Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Focus – March 2024

March 25, 2024

Exciting News for Downtown Gilroy

Contributed by Jeff Orth, Chairman of the Gilroy Downtown Business Association

The Gilroy Downtown Business Association – in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Gilroy, and the City of Gilroy – has been working to make our downtown one that is safe, clean, and an inviting destination. A place where couples and families come for relaxation and recreation.

There are so many exciting things happening downtown that it is hard to know where to start. 

How about places that have opened recently:

  • Camino Coffee on 7th and Monterey opened a couple of weeks ago and is a welcoming place for a great cup of coffee and amazing pastries.
  • Gilroy Bowl is finally open and boy was it worth the wait. This is a great place to hang out with friends with a great bar and an indoor/outdoor experience. This place is so much more than a traditional bowling alley.
  • Cannery Marketplace is open next to Ivori. Since it is an incubator for small start-up businesses you can count on a unique and interesting experience each time you check it out.

How about places that will open soon:

  • Workingman’s Emporium is moving from downtown San Jose to Gilroy next to Pour Me Taproom. Fixtures have arrived and been assembled. So, it looks like this place will be opening soon.
  • Covale Taproom and Bottle Shop are weeks away from offering a great rooftop experience over by the newly developing Gourmet Alley. This will be a great place to visit with friends on a summer evening.
  • Moya Art Gallery will bring another great art gallery and classroom to our downtown. This could be open within a month or two.
  • A regional bakery with a coffee shop is planning to start moving in April.
  • Celestial Trading Co. has gotten pretty busy and is moving to a bigger spot on 5th Street.

How about some places that are in the process of getting their business open:

  • Delicias Mi Ocampo on Monterey, near Fourth Street, will be a great place for a churro, ice cream or a nice cup of coffee.
  • Petiscos which means little Portugal will offer small plates and fresh pastries made on site. The owners Carlos and Fernanda Carreras are Michelin Star restauranters.
  • Psycho Donuts & Pizza Box will have two distinct storefronts one on Gourmet Alley and one on Monterey. For exceptional pizza and a truly unique donut experience, you are not going to want to miss this.
  • Promise Land #2 or at least that’s what I will call it till they decide on a name.  This place looks like it could be ready for a craft beer and brick oven pizza sometime soon.

How about some properties that are currently being developed:

  • An Asian market and food court
  • Possibly two Italian restaurants 
  • A wine-tasting bar
  • A takeover kitchen with pods in the Gourmet Alley

What about Gourmet Alley?

The City of Gilroy was awarded $3.9 million for infrastructure and aesthetic improvements of Gourmet Alley to create a pedestrian-friendly pathway. This is an exciting and long-awaited project that will improve our downtown experience. There is a community meeting at City Hall Council Chambers on April 3rd at 5:30 PM. Construction is scheduled to start on April 8. 

In my view, Gilroy’s downtown is currently accelerating through a tipping point and has become an integral part of making Gilroy a destination location where people want to come live, work, and play.

Unlocking the Success of Signature Events

Unlocking the Success of Signature Events

Contributed by Mary Gurries, Tourism and Community Engagement Coordinator

In a recent webinar from Miles Partnership and Future Partners, “Destination Decisions” by The State of the American Traveler, we get an inside look of travel sentiment and trends. Some key features were recognized for having a lasting impact in tourism and travel for their community:

Key Features of Top-Performing Signature Events

  1. Seasonal Superstar: These events are consciously planned during shoulder and off- seasons that boost visitation and economic activity during slower periods.
  2. Local Hero: From planning to production, these events foster strong connections and support from the local community to navigate challenges, ensuring events maintain community backing.
  3. Visitor Draw: Attracting visitors and tourist-spending from outside the region, these events lean on the special traits of the destination, giving people a unique reason to travel for an event.
  4. Authentic Story: The unique arts, food, culture, heritage, and natural landscape of a destination tells a particular story of beauty through signature events. Bringing these stories to life serves as a strong foundation for events that resonate with the community and its visitors.
  5. Time Tested: Events built with lasting appeal, demonstrating resilience to challenges, and evolving to meet the needs of both locals and visitors.
  6. Unlikely Winner: Dare to be distinctive. Unexpected, quirky, or modern elements in signature events tell unique stories, setting them apart from standard events.

