Sights (or bites) and sounds from the Napa Chamber

Busy is good: March was a good month of engaging, connecting and collaborating for the Napa Chamber of Commerce (NCC) — and our Ambassadors — and that’s always a positive sign for local business.

There were three grand-opening ribbon cuttings (Bank of Napa, Brookdale Senior Living, Round Table Pizza), or four if you include the Andaz hotel “reopening” at the end of the month. I’m sure there were more, but NCC was thrilled to take part in these.

Congratulations to Andaz General Manager Greg Nomura — operating at full-room capacity for the first time since August. I think it’s safe to speak on behalf of all downtown business merchants when I say “welcome back.”

It was also nice to see John Evans (Silverado Resort and Spa GM) and Don Shindle (Westin Verasa GM) in attendance to show their support, despite the healthy competition that exists among the group … three of the best in the business.

Big kudos to Executive Director Priscilla Holmes at Brookdale Napa, who had one of the “grandest” openings I’ve seen in my time here at the Chamber. Festivities included a live band, extensive array of food and wine, and a large tented outdoor seating area that came in very handy as temperatures hit the high 80s that afternoon. Thank you all very much for inviting us to be a part of your celebration.

Third time’s a charm: I must acknowledge the efforts of one local business owner whose business has persevered, and is now thriving in yet another new location – its third since August.

Thanks to the collaborative effort of Todd Zapolski, developer of Shops at Napa Center, Indra Fortney and Boho Lifestyle have landed firmly on their feet at 1390 First St. (the former Thomas Kinkade art gallery).

Please join us: The Napa Chamber of Commerce will host our next Business After Hours at Eiko’s Modern Japanese Cuisine, where owner Rick Zaslove kindly asks me to remind prospective diners that 33 percent of the menu contains cooked items for the non-sushi eaters.

I can attest to the fact that 100 percent of the menu by executive chef Jake Rand is fantastic! If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, Eiko’s Social Hour menu may be one of downtown’s best kept (and affordable) secrets. Go to for details.

Members helping members: Scott Gilbert, proud Chamber member and owner of Gresco Marketing, was among the apartment dwellers caught in the Brown Street fire on March 19.

Unlike the three reported injured firefighters, Gilbert and his fiancee managed to walk away physically unharmed – but lost all of their personal possessions. I’d like to acknowledge Chamber members Andreas and Georgia Mueller-Schubert (WSI Digital Marketing), who immediately welcomed Gilbert into their home while he’s working on a permanent resolution.

Dear anonymous: An anonymous business owner commented on my last column where I wrote “invest in the Chamber if you also want to have a voice.“ The business owner asked “a voice with whom?”

How about potential customers, Chamber members and ambassadors to start? Introduce yourself to the new NCC team … we’re polite and professional.

Thank you for reading!