Economic Development News
From Ross Welch, Executive Director

What's in a name?

As you can imagine, we have that conversation a lot at AEDC. When AEDC started in 1978, we helped service Community Development Block Grant loans for the City of Arcata, so "Arcata" Economic Development Corporation was an apt name. Decades later, we serve six counties, so we try to say AEDC, and de-emphasize the city where we started as a way to avoid confusion. Imagine the "A" stands for "Awesome" or "All-Over" -- or even just "An."

It's always interesting when a business or organization changes their name. Often, it's a difficult transition, and a clunky roll-out. It was no small success for Hole in the Wall to become Pile High Deli so seamlessly. I guess people can adapt quickly when there are delicious sandwiches involved.

Ultimately, that's what matters and keeps customers -- a quality service or product. That's where AEDC focuses our attention. But, we are planning to update our marketing plan. I'm fairly confident the name conversation will come up again.

Happy holidays to you all!

-- Ross

Customer Highlight: Pile High Deli


Business success isn’t in a name. It's in the heart of the people who run it and their ability to adapt, like our clients at the Pile High Deli.

The name “hole in the wall” implies a well-kept secret, an inconspicuous but loved by the locals establishment. Nestled in the hustle and bustle of Broadway in Eureka, the Hole in the Wall Great Sandwiches certainly fit that description. For over 30 years, John Forest worked to create a great lunch spot as a “fun family place where everyone knows your name.”

This well-known deli shop, with a new name -- Pile High Deli -- offers sandwiches, chips, and drinks, grew to have quite a loyal client base. In 2019, Forest was considering his succession plan. He had recently hired Jesse Galloway and immediately saw potential.

Almost as soon as the conversations of how to transition the business to Galloway, COVID happened. After shutting down for five weeks, the store re-opened with new pandemic protocols in place and received so much business they could hardly handle the volume. While many business owners understandably took the opportunity to retire amidst the chaos around COVID, Forrest and Galloway adapted to the changing business landscape. They began working together to ensure a successful ownership transition in March 2022.

While selling a business to an employee is not an atypical succession plan, this one had a hitch. When he began three decades ago, the Arcata-owned Hole in the Wall owners allowed Forrest to use their name, as long as he owned the business. So, while Forest was ready to sell the business, the recipes, the relationships with vendors, and the well-curated culture of the shop–he couldn’t sell the ”Hole in the Wall” name. For a new business owner, having to change the name of an established business would usually create a certain risk. Yet, they decided to take that challenge head-on.

Before the change in name, Forrest shared his enthusiasm on social media, and to friends and colleagues, about leaving the business to somebody who intended to keep operating the business in a way the loyal customers would appreciate—especially the same beloved sandwich recipes. Because he took those steps early and was transparent about the shop’s future, their customers felt prepared and ready for the start of a new chapter.

AEDC was able to offer Jesse a bridge loan to help with the purchase of the business and to help cover the costs of the name change, along with operations during the transition. Jesse will continue to operate Pile High Deli as a sole proprietorship and will keep operations as close to the same as possible.

Jesse Galloway has been in management for over 8 years, first at Ray's Food Place, then at Ace Hardware, and now at Pile High Deli. In each position he managed multiple employees and sometimes multiple locations as well, focusing on sales, pricing, and customer service. These days, he can be found working alongside his employees at Pile High Deli, maintaining the family-like atmosphere that it’s always been known for.

Next time you’re on Broadway, stop in for a sandwich, and be sure to check out their Facebook Page for a look at their menu and delicious sandwiches and wraps!

***Please Note: Parts of this excerpt were written by Susan Seaman for the Times-Standard after honoring Hole in the Wall with a Business of the Year award on March