Economic Development News
From Ross Welch, Executive Director

Happy New Year! 

From earthquakes and power outages to damaging winds and rain storms, 2023 had quite the start. Even with all our recent experience handling the pandemic, being faced with any natural disaster is always jarring, and the constant release of new information can be overwhelming. At AEDC, we support the organizations that keep us informed and prepared when it comes to disaster relief. Rather than add to the noise, we aim to provide the resources that our community’s small businesses lean on during such challenging times. Keep reading below for links and guides to Disaster Resources. 

On another note, we had a great time at the Cocktails and Crooners hosted by the Eureka Chamber of Commerce. We wanted to give a special shoutout to the Greater Eureka Chamber for recognizing our Program Director and former Eureka Mayor, Susan Seaman! New Greater Eureka Chamber Board Chair, Kate Witthaus of Northern California Community Blood Bank presented the award, saying, "Every year we honor a community leader for their extraordinary service to the Greater Eureka area. This year we celebrate the leadership of someone who not only leads major collaborative economic development efforts through her work but also very capably served in elected office for the past four years. It is our privilege to present the 2022 Leadership Impact Award to former Eureka Mayor and ongoing community champion through her work at AEDC… Susan Seaman!" Congratulations Susan!

We're proud of our whole team at AEDC. This is a bittersweet newsletter in that respect. Our loan officer Jayne is retiring. She and I have been together since I started at AEDC. Her skill and experience will be missed. She has earned a relaxing retirement. We're also saying goodbye to our PIIP Director, Ursula Bischoff. She was only at AEDC for a short time, but she made a tremendous impact, earning one $5M grant and submitting another. She'll be doing good work in the community and we'll look forward to our paths crossing in our work.

-- Ross

Customer Highlight: The Saw Shop Public House

If you’ve ever driven through Kelseyville, chances are you might have stopped at The Saw Shop Public House for a bite to eat. Built in 1931, what now stands as a restaurant and pub was originally a private home bought from a Sears Roebuck catalog. It served as the residence for several Kelseyville families until it was converted to Cooke’s Saw Shop & Paint Store in the ‘70s. 

In early 2000, Marie Beery bought the property and converted it into the Saw Shop Gallery & Bistro. Known for its tasty bites and ambiance, community members quickly made this their go-to gathering spot and the Saw Shop Gallery & Bistro became the heart of the community. 

Weston Seifert was not only a frequent customer at the beloved bistro but also worked there from 2008 to 2011. “The location, the building’s rich history, and the way Marie took care of her staff and community captured my heart,” explains Weston. So when the opportunity came for new ownership, he knew he couldn’t turn down the chance to continue the Saw Shop’s legacy. 

After negotiating a deal with Marie, Weston strived to continue the success of the Saw Shop Gallery & Bistro which meant upholding its reputation as a sanctuary for his community. With a great team of people behind him, Weston doubled down on aiming to make the Saw Shop a space for the community where everyone would feel welcome to gather, laugh, and relax together. 

In 2019 the name was changed to The Saw Shop Public House to better reflect its role in the community as a gathering space. “It made sense for it to be called a ‘public house’ which is actually just an old term for a Pub,” said Seifert. 

In 2022, Weston took out a loan with AEDC in an effort to expand the operation. “It’s been a fantastic working relationship with the team over at AEDC, they’ve helped me remove any obstacles and have been extremely supportive throughout the entire process. They’ve got a great team, and I highly recommend working with them,” says Weston. 

This loan will help with updating the back of the property and its transition into a Beer Garden, which will soon be known as the Saw Shop Backyard. Construction is said to be finishing up in the coming weeks, and they’ll be open just in time for summer. The Saw Shop Backyard will be Kelseyvile's newest outdoor venue and bar featuring a 20-stool firepit, a pavilion for live music, and a food trailer that will service the outside customers. 

It will be the perfect place to gather for a bite to eat, sip cocktails, and enjoy live music fireside. Open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Sunday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, stop by for hearty scratch-made pub fare made from local, fresh, organic ingredients and enjoy their signature craft cocktails. To learn more about The Saw Shop Public House and to view their menu, visit their website

CERF Is Launching!

We are excited to announce that we just signed a contract with the California Economic Development Department for $5 million through September 30, 2024. This signifies the offical launch of our region’s California Economic Resilience Fund, or CERF—and now, some of the real work begins! 

Within the first 90 days, there are multiple milestones that will come up. The first is to convene the High Road Transition Collaborative (HRTC). An early assessment of the following items must be completed for the initial report to the state.

