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Business Beat: 08/01/2015

Business Beat



Prickett’s moves to Melita Road

Prickett’s nursery in Santa Rosa
A Sonoma County staple over the last 70 years, Prickett’s Nursery continues to prove that despite the state’s seemingly endless water shortage issue, they can still successfully thrive off the support of the local community. Prickett’s has now expanded into two locations: one in Healdsburg, after purchasing the nearly 70 year-old Healdsburg Nursery from owner Michael Skurton in February; the other, a brand-new 5,000 -square-foot layout located in the Valley of the Moon shopping plaza on the outskirts of Santa Rosa.

Since Harry Prickett, along with his wife Nelle and son Harold, first opened the nursery at the corner of Calistoga Road and Sonoma Highway in Rincon Valley in 1945, the family had always entertained the idea of eventually developing Prickett’s into not just a nursery, but also a shopping center to fulfill the other needs of their customers. After Harry passed away in 1965, he left the entire Prickett’s operation to Harold, who ran it until eventually retiring in 1982. Harold then sold his remaining amount of stock to his three grandchildren, Mick, Jerry and Pat, so that they could continue to keep the business alive and well.

In June of 2008, when the three grandchildren all decided it was time for retirement, they turned over the ownership to Jerry’s daughter Denise Baxter, along with two long-time Prickett’s employees, Deanna Tubbs and David Kinney.

The fresh trio of owners reopened the nursery in October of 2008, with the Pricketts still owning the property. They had high expectations of eventual expansion. However, because the Prickett family still intended to turn the original 5.25-acre parcel into a retail shopping center, Denise, Deanna and David lacked the necessary resources to develop the business in the way they wanted. They decided to remain on the Prickett’s property on a relatively short-term basis until they could find a new location of their own.

“In 2008, when we all took over the business, we all looked at each other and no one knew what quite to do,” said business manager David Kinney.

“Once we had come to the conclusion that we would eventually have to move because of our short-term lease agreement with the Pricketts, we started looking into it immediately; it just took more time than we expected to get the ball rolling.”

After six years of constant searching, in December of 2014, Prickett’s announced that it would be closing its original location in Rincon Valley to move to a much smaller location just outside the Santa Rosa city limits at the Valley of the Moon Plaza. Although it is not as large a space as the original, the new location will be a much more convenient and accessible for customers. At the original location, customers were haunted by the sharp turn off of Calistoga Road into the nursery, which was always a challenge. At the new location, customers will now be able to navigate in and out of the nursery with ease.

Along with their new favorable location, Prickett’s offers numerous drought-resistant plants, various organic soils and fertilizers for any project, in-season and close to season vegetable starts, fruit trees, flowers, herbs and shrubs (all composed with only organic potting soil), as well as one of the biggest seed selections in Sonoma County.

“We are always looking to improve our nursery in any way we can,” said Kinney. “Not to just sell plants to our customers, but to educate them so that they can understand what they need to do and how to keep their plant alive and growing.”

Prickett’s had its official grand opening at Valley of the Moon Plaza on June 19 and has already seen a flourish of success from visitors.

The Santa Rosa nursery is located at 5855 Sonoma Hwy. at Melita Road in the Valley of the Moon Plaza, behind the Valero gas station, and the Healdsburg nursery is located at 12950 Old Redwood Hwy.

– Kory Arnold

Beltane Ranch seeks to expand operations

The historic sixth generation Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen is asking the county for a use permit that would allow an up-to-15,000 case winery on site, agricultural tours and tasting by appointment, and participation in industry-wide events.

Beltane is currently licensed as a bonded winery, making the wine off-site, with wine storage, shipping and businesses offices on the ranch.

The entire property consists of 105 acres, and its uses include 25 acres of vineyards (sauvignon blanc and zinfandel), olive orchards, produce gardens, grazing pastures, family residences, and a bed and breakfast with a five-room main house and a separate cottage.

The project would not include any new construction or the removal of trees, pastures, or orchards. Winemaking would occur in an existing barn and on an existing concrete pad.

Operating hours would be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s estimated that once operating at capacity, the winery would have nine employees, including two family members that live on the property.

Tastings and agricultural educational visits by appointment would generate an average of 12 guests a day, with a maximum of 20, according to Beltane’s proposal. Up to 20 seasonal events would be spread throughout the year, which would include events that already take place, including vintage release events and educational events with local Boy & Girl Scouts. New events would include industry-wide events such as Farm Trails and those sponsored by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Association.

