Local business owners and community members celebrated Richmond’s advantageous locale while highlighting local transportation challenges at Mayor Tom Butt’s final business roundtable of the year on Thursday.
As with the previous roundtables, Thursday’s event gathered a panel of representatives from local businesses to discuss their experiences doing business in the City before a room of over two-dozen community members and business owners. The goal of these roundtables – hosted by the Mayor’s office – has been to promote a more positive, accessible business culture in Richmond.
Angie Wesbrock from Hello Fresh and Sara Kobrinky and Jered Nelson from Jered’s Pottery made presentations about what they have seen as the main advantages and disadvantages of doing business in the city. The two businesses vary greatly in their scope and focus, but each found that the city’s unique placement in the Bay Area has proven advantageous to their goals.
Hello Fresh, a food delivery service which curates menus and ingredients for customers to make their own meals, moved into Richmond just a month ago, and already the business is seeing the benefits of being based in Richmond.
“We deliver four million meals a month across seven different countries…and for our business there are so many advantages of being in Richmond,” said Wesbrock. “Public transit access is close by, we’re in close proximity to our shipping partners with the port nearby, and our wages are very competitive in the area.”
Jered’s Pottery, though a much smaller business, has also found Richmond’s locale advantageous for the accessibility to its business partners it provides. The ceramics studio and shop, based at 19th Street and Meeker Avenue, has been in Richmond for a year and a half. In this time, it has seen the city’s arts culture thrive nearby.
“The ceramics suppliers were priced out of San Francisco, and now we’ve found them located right around the corner from us,” explained Kobrinsky. “We now have a growing ceramics community, and one day we’d like to see this area be renamed as a ceramics district.”
While the representatives from Hello Fresh and Jered’s Pottery spoke to the advantages of being located in Richmond, in terms of access to their business partners, others saw room for improvement. Wesbrock and other community members in attendance cited access public transit as an area where the city has room to improve.
“Many of our employees enjoy not having to cross the Bay Bridge into work and the BART is accessible, but waits for the bus from the BART to the Marina can take up to 20 minutes, which is a struggle,” Wesbrock said. “I would like to see increased public transit in the city.”
The Mayor’s office held three previous roundtable events to gather a broad scope of the city’s business community together for productive conversation, and each such meeting as provided new insights into where the city has room to improve the city’s business climate. The next business roundtable will be held in February.