While Friday promises a brief respite before the next storms, the challenges of bad weather continue to be felt by local businesses.
As storms continue to bear down on Sonoma County, local businesses are especially affected, but not just by floodwaters.
Several local restaurants, wineries and hotels had to close over the past few days after the brunt of the storm was felt on Monday. Businesses are moving perishable food to restaurants that aren’t prone to flooding, lifting furniture off the ground to prevent water damage and bringing in employees to help clean up the property. In the midst of a shutdown, little or no revenue is coming in to offset the additional expense.
Here’s how the storms affected some businesses in Sonoma County:
Boon Hotel + Spa owner Crista Luedtke said the facility is closed for its usual 10-day winter break, with an additional three days due to weather.
The property suffered some flooding and minimal damage, and the storm is keeping customers away, she said. The hotel was also without electricity for about 24 hours.
Originally scheduled for Wednesday, Boon’s reopening has been pushed back to Friday.
“It’s just a continuing blow to small businesses and to them and, frankly, to employees,” she said. “I have employees who will struggle because they don’t work for a few days and it’s not just me. It’s happening everywhere and all over the city.”
Rio Nido Roadhouse owner Brad Metzger said his restaurant has moved on from worrying about flooding and damage to cleaning up the space and getting ready for Wednesday night.
The restaurant reopened Tuesday afternoon, and crews are finishing cleaning up a “big wet mess” from the storm.
“We lost power the first or second day, and they gave us power very quickly,” he said.
Metzger closed his restaurant for seven days due to the storm, which also affected his employees.
“These employees depend on tips every day,” he said. “When you’re not open, you start moving backwards every day.”
Barlow was hit particularly hard in 2019 when water from the Laguna de Santa Rosa flooded the area after a series of heavy storms.
But Koshō restaurant owner Jake Rand said that wasn’t the case with the recent downpours.
Still, the storms — in the midst of a typical January lull — caused a drop in foot traffic for the restaurant, but the storm’s effects weren’t too bad.
“It was an ominous forecast that a lot of people had spent the last nine or 10 days preparing for the worst possible scenario,” he said.
“We actually kept the power on the whole time … the water forecast was a little higher and it caused uncertainty and discomfort when it came to staffing and ordering, but other than that and just the inconvenience, it was fine.”
Jordan Kivelstadt projects a $40,000 to $50,000 cut in profits after the storms.
He had planned to reopen his Sonoma winery, Kivelstadt Cellars & WineGarten, on Jan. 4 after the typical holiday break, but that was delayed by three days because of rain.
But then, he said, the roads leading to his property were closed on Saturday. He hasn’t had a single day of work since the roads reopened Wednesday afternoon.
“It was really hairy down here Monday,” Kivelstadt said.
Located at 22900 Broadway Ave., his winery is prone to flooding and road closures. He is trying to get compensation through his flood insurance, but it covers property damage, not business interruption, he said. He pays $11,000 a year for the $500,000 policy that his lender requires.
About 150 people are scheduled to attend the wine tasting this weekend at the Kivelstadt estate. But he and other business owners in the area are now wondering if significant storms expected later this week will lead to further impacts and closures. —Rebecca Wolff, Sonoma Index-Tribune
Several property insurance claims
Ken Keeney, executive vice president at Newfront, which insures a number of North Bay wineries and other businesses, said the calls were not from commercial insurers.
“We haven’t seen any requests or any inquiries about coverage if we don’t already have it with our clients,” said Keeney, who works out of the company’s Petaluma office.
One of the reasons interest has been low for new commercial flood protection is that it is already required by corporate lenders or the location is along a waterway and could be at risk, he said.
Flooding is usually an excluded peril in commercial property insurance, but claims for water damage resulting from blown shingles or other roofing in a storm may be accepted.