Longtime Sonoma firm takes advantage of opportunity in downturn

SONOMA – Long-time Sonoma company Sonoma Promotional Solutions is building a brand new space in the teeth of the economic downturn.

[caption id="attachment_25413" align="alignright" width="432" caption="Rendering of West Napa Street building"][/caption]

The 20-year-old maker of promotional items has broken ground on a new 5,000-square-foot space on West Napa Street and hopes to move in by early January.

“The timing to build a new facility could not be better given the federal government’s stimulus package for small business funding,” said Judith Friedman, who with her husband Barnard founded the company in 1990.

“The process of city planning and design review meetings combined with parallel construction loan applications was very helpful in getting the approval of the Small Business Administration.”

Also helpful was Sonoma Promo’s success in maintaining revenues of about $10 million and a 27-employee staff during a period when similar companies were losing money. The company has built a reputation for quality that has kept the big customers coming.

Sonoma Promotions’ distributors supply its custom jewelry, plaques, medals, totes, drinking glasses and what the website describes as “other cool stuff” to Campbell Soup, Nintendo, Jaguar, Mattel, McDonald’s, Jack-in-the-Box and hundreds of other companies worldwide.

Products also include fun items such as a Maltese Falcon replica or a to-scale replica of the National Baseball Hall of Fame museum in Cooperstown, which are cadmium and lead-free.

Sonoma Promo’s manufacturing is done in China, in about 12 different factories, each monitored closely and constantly for quality of materials and well-being of workers, said Kelly Grant, vice president of business development.

“We’re paying the same attention to green materials and building practices in our new building that we do in our product design,” she said.

The metal showroom and warehouse space will be environmentally sound, designed by architect Michael Palmer and Company of Santa Rosa and built by Pat Doyle Contracting Inc. of Petaluma.

“It’ll be great to be able to show our complete line of products to our existing and potential distributors,” said Ms. Grant.