Why Santa Rosa

A History of Innovation

Santa Rosa is the premier Sonoma County location for entrepreneurial businesses wanting to access strong market share, vested educational institutions and public/private partnerships to help their businesses grow.

Santa Rosa is a business, retail and service hub for not only Sonoma County, but also Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Plumas and Lassen Counties. Because of this, Santa Rosa experiences post-rural secondary consumer behavior patterns which account for peoples' willingness to travel twice the standard market distance for a good or service.

Santa Rosa's location and its combination of family-friendly metropolitan amenities and natural beauty attract everyone from Generation Y to retirees.

Santa Rosa has an innovation history as long as its creeks and biking trails. Luther Burbank, a leader in horticulture and agriculture, friend and mentor to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, was one of Santa Rosa's best-known innovators, holding over 800 patents.

The spirit of innovation lives on today. Agilent Technologies calls Santa Rosa home for its worldwide technical operations center, while Amy's Kitchen is a local pioneer in the organic frozen food market.

Nissan's first green auto dealership in the United States is in Santa Rosa; Nissan recently chose Sonoma County as a pilot area for its new electric-powered Leaf vehicle.
The Meeting of Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, and Luther Burbank on the Porch of Burbank's Santa R
The Meeting of Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, and Luther Burbank on the Porch of Burbank’s Santa Rosa Home, 1915, Luther Burbank, Twentieth Century Fruits (Santa Rosa, California, 1916-1917); Courtesy New York Botanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library/Biodiversity Heritage Library

Central Location

Santa Rosa is located just an hour north of San Francisco. As the pulse‐point of Sonoma County, an area world‐renowned for its beauty, Santa Rosa offers access to a variety of business, recreation and tourism options.

Our central location is easily accessed by air, interstate or back road. The Sonoma County Airport offers multiple daily flights to Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Las Vegas, while the international airports for both San Francisco and Oakland are within a one and one‐half hour drive.

State Highway 101 provides easy access to the major north/south commerce corridor. Rail access for freight is available, and the north/south running SMART train will begin service in 2014.
Santa Rosa Location

Active Marketplace

Santa Rosa is home to a large trade area in the heart of a growing, high-income region that includes Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa and Humboldt counties. The 2010 population of the Santa Rosa market area is estimated at 672,611. With an average household size of 2.52, total population is anticipated to reach 686,901 by 2015.

Santa Rosa remains a strong retail center during recessionary times. While Santa Rosa is the 30th largest city in California, it is home to the number 1 Best Buy, number 1 Ross Store, number 1 Sleep Train, number 5 Walgreens, number 9 Costco and number 10 Sears in the state of California. Santa Rosa’s Benefit Brow Bar, located in the Santa Rosa Plaza Macy’s, is the number 1 Benefit in the United States.

Forecasts for Santa Rosa market area households for the 2010 - 2015 time frame show continued growth in our retail marketplace. By 2015, potential local trade area sales of $5.3 billion will support 20.4 million square feet of retail space.
Santa Rosa Retail Market Area

Outstanding Educational Opportunities

Santa Rosa offers educational opportunities as diverse as its marketplace. The public school system boasts 37 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and five high schools. SAT scores for college-bound high school graduates in Santa Rosa rank above the county, state and national averages. There are also ample top-rated private high school choices in the area.

Santa Rosa Junior College, founded in 1918, is the tenth oldest of California's 109 publicly funded two-year colleges. SRJC offers a strong general education program for students planning to transfer to four-year colleges, and more than 175 career skills certificate programs that prepare students for the workforce in fields as diverse as medical technology, digital arts, viticulture and agriculture.

Four-year institutions include Sonoma State University, with a tradition of promoting intellectual and personal growth, leadership opportunities and technological proficiency. SSU programs include wine business management, nursing, and engineering. The University of San Francisco, with a conveniently located downtown campus, offers degree programs in education, applied economics, public administration and project management.
Santa Rosa Junior College's Doyle Library

Arts & Culture

Santa Rosa boasts several venues that attract world-acclaimed entertainers and productions. Our Wells Fargo Center for the Arts offers the perfect environment for performances from music to comedy, and the intimate venue has become a favorite for many HBO specials.

The Sonoma County Museum is the cornerstone of Santa Rosa's Arts District. The Arts District hosts a wide variety of arts-related events throughout the year, including the "Live at Juilliard" concert series, Fridays on Fourth, the Handcar Regatta and exhibits at the Phantom Gallery. Installations from Santa Rosa's large public art program can be viewed throughout the city.
Santa Rosa Symphony

Plentiful Recreation

It is easy to discover why people love the outdoor activities Santa Rosa has to offer. The area has wonderful state, county and local parks that are great for almost any sporting activity you can imagine. The beautifully rugged Pacific coastline is just minutes away.

Food & Wine Hub

Looking for gourmet food fit for any budget? At Santa Rosa's enticing markets and restaurants, you'll find seasonally delicious eats and drinks any time of the year and you'll understand the meaning of farm to table freshness. Explore the bounty of Sonoma County with the array of gourmet, ethnic and local goodies available for creating memorable meals.

Many food producers call Santa Rosa home. Amy's Kitchen, the nation's leading natural frozen food brand, is here, along with La Tortilla Factory. Food Network stars Guy Fieri and Duskie Estes hail from Santa Rosa and found their first success in our restaurant mecca.

Just before the turn of the twentieth century, Thomas Lake Harris, Kanaye Nagasawa and Isaac de Turk solidified Sonoma County as a wine destination, creating Fountaingrove Winery as one of the first in the area. Producing all the top California varietals, Santa Rosa wineries include Paradise Ridge, Carol Shelton, Siduri, Kendall-Jackson and Matanzas Creek, to name a few.
Grapes on the Vine

Community Partnerships

Santa Rosa is a partner in the North Bay IHub, 1 of 8 in California. Its focus is to create high value jobs in the North Bay by enabling and accelerating the success of technology startups and emerging growth companies. The IHub's goal is to grow and expand current collaboration activities to the point where our region becomes a recognized center for sustainable resources and socially-relevant technologies.

The North Bay Growth and Innovation Forum, a production of the City in partnership with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the North Bay Angels, showcases start-up or second-stage companies working in one of 5 core clusters:
  • Clean technology
  • Advanced technology
  • Biomedical/biotechnology
  • Health/wellness
  • Food/wine product development
The goal of this program is to enable the creation and growth of new businesses through education, mentoring and exposure to capital sources.
Santa Rosa Neighborhood

Distinct Neighborhoods

Santa Rosa is home to many vibrant neighborhoods, each with unique and wonderful architectural elements. Neighborhoods in Santa Rosa have distinct personalities, providing everything from a downtown lifestyle to country living. Housing is affordable and plentiful.