The Latest Traveler Sentiments

According to January polls conducted by Future Partners, travelers indicated the following interests: Millennials and Gen-Z are the most interested in traveling for a signature local event, with the top interests being Food and Drink Festivals, followed closely by Music Festivals. Urban residents, and families with school-aged children are also the top contenders willing to travel to a destination hosting a signature event. The latest research shows that nearly two- thirds of travelers were interested in traveling to a destination for a signature local event.

Gilroy’s Event Legacy
A recent collaboration between OccasionGenius, and Miles Partnership supplies a list of “Hall of Fame” events across the country. In the Food Festival category, the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, established in 1979, stands a testament to the community’s spirit. Today, the Garlic Festival’s legacy thrives by hosting seasonal community events and contributing over $12 million to-date to local groups, benefiting charities and non-profits in celebration of garlic’s significance to Gilroy.

Bill to Protect Small Businesses

Legislation sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce to ease the regulatory burden on small businesses is moving in the California Assembly.

AB 2011 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda) makes permanent the Civil Rights Department small employer family leave mediation program, benefitting both workers and small employers.


In 2020, SB 1383 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) expanded the family leave requirements under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Beginning January 1, 2021, CFRA went from applying to employers with 50 or more employees to small employers with just five or more employees. SB 1383 also expanded the family members for which an employee could take leave under CFRA to provide care.

The regulations governing CFRA are lengthy and complex. Small employers do not have the means to hire human resources professionals or counsel to advise them on the details. The private right of action in CFRA means any mistake exposes small businesses to lawsuits that could quickly put them out of business.

To alleviate SB 1383’s threat of litigation for small businesses, budget trailer bill AB 1867 of 2020 required the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to establish a small employer mediation pilot program. All family leave claims brought against small employers with five to 19 employees could be sent to mediation, instead of directly to court.

In 2021, AB 1033 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda) improved the processes within the program and AB 1949 (Low; D-Silicon Valley) added bereavement leave to the scope of the program. The program is set to sunset on January 1, 2025.

Successful Program

Since its inception, the program has been successful. More than half of the mediated cases have resulted in settlement with hundreds of thousands of dollars going directly to workers.

In a letter urging the Legislature to make the mediation program permanent, the CalChamber and the many employer associations supporting AB 2011 say the mediation option has been an important way to protect small businesses while maintaining labor rights.

The AB 2011 supporters also ask the Legislature to expand the scope of the mediation program to include reproductive loss leave, which is a new leave requirement that also applies to small businesses.

AB 2011 won unanimous approval from both the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee and will be considered next by the full Assembly.

Staff Contact: Ashley Hoffman

Fast Food Minimum Wage

Per Assembly Bill 1228, the fast food minimum wage takes effect April 1, 2024, which means:

  • The minimum wage for covered “fast food restaurant employees” increases to $20/hour beginning April 1, 2024.
  • Also beginning April 1, employers covered by the fast food minimum wage must post the supplemental fast food minimum wage notice (available from CalChamber in English, Spanish and Simplified Chinese).
  • The Labor Commissioner’s FAQs identify who is covered under the law, along with additional criteria and exemptions for fast food restaurants.

March 11, 2024

Gilroy Gardens - Gilroy Appreciation Day

Gilroy residents are invited to come enjoy the beautiful gardens where fun grows on trees! A golden ticket was sent to all Gilroy residents by mail and includes FREE admission for up to six guests plus FREE parking! 

Present your ticket at any ticket window with proof of residency (zip codes 95020 or 95021). or call (408) 840 – 7100 for more information.

Silicon Valley SBDC Business Bootcamp

Apply Here

General Session 4/5/2024 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)  
Session #2 4/12/2024 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)  
Session #3 4/19/2024 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)  
Session #4 4/26/2024 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)  

 Open – 3 places remaining
 4/5/2024 1:00 PM (PDT)
 No Fee

 Kim Tung Tran

 Online Meeting (Live)
 Business Plan, Business Start-up/Preplanning, Managing a Business

This is an introductory course providing basic knowledge of the business startup process as facilitated by the Silicon Valley SBDC. Our work together will focus on the startup process, through a 4-week program consisting of 3 hours of dedicated time each week, including 90 minutes of classroom training and 60 minutes of work with a no-fee consultant provided by Silicon Valley SBDC Network. Learners are expected to complete all 4 classes, complete a business plan, and launch their business.

