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.
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 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.”
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.