  1. Community Partner Inclusion Assessment
  2. Regional Summary of Demographics, Equity, Health, and Sustainability Analysis
  3. Labor Market Analysis
  4. Industry Cluster Analysis
  5. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) Analysis

The California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) at Cal Poly Humboldt is the convener, with North Coast Opportunities (NCO) as the community outreach and engagement partner for this project. AEDC, CCRP and NCO are working swiftly to hire additional support for communications, outreach and administration. 

North Coast Opportunities have received several requests for the CERF narrative and budget. Those documents are linked below. Thank you all for your encouragement during this delayed contracting process. For any questions, email

Please note, the CERF Planning Grant, Redwood Region RISE, is separate from the CERF Pilot Implementation grant that is currently open. If you would like more information about that program, you can find it here

Click here to view CERF Proposal Narrative - Redwood Coast Region

Click here to view CERF Budget - Redwood Coast Region

Jayne Lovig, Retirement

Congratulations are in order for our outgoing Loan Officer, Jayne Lovig, who is retiring after working at AEDC for 15 years! We will miss her dearly, and are truly so grateful to have had her on our team. We got a chance to reflect with Jayne on her time at AEDC and here’s what she had to say. 

How did you get your start at AEDC? 

Both of my daughters moved up to Arcata from southern California to attend Humboldt State University. My husband and I came up for visits every few months, so I started checking the job postings up here. I interviewed for the Loan Officer position with Kelli Sterling, AEDC’s current Loan Manager, in November 2007. She gave me a call a week later and asked if I could start in 30 days! My first day with AEDC was January 13th, 2008.

Tell us about your role at AEDC...

As a loan officer, I was responsible for underwriting new loans. I also provided support to the loan servicing department.

What was your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of the job has always been working with borrowers. I’m very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to take all my years of training and experience to guide and assist them in making a tangible difference in our local community. 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment regarding the work you did for AEDC?

My greatest accomplishment is knowing that–with a couple of rare exceptions–all the businesses I’ve worked with over the past 15 years still have an ‘Open” sign on the door.

What advice do you have for other AEDC associates?

My advice to future AEDC associates is to ask themselves, “What kind of community do you want to live in, and how are you going to help it get there?”

What are you looking forward to most about retirement?

I’m looking forward to tending my garden (this time all the way through to harvest season), beginning some homeschooling for my two granddaughters, enjoying sunsets with my hubby of 48 years, and dusting off my sewing machine. And when you see me in Arcata, please stop and say hello!

Leadership Redwood Coast Is Almost Here!

As we continue to move forward with the interview stage, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with this process and those who have helped spread the word about applying to Leadership Redwood Coast

“Getting an opportunity to hear from each of the applicants during the interview process has been so inspiring,” says Allie Jones, Director of Outreach and Communication for LRC. “With such a broad range of applicants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, it’s exciting to see what a dynamic group we’ll have in our inaugural cohort.” Jones and Director of Program and Development Nancy Olson are busy behind the scenes getting everything ready as we look forward to the launch of Leadership Redwood Coast in March. 

Leadership Redwood Coast will center on empowering diverse individuals throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, and adjacent Tribal lands with the tools, connections, and insight they need to effect equitable and innovative change. Through transformative leadership development, immersive experiences throughout our two counties, and ongoing conversations rooted in candor and optimism, participating leaders will gain the tools, connections, and insight they need to effect equitable and innovative change throughout the Redwood Coast. 

This program will guide diverse leaders through leadership development training as well as in-person excursions throughout our two counties. Launching in March, leaders will broaden their understanding of our region’s critical opportunities and complex challenges. 

To learn more about Leadership Redwood Coast, visit their website at


Disaster Work

If your business has been impacted by the recent complex of disasters on the North Coast, there’s support available! Click here to learn what loans and grants are available, how to get good advice about recovery strategies, and more. If you prefer to talk to someone in person don't hesitate to get the information you need, visit their office at the Rio Dell Community Resource Center (406 Wildwood Avenue, Rio Dell, CA). 

The SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center is relocating from Fortuna to Rio Dell and will remain open and staffed for two more weeks. You can visit them between January 30th - February 10th, Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M. *Please Note: we are maintaining updates on disaster assistance for businesses at

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Arcata Economic Development Corporation

Fax: (707) 798-6130
Tel: (707) 798-6132
707 K Street, Eureka, CA 95501

Newsletter produced by
Allie Jones, Illuminated Marketing
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