PD Editorial: A success story for business retention

  • Meals are packaged for shipping at Amy's Kitchen in Santa Rosa in this 2013 file photo. (KENT PORTER / The Press Democrat)

California has a reputation as a tough place to start a business, and, to a point, it’s true. The same can be said for Santa Rosa.

It’s also true that government efforts to help business often go overlooked. Hey, no one ever won an election praising the efficiency of City Hall bureaucrats, right?

But Santa Rosa officials deserve some hearty applause for working with a major local employer save money, conserve water and add jobs in this community.

Seven months ago, Amy’s Kitchen said it was shelving plans to build a new food processing facility in Santa Rosa.

Last week, Amy’s came back — and the Petaluma-based company deserves some applause, too.

Amy’s, one of the nation’s fastest growing food companies, will soon begin producing a new line of entrees and snacks in southwest Santa Rosa, adding about 150 employees to the 1,000 it already employs in Sonoma County.

“Our growth has been faster than we expected this year, so we had to move quickly,” company co-founder Andy Berliner told Staff Writer Kevin McCallum.

One of the most common criticisms of Santa Rosa, and California, is that convoluted permit processes prevent business from responding quickly to changing market conditions. So it’s promising that, when the clock was running, Berliner found a solution in Santa Rosa.

“We’re working very cooperatively with them on it, and they understand our need to move quickly,” Berliner said.

Amy’s still plans to open a new food processing plant in Goshen, N.Y., a small farming community about an hour outside New York City. Amy’s announced plans for the New York plant at the same time that it scrapped plans to build in Santa Rosa.

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