10 stories that changed North Bay business in 2017 and likely beyond

Smoke billows from a fire burning in the mountains over Napa Valley, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Oakville, Calif. Firefighters gained some ground on a blaze burning in the heart of California's wine country but face another tough day ahead with low humidity and high winds expected to return. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL

October wildfires, the launch of SMART and cannabis left indelible marks across the North Bay business landscape in 2017. Here’s how these stories and others will continue to impact local commerce in 2018 and beyond.

Check out these 10 top stories of the year (nbbj.news/2017recap):

  1. Fire. The deadly, devastating wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties. No other event caused so much disruption to local commerce since the earthquake of 1906 toppled downtown Santa Rosa buildings.
  2. Cannabis ascension accelerates. Dozens of cannabis entrepreneurs set up shop in Santa Rosa as the January 2018 launch date approaches for adult-use sale of cannabis, but banking issues persist.
  3. Commuter rail. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit service starts after years in the works, and initial ridership exceeds expectations.
  4. More airlines. After operating for almost a decade with a sole carrier, Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport suddenly found itself with five.
  5. Home construction. The industry in Sonoma, Napa, Solano and other local counties rebounds after a decade of doldrums, then the fires worsen the housing "crisis."
  6. Wine M&A slows. The brisk pace for sales of North Coast vineyards, wine brands and wineries in recent years slowed in 2017. And it was a “roller-coaster ride” of a growing year.
  7. Big players arrive. The arrival of multiple large employers in Solano and Napa counties is bringing thousands of jobs.
  8. $300 million for Napa. The continued renaissance of downtown Napa from a sleepy crossroads to first class destination was in full swing with several major projects, such as First Street Napa and its new luxury hotel.
  9. Alternative-power plays. Sonoma Clean Power and MCE (Marin Clean Energy) greatly expand clean energy for a growing customer base.
  10. Prescription for improvement. Health care providers expanded service with many new and renovated facilities.