Economy in perspective

Golden Valley Bank’s economic snapshot shows decline after initial Camp Fire-related boom

Business has been booming in Chico since the Camp Fire, but it’s starting to slow down. That’s not surprising, given that we saw a huge influx of people in town immediately after the disaster, though their numbers are waning as housing opens up on the Ridge and elsewhere.

But as an example of how skewed our numbers are right now, Golden Valley Bank released its economic snapshot for the second quarter of 2019, showing a steep decline in transient occupancy taxes (-21.6 percent) and building (-42.1 percent), and a not-unnoticeable drop in sales tax (-3.2 percent) and employment (-9 percent) as well. The overall snapshot was down 16.4 percent over the first quarter.

It’s important to not look at that number in a vacuum, however. The bank’s president and CEO, Mark Francis, puts it into perspective: “Sales tax revenue was over $6.2 million, the second highest level since Q1 2010, but down from last quarter. TOT (hotel bed tax) had its largest quarterly decrease since 2010 following a period of abnormal increases due to the fire ….”

So, we may have experienced a drop, but it was a drop from on high. And while business confidence is on the fence, more survey respondents are confident things will stay the same or get better than fear further decline. So, let’s look on the bright side. For the whole report, go to

Undressed Chico’s retail clothing scene is taking quite a beating. I announced recently the closure of Red Fly downtown. But there are more: Avenue Plus Size Clothing is closing all its physical stores, and Chico’s is among them. It’s still selling online, but based on some of the feedback I’m reading, I suggest giving it a little time to get through its growing pains.

Aside from that, Labelz Upscale Consignment Boutique announced an impending closure in August. I called earlier this week to check on a date and was informed that the store (on Mangrove, by Unwined) was bought and that it will stay open—stay tuned for more details.

Last but not least, Forever 21 announced Sunday it’s filing for bankruptcy. It also announced the 180 stores it foresees closing in the near future and, you guessed it, Chico’s is among them. I can’t say I’m surprised—the space was much too big for the discount boutique. I wish plans to move it into a smaller space within the Chico Mall had come to fruition, but it’s more likely we’ll see that shop close altogether.

Manufacturing Day To celebrate this national holiday, Transfer Flow, which creates auto fuel tank systems, is opening its doors to the public for factory tours. The idea behind the day is to highlight manufacturing’s contribution to local economies. For those unfamiliar, Transfer Flow opened in 1983 and employs 88 people locally.

Check it out: Friday, Oct. 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 1444 Fortress St.