While 2021 wasn’t a banner year for new business openings in Shasta County, some companies did debut as the region emerged from pandemic-related restrictions.
A bigger trend appeared to be for existing establishments to expand or settle into new locations.
One of those companies, internet retailer Adventure Challenge, took on its sixth site in downtown Redding a few months ago, on the corner of Market and Tehama streets.
With 100 employees, Adventure Challenge is looking to eventually consolidate all its workers in a single location, founder and president Bryant Ellis said.
“Hopefully next year, we get a nice, big place,” Ellis said.
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Founded in Redding in 2018, the business produces and sells different books containing scratch-off sections listing activity ideas designed to entertain families, individuals, couples or friends. People’s cravings for connection during the pandemic helped fuel the company’s sales all over the world, he said.
Since its start, the company’s revenue has topped $100 million, he said. That growth helped Ellis land on the latest Forbes “30 Under 30 Retail & Ecommerce” list.
Health care centers open new spaces
Some health care businesses established new digs in 2021.
Hill Country Health and Wellness Center opened a new campus in July that consolidates its various operations around the city and also includes housing for homeless youths.
Located on a formerly vacant lot at 1201 Industrial St., Hill Country Center of Hope is behind the U.S. Post Office and the Redding Adventist Academy.
Hill Country CEO Lynn Dorroh said the organization’s youth housing fourplex, next to the clinic, is partially full with students from the California Heritage Youthbuild Academy and Shasta College.
The group’s Gold Street Medical Clinic and CARE Center remain open in downtown Redding, Dorroh said.
Hill Country’s Lake Boulevard medical clinic, Eureka Way dental clinic and Market Street counseling center have all closed and moved to the Center of Hope.
Dorroh said the new facility created 17 new full-time jobs since it opened, among them medical and dental providers, behavioral health specialists and front office workers. Hill Country expects to add about 20 more positions in 2022, she said.
In December, the state-of-the-art complex Redding VA Outpatient clinic opened at 3455 Knighton Road.
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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a $14.4 million lease for the Knighton Road clinic, which is across the street from the Redding Veterans Home.
The new clinic employs 225, including 27 physicians and nurse practitioners. Officials expect the facility to serve about 15,000 patients annually through its primary and specialty medical care as well as mental health services.
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New businesses applications rise, but …
All this comes as the U.S. Census Bureau reported in December that new business license applications surged in late 2020 and in early 2021, according to North State economist Robert Eyler.
But the number of new businesses that actually opened in the northern part of the state appears to have failed to match growth expectations, Eyler said.
The latest release of Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics data shows that nearly 1.4 million applications have been filed to form new businesses that are likely to hire employees through September of 2021 — the most through the third quarter of any year on record, the agency said.
Seasonally adjusted business application and formation numbers also rose throughout the western United States in November, according to a census report.
“There has not been this new explosion of businesses in net,” Eyler said of what he’s learning anecdotally. “You’re seeing more business license applications, but not necessarily more businesses, in the classic sense. Generally, you’ve got to imagine that people are still relatively reticent to jump in and start a new business in this environment, which still has a lot of uncertainty in it.”
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Eyler said some suggest that many of the business license applications came from people who moved in from out of the region, brought their businesses with them and are now self employed here.
In fact, official year-end figures could show a net small decrease in the total number of businesses in the North State, Eyler said.
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Eateries are among the sectors appearing to hold steady.
Several new restaurants have opened in Shasta, Tehama and Butte counties, even though pandemic restrictions limiting indoor dining numbers have hurt the industry.
The new dining destinations that have opened are probably “filling some niches that otherwise are being left behind, either by restaurants that maybe are in decline because their business model had to change,” Eyler said.
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Some entrepreneurs are banking that Redding is also ready to read, as two independent, locally-owned bookstores set up shop.
Shop Around the Corner Books opened in early December at 1430 Butte St. just west of Market Street Uniforms.
And Bargain Books & More, which opened in May 2020, recently relocated to 2146 Pine St.
According to the Record Searchlight’s David Benda, owners of both bookstores believe the ebook fad is now fading while interest in old-school books are experiencing a revival with millennials now embracing vintage clothing and vinyl record collections.
Yoga business takes root in Redding
Lingering economic uncertainty didn’t stop Redding resident Lilla Taylor from renting a downtown space in August to locate Simply Rooted, her fitness-focused business that also includes an event space.
The yoga teacher and certified personal trainer founded a mobile yoga business in 2019, traveling to various places to put on parties. Seeing the revitalization happening in downtown Redding, she said she jumped when the location on Yuba Street became available.
“I stumbled across this location and just saw potential … and knew this would be just the perfect spot downtown,” she said.
In addition to yoga classes, line dancing, boxing lessons and renting out the social distancing-friendly space for weddings and parties, “we’re just kind of expanding slowly,” she said.
The pandemic has continued to cause problems for some companies that want to expand, including Valley Ace Hardware at 1350 Hartnell Ave.
The store was poised to open a new 9,450-square-foot Ace equipment rental and outdoor garden center next to their store in 2021. That new building is now nearly complete.
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But there have been “supply chain” issues that hurt their ability to get needed parts, display shelves and equipment, said Remington Martin, son of Ace store owner Todd Martin.
“All those things have been backlogged. It took months just to get our fixtures in. All those things kind of put a pause on getting open,” Remington Martin said.
All the needed parts have finally arrived, he said. After completing the building’s interior, he said they hope to open in early February and will look to hire about eight more employees.
This story looks at some of the new and expanding businesses in Redding. If you know of more, please get in touch with Michele Chandler at email@example.com.
Michele Chandler covers city government and housing issues for the Redding Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. Follow her on Twitter at @MChandler_RS, call her at 530-225-8344 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support our entire newsroom’s commitment to public service journalism by subscribing today.