Closures, power outages among the impacts of storms on Napa, Sonoma, Marin businesses

As Thursday promises a brief respite before the next storms arrive Friday, the challenges of bad weather continue to be felt by area businesses.

Sonoma County

As storms continue to rain down on Sonoma County, local businesses are being hit especially hard but not just by flood waters.

Several local restaurants, wineries and hotels had to close the past few days after the storm’s brunt was felt Monday. Businesses have been moving perishable foods to non-flood prone restaurants, raising furniture off the ground to prevent water damage and bringing in employees to help clear properties. Amid the closures, little to no revenue is coming in to help offset the added expense.

Here’s how some businesses in Sonoma County are being impacted by the storms:


Boon Hotel + Spa Owner Crista Luedtke said the property had been closed for its regularly scheduled, 10-day winter break, with an additional three days due to the weather.

The property has experienced some flooding and minimal damage, and the storm is keeping customers away, she said. The hotel also was without power for about 24 hours.

Originally slated for Wednesday, Boon’s reopening has been pushed to Friday.

“It’s just a continual hard hit on small businesses and to them as well as, quite frankly, to employees,” she said. “I’ve got employees who are going to struggle because they’re not working for several days and that’s not unique to me. It’s going on across the board and all around town.”

Rio Nido

Rio Nido Roadhouse Owner Brad Metzger said his restaurant has moved from worrying about flooding and damage to cleaning up the space and readying it for Wednesday night.

The eatery reopened Tuesday afternoon and crews are just finishing cleaning the “big soggy mess” from the storm.

“We lost power the first or second day and they got our power up really quick,” he said.

Metzger closed his restaurant for seven days because of the storms, which also has impacted his employees.

“These employees depend on tips every single day,” he said. “When you’re not open, you start moving backwards every day.”


The Barlow had been hit especially hard in 2019 when water from the Laguna de Santa Rosa overtook the area following a series of heavy storms.

But Koshō Restaurant owner Jake Rand said that hasn’t been the case with the recent downpours.

Still, the storms — amid a typical January lull — has caused a decrease in foot traffic for the restaurant, but impacts from the storm haven’t been too bad.

“It was an ominous forecast that a lot of people spent the last nine or 10 days getting prepared for the worst case scenario,” he said.

“We actually kept power the whole time... the forecasts for water was a little bit higher and caused uncertainty and unease when it comes to staffing and ordering but other than that and just being an inconvenience, it’s been fine.”

Sonoma Valley

Jordan Kivelstadt is looking at a profit cut of $40,000–$50,000 in the wake of the storms.

He had planned to reopen his Sonoma winery, Kivelstadt Cellars & WineGarten, on Jan. 4 after the typical holiday break, but that was pushed back three days due to the rain.

But then, he said, the roads leading to his property were closed Saturday. He hasn’t had a single day of business since the roads reopened Wednesday afternoon.

“It was really hairy down here on Monday,” Kivelstadt said.

Located at 22900 Broadway Ave., his winery is prone to flooding and road closures. He’s attempting to get reimbursement through his flood insurance, but that covers property damage, not business interruption, he said. He pays $11,000 a year for a $500,000 policy, as required by his lender.

About 150 people are slated to attend a wine tasting this weekend on Kivelstadt’s property. But he, and other area business owners, now wonder if the significant storms expected later this week will lead to further impacts and closures. —Rebecca Wolff, Sonoma Index-Tribune

Few property damage insurance claims

Ken Keeney, executive vice president in Newfront, which insures a number of North Bay wineries and other businesses, said the calls haven’t been coming in from commercial policyholders.

“We have not seen any claims nor any inquiries about coverage where we don't already have it with our clients,” said Keeney, who works from the firm’s Petaluma office.

One reason why interest has been low for new commercial flood coverage is it’s already required by the business’ lenders or the location is along a waterway and could be at risk, he said.

Flooding usually is an excluded peril in commercial property insurance, but claims may be accepted for water damage that results from shingles or other roofing blowing off in a storm.

“Normally, when the water comes from the top and damages, it's pretty much covered. Whenever it comes from the bottom up, it's not covered,” Keeney said. That’s an industry rule of thumb for water-damage coverage on property policies.

So when shopping for flood coverage, businesses commonly will seek lowest-cost policies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. And if that doesn’t work they’ll look for coverage through a private carrier, Keeney said.

Problem is, policy premiums go up the more flood-prone an area is, and the government program caps coverage at $500,000 per building and $250,000 for personal property such as vehicles and equipment, Keeney said. And those flood policies don’t cover business interruption, when staff or customers can’t get to and from the property because of high water or government safety measures.

Coverage for such loss of use requires an excess flood policy, which can cost two or three times the base premium of the standard flood policy, Keeney said.

But because flooding often doesn’t destroy the whole building, destroying carpet, wallboard and other items that can be replaced, coverage may not need to cover the cost of rebuilding the whole structure, Keeney said. —Jeff Quackenbush, North Bay Business Journal

Napa County

Businesses in downtown Napa so far have been spared from disruptions during the prolonged rainstorms, according to Craig Smith, executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

The same goes for the stores at the nearby Oxbow Public Market, said Gabe Carlin, general manager.

However, the Napa County Flood District and City of Napa have closed the gates at the Oxbow Commons a couple of times during these current rain events. That means McKinstry Street is closed from the Wine Train to the Oxbow Public Market.

And the gates will likely close again before the rain finally lets up. But that has not been problematic for the businesses because there are other routes available.

“We haven’t actually had any impact from the flood gates being closed in the main market,” Carlin said. “And the annex stores, which include Model Bakery, Gott’s and Fieldwork, are still operating.” —Cheryl Sarfaty, North Bay Business Journal

Marin County

Marin County is under a state of emergency declared Tuesday in response to a parade of powerful atmospheric rivers that have pounded the county, bringing high winds, torrents of rain, coastal erosion and flooding.

"The significance of this storm surge certainly played out in Stinson Beach, where we had 22 structures that suffered structural damage and another 45 structures that suffered water damage," Marin County fire Chief Jason Weber said at the meeting Tuesday. "There was about $15 million to $20 million in damage to those homes."

In Fairfax, several residents in Victory Village, a housing complex for low-income seniors, said that days on end of the power going off and on, seemingly at random, had been a source of anxiety. When the power goes out, so do the elevators, the hot water, the heat and the exterior building locks — and the ability for many to call 911, since there is poor cell reception at the facility and many residents make calls using the internet.

"I can't go downstairs because there's no elevator, and I don't think I could try the stairs," said Nancy Butler, who has lived at Victory Village for two years. She said she'll probably have to chuck the contents of her freezer, which have thawed twice in the last few days thanks to power outages.

Deanna Cadigan said there were residents on upper floors that were wheelchair-bound or with other mobility issues, and that if there were an emergency, neighbors would likely get hurt trying to help neighbors.

"It's just a mess," Cadigan said.

Martha Wax, a Bolinas resident who works in Stinson Beach on Marin’s coast, ultimately accepted a ride home rather than wait for a bus in a pop-up hailstorm.

Wax said her home had lost power briefly, as had the Redwoods Haus Bed and Breakfast, where she deep-cleans rooms.

Wax moved to into her Bolinas home in 1982, and her family had owned it before then, so she too remembered far worse storms.

"I just feel for people who have their businesses (here)," she said. —from Marin Independent Journal

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