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Cleanup time
Body & Bath, a mainstay in downtown Chico for 28 years, is closing at the end of April.

Randy Taylor, who has owned the shop with his wife, Katie, for 18 years, said business has been gradually slowing for about four years, and it’s just time to close up shop.

“It’s been a fun business—service oriented,” said Taylor, who bought the shop in part because he liked the idea of offering natural products and the ability to refill containers and save resources. Today, he said, “the new generations are looking for name brands.” The Taylors may continue to offer some of Body & Bath’s most popular custom-prepared products in another venue. Randy Taylor also plans to expand his side business of selling antiques.

He said he doesn’t want to sound negative because he loves Chico and its downtown, but big-box retailers, including Wal-Mart and CostCo, have cut into profits. Meanwhile, Taylor said, people aren’t shopping downtown like they used to—in part because of the perceived parking problem.

“I’m sad about it,” he said. “I still see downtown as a busy, vital place.” But he sees a shift from retail to entertainment-related businesses and eateries.

Case in point: Taylor has heard that once he’s out, the space will be taken over by a restaurant.

Time to learn a new bank name
Nearly four years after Red Bluff-based Tehama Bancorp merged with Eureka-based Humboldt Bancorp, a third bank is being added to the group.

The banking triad will now include—in fact, be controlled by—Umpqua Bank, which is based in Roseburg, Ore., and has 64 branches in that state and southwest Washington.

During a March 15 conference call, which was preceded by hold music featuring instrumental versions of “Did You Ever Know that You’re My Hero?” and “Desperado,” the CEOs of Umpqua and Humboldt promised that each of the resulting 91 branches would maintain a small-town feel.

“We will always remain a community bank,” said Ray Davis, Umpqua president and CEO. He said decisions will continue to be made locally, even as the merger positions Umpqua as “the breakout bank of the West.”

Robert Daughterty, CEO of Humboldt, said he’s “absolutely thrilled” because the banks share the same values. Their combined assets will be $4.6 billion.

Umpqua Bank was founded in 1953. Its parent company, the publicly traded Umpqua Holdings Corporation, has signed a deal to acquire all outstanding shares and common store of the other banks, pending approval by the shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Probably most significant to Chico bankers, who may not be familiar with the Umpqua name (it makes me think of dairy-fresh milk), all Humboldt branches, including Tehama banks, will change their names to Umpqua in an attempt to unify the company.

Davis said there will be no front-line staff reductions, but during the next three months they’ll talk about reducing “back room” positions—something they’re hoping to do through attrition. “The beauty of this transaction is there is no overlap of locations,” he said.

The banks have 1,400 to 1,500 employees altogether.