its opening date. Owner Nester Parades said that construction delays had pushed back the opening.

Marco Vailetti said that he is pleased that current residents of Fetters Apartments and future residents of Celestina Garden Apartments, as well as the broader Springs community, will now have a commercial center including banking within walking distance.

Vailetti Plaza is located at 201 Nina Marco Square in Boyes Hot Springs.

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