It may be the slight upturn in the national economy. It may be the revamped and newly expanded True Value Hardware. It may simply be the season — but whatever the reason, business seems to be booming in Penn Valley.
According to Ed James, president of the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce, Penn Valley is the place to be. He notes that several businesses have relocated to or opened in the area (primarily salons and auto shops) with the chamber holding several ribbon-cuttings in the spring.
“I think there’s a number of things happening,” James said. “We have a number of good businesses — the one bringing in the most being True Value — and they’re doing great business. People can get everything they need right here, no need to go up the hill. You can’t walk into True Value without running into one of your neighbors, and that’s a good thing.”
True Value opened under new ownership in December 2011 and has since become the cornerstone of Penn Valley commerce. A 3,000-square-foot nursery was recently opened, and owner Scott Gutierrez has plans to pave the back lot to expand the lumberyard.
The nursery has only helped business, and Gutierrez notes that business is up substantially from last year, and it will remain open through the fall and winter. A gardener with extensive knowledge of the area and native plants was recently hired to help customers with their purchases.
“Last year before we opened, we had a lot of projections about how we’d do, and we’ve exceeded our expectations — more than doubling them. The community has accepted us extremely well, and we strive to offer them a quality product at a fair price and give them the best customer service. We special order dozens of items each week to help our clients complete their projects.”
Nearby Plaza Tire is seeing the benefits of True Value, as well as the travel season. Store manager Cecilia Hill says that people often leave their cars with her while they shop or spend time at Caleb’s Creamery or the Tack Room.
Hill also points out that business picks up considerably during the summer — slowing down a bit in late spring with end-of-school activities and graduations, but once everyone starts to get out, she sees a steady stream throughout most of the summer.
Overall, spring does seem to be the turnaround point for Penn Valley residents and businesses, starting with the Daffodil Run in early to mid-April, which is followed almost immediately by the rodeo.
“All the events kick in and things get busy,” James said.
He points out it’s not just a seasonal trend, saying that the Daffodil Run had more participants and sponsors this year than any other.
“It’s mostly small business sponsors, but that’s what we have here. Their support is a sign that business is picking up.”
Abercombie & Co. Stoves and Awnings is also seeing business heat up — business that has been steadily building over the last few years. Owner Jim Chiesa says the company is currently in the midst of one of its busiest years ever after coming off a record-breaking year in 2012. He attributes the success to client referrals, which account for 84 percent of his business.
“We’re actually a little over-busy,” Chiesa said. “We’re scheduled out through the first week of August, mostly with awnings and sunscreens. A few people have come in for fireplaces and stoves. There’s also quite a bit of new construction. It’s perked up the last two to three months.”
Chiesa is finishing up an expansion of his showroom and hopes to unveil it at a grand opening later this summer. The company’s website was also revamped and updated. In addition to client referrals, Abercombie’s website is an integral marketing tool for the company. A good portion of its work comes out of Rocklin, Roseville and Yuba City. The company’s service area spans from the Elk Grove Area up to North Shore Lake Tahoe.
Katrina Paz is a freelance writer in Grass Valley.