At the end of this year, it’s hard to think of anything positive about 2018, but there were some intriguing twists and turns in the business world.
Here is a slice of 2018:
Chico-based Tri Counties Bank bought First National Bank of Northern California and expanded its reach into the Bay Area. Tri Counties Bank staff also rang the opening bell on Nasdaq in New York City after 25 years on the exchange.
We said good bye to a number of stores, both locally owned and national chains. No longer with us are Herreid Music (which closed after 20 years), Toys R Us, Orchard Supply Hardware and Pluto’s Restaurant.
Happy in expansion mode were Shubert’s Ice Cream and Candy, which opened a new store in the Chico Mall, and Lulus apparel, an online retailer that this year opened The Outlet store downtown. But in one of those twists, it’s only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with most things selling from $5 to $20.
In one of those sweet-sour times, La Comida Mexican restaurant closed its Paradise branch, but the Chico store celebrated its 50th year.
Local Business Lady Who Did Good, Melissa Heringer rocked history lovers and gift finders by moving iconic Christian and Johnson from its long-time location to a remodeled house at Neal Dow and East First Avenue.
In the still-to-be revealed category, renovation on the Morehead building got started under owner Wayne Cook, who will remember 2018 for the good things. After Facebook exited his two-story building at the Chico airport last year, leaving him holding a huge, high-tech, empty masterpiece, happiness reigned with the relocation of Paradise High School, burned out by the Camp Fire.
Evidence of work is showing at the old Carpet One store, which the owner is remaking into a True Value Hardware on the heels of the departure of Orchard Supply Hardware.
There were a sprinkling of unusual businesses that launched or expanded in 2018.
Just off Park Avenue, Bay Area ceramic artist Alex Marshall opened her new studio in Chico, with a retail arm.
Also opened was Hempful Farms, which sells hemp products for health care.
The long-vacant early 100-cents store, or whatever it was called, took on a new role as a furniture store. When the owners moved it from East Park Avenue to next to TJ Maxx, we said hello to Hello Furniture.
One of the biggest pieces of news came when long-time Chico Chamber CEO Katie Simmons gave notice that she was heading for the Association of General Contractors in Sacramento. With husband and kids living in Chico, we’ll be seeing her around town. The chamber is working on finding a new executive, but right-hand lady Kelsey Torres is standing in wonderfully.
Simmons last day was Nov. 2, a couple of days after moving into a new location and just days before the Camp Fire. Successor Torres didn’t take a breath, but invited the Paradise Chamber to share quarters for a bit.
In the big sweep in Oroville, Eric Smith stepped into the shoes of CEO of the Oroville Chamber after departing CEO Sandy Linville who jumped into the nonprofit world. Smith then ran for a seat on the Oroville City Council and won.
Just at the economy was starting to perk up, we’re all taken back by what the Camp Fire could mean to our region. Here’s hoping that come next December, our look back won’t be through tears.