This program will go over a foundational, comprehensive knowledge base covering:

  • Ideation and Concept Feasibility
  • The SBDC Network & Center
  • Business Entities
  • Business Licensing & Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Elements of a Business Plan
  • Budgeting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Taxes
  • Human Resources
  • Networking
  • And other salient elements of starting a business.

The registrant can expect to be ready to finish a business plan with an SBDC Advisor, receive a certification of completion from the SBDC, and launch their business.  Additionally, as the program is highly interactive, to network with their collogues and hopefully, collaborate in the future.


About our Instructor:

Dr. Pablo Paredes Romero is a Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at
California State University-Stanislaus and Visiting Professor of Organizational Behavior,
Entrepreneurship, Marketing, International Business, and Management at Menlo
College in Atherton, CA. He is a Latinx small business owner who grew up in Puerto
Rico, and a People Operations, Human Resources, Organizational
Behavior/Development consultant, and professional coach. He specializes in serving
small Latinx businesses in the Central Valley, Bay Area, and South Florida. Dr. Paredes
Romero is a professionally trained, ICF-certified, and experienced coach specializing in
partnering with entrepreneurs, small business owners, human resources professionals,
graduate students, and other high-achieving individuals and groups in high-profile
leadership positions. He currently serves on the board of directors at the Stanislaus
Latino Chamber of Commerce. In his over 25-year career, he has served organizations
practicing directorial level and strategic HR, on both the East and West Coasts, in
industries as diverse as Intermodal Transportation & Freight, Retail Distribution,
Recruitment & Staffing, Ornamental Horticulture, Supermarkets, and Direct Marketing.
He holds a BSc in Communications (Public Relations) from Florida International
University, an MSc in Human Resources Management from Nova Southeastern
University, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Education from Barry University.


Zoom Link and course orientation will be provided with registration confirmation.



Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Funded in part through a grant with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the SBA, California Office of the Small Business Advocate or San Jose State University Sponsored Programs.


Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if at least 73 hours in advance. Contact:

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) Update

MEHKO Update:

On March 14th, 2023, the MEHKO’s ordinance and fees were unanimously approved by the County’s Board of Supervisors. DEH is now accepting applications and issuing permits. Please see the final line for a 2024 update to fees.

Application and Documents:

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation Application

Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation FAQs

Completed application packets may be submitted by mail, in person at the DEH office, or emailed to Once received, an application fee of $435.00* must be paid prior to the start of the review process. The application review may take up to 20 business days. During the review period, you will be contacted by the Department via email or phone to discuss your application and seek any needed clarification and to also schedule an onsite kitchen evaluation.  The review process may be delayed if all required documents and information are not received.  A completed application packet consists of the four documents listed above.  1- The Checklist to Apply for a MEHKO; 2 – The MEHKO Operation Application; 3 – MEHKO SOP; 4 – MEHKO Self Certification Checklist.   Once the application is reviewed, an onsite evaluation will be conducted to ensure the proposed MEHKO complies with all requirements. Once approved, the MEHKO Annual Permit fee of $635.00* must be paid to receive your operating permit. A routine inspection will be scheduled at a later date.  

*Due to the recent fee relief, the application and permit fees will be waived through March 2024. No fees will be collected at this time.
Small Business Association (SBA) T.H.R.I.V.E. Program

The SBA T.H.R.I.V.E. program is designed to provide participants with the knowledge, support, and networking opportunities to propel their business forward.


Do I Qualify to Participate?

T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:
  • Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self
  • Can commit to completing the full program, including trainings, submitting assignments, participating during sessions, and reaching out for help
  • Are coachable, ready to be challenged and supported, and willing put in the necessary work to accelerate growth

A Transformative Experience for You and Your Business

SBA T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined is an enriching program featuring a structured curriculum, expert mentorship, and invaluable networking opportunities. Tailored sessions cover everything from strategic planning to financial management, allowing you to integrate newfound knowledge into your business in real-time. As you progress, anticipate a memorable graduation ceremony, marking the beginning of your continued growth within the program’s alumni network. Elevate your leadership and business acumen by applying now and redefine the future of your small business.
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