Businesses talk local economy at monthly Sounding Board meeting |

Businesses talk local economy at monthly Sounding Board meeting

Nevada County’s local SCORE chapter held its monthly Sounding Board meeting Wednesday at the Stonehouse Brewery in Nevada City, where more than 15 business owners and managers addressed concerns about their individual companies and the local economy.

“This is your meeting,” SCORE counselor and volunteer Bob Gius said. “We’re just hear to chaperone the process. It’s all about businesses helping businesses.”

The SCORE chapter in Sacramento was established in 1978 and currently helps more than 5,000 clients each year via workshops, counseling, forums and seminars.

The Sounding Board gives local merchants an opportunity to get together and share with others how to improve their businesses. The meeting is open to any and all local business owners and affiliates who are willing to share specific challenges their business is facing.

Martin Main, a former Grass Valley Group employee, spoke about being recently laid off by the company after its overarching corporation Belden, in May, announced that Grass Valley and Miranda Technologies would merge into one facility in Grass Valley by the end of the year, leaving a 150,000-square-foot campus in Nevada City empty.

Main said the company will lay off close to 70 employees due to the merger.

“They had to eliminate some redundant positions, which was the reason for my being let go,” he said. “But this is a large talent pool of employees that are being laid off, some people are going to leave the area, and some already have.”

Main expressed a desire to create his own startup with the employees laid off by Belden.

Representing the Northern Sierra Railway, Al Bulf, a former county supervisorial candidate, spoke at the meeting about the local economy, saying the county should have more of a tax base by bringing in big industry, also addressing state regulations that are hindering local small business.

“The environmental regulations affect us on a local level,” Bulf said. “Because of these CARB regulations, these people are going to be going out of business.”

Executive Manager of Nevada City’s Chamber of Commerce Cathy Whittlesey said she has attended the monthly Sounding Board meeting to observe and see how she, or the chamber, can help local businesses.

“Our main goal is to promote the economy of the town and we do that by business support,” Whittlesey said to the group Wednesday. “So if you need anything, we have plenty of resources.”

A topic of discussion the group explored Wednesday was the possibility of creating an all-inclusive website that would give the public access to the many different resources available to businesses in the county.

In addition, Way Yum Sushi owner Laura Thorn extended her assistance to all business owners in attendance Wednesday who need help with business logistics with federal oversight groups she says she has survived in recent years.

“It’s been unbelievably ridiculous hurdles I’ve had to jump over for the past 17 years, and I’ve learned a lot, and found the people in these organizations that will really help you,” Thorn said. “If somebody comes across anything like that, I’m volunteering my assistance. I was here last time, and got the help I needed, I sought it out, and I’m at a better place than I was when I first started.”

For more information go to, or call Gius at 530-205-9523.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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