Family members who run Beltane, Alexa Wood, Alex Benward, and Lauren Benward Krause, say to make the working ranch financially viable, expanding the use of the property is essential.

“This proposed use will expand our ag education offerings and support direct-to-consumer sales, a vital component of the Beltane Ranch’s economic sustainability,” wrote the three in a letter to neighbors about the project. Two gatherings at the ranch for neighbors to learn more about the use permit request are scheduled for Aug. 30 and Sept. 16.

The use permit request will be reviewed by the local advisory panel, the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee, and ultimately acted upon by the county’s Board of Zoning Adjustments.

Beltane Ranch is located at 11775 Sonoma Hwy. in Glen Ellen.

Sculpturesite Gallery open in Glen Ellen

Sculpturesite Gallery owners Brigitte MicMacker and John Denning with assistant gallery director Tracy Franson
Jack London Village in Glen Ellen has a new tenant – Sculpturesite Gallery, dedicated entirely to modern and contemporary fine art sculpture from a variety of emerging and established local, national, and international artists.

For 10 years, the gallery was located at Cornerstone Sonoma. The gallery was originally founded by Brigitte Micmacker and John Denning as A New Leaf Gallery in Berkeley in 1990. In 2005, A New Leaf Gallery moved to Cornerstone, and their Sculpturesite Gallery opened in San Francisco. In 2010, the two galleries consolidated at Cornerstone. Micmacker and Denning are now celebrating their 25th year in business, with Tracy Franson serving as the gallery’s assistant director.

Sculpturesite Gallery features a variety of abstract and figurative sculpture by emerging, mid-career and internationally established sculptors: from hand-held to pedestal, free-standing, and wall-mounted pieces. Works displayed in the indoor gallery space are crafted of metal, wood, stone, glass, and other media. Visitors will discover dynamic kinetic sculptures and garden-sized to monumental works as they stroll through the grounds of Jack London Village.

Sculpturesite will feature a variety of exhibitions going forward. Currently, the exhibition is Vernissage, which means “gallery opening” in French. Featured works include brand new work from Arizona artist Judith Stewart; Southern California’s Jon Krawczyk; New Mexico sculptor Jeff Metz; Canadian Frances Semple; and Bay Area sculptors Bella Feldman, JP Long, and Dina Angel-Wing. Vernissage will be on display through Aug. 23.

Sculpturesite is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The gallery is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. They can be reached at 933-1300 or info@sculpturesite.com. The gallery’s website is www.sculpturesite.com.

Jack London Village is located at 14301 Arnold Dr. in Glen Ellen.

Ashton Vineyards release party

Ashton Vineyards in Glen Ellen will be celebrating the release of their estate grown 2014 Rosé of Syrah on Aug. 16, 1-4 p.m. at Sculpturesite Gallery at Jack London Village.

Each guest will receive three three-ounce pour tasting tickets. Tastes include the Rosé, a cellar-aged Pinot Noir from the estate’s 45-year-old vines, and a Syrah, all paired with delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by some of wine country’s top restaurants.

Advance tickets are $20. Cost at the door is $25. Call 935-3456 for tickets, or go to eventbrite.com.

For more information about Ashton Vineyards, go to www.ashtonwines.com.

Music and wine pairings at

Chateau St. Jean

Relax this summer with some fine wine, food pairings, and great music at Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood. Food is being provided by Basque Boulangerie.

The music lineup is as follows:

Aug. 2, noon to 3 p.m. – The Cole Tate Band. Cole Tate is a San Francisco Bay Area singer/songwriter and guitarist, whose music blends elements of rock, blues, rhythm and blues, southern rock, country rock and a little bit a funk.

Aug. 15, noon to 3 p.m. The Smokin’ J’s. The J’s entertain with an endless variety of songs from the 50’s, 60’s 70’s – including, but never limited to – funk disco, classic rock, 80’s new wave, ‘hair band’ and dance favorites, and 90’s and contemporary radio hits.

Aug. 22 – The Cole Tate Band.

Aug. 23 – Sony Holland. Well-known local jazz singer Sony Holland has performed all over the world, and will bring her unique vocal stylings to wine country.

Chateau St. Jean is located at 8555 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood. For more information, go to www.chateaustjean.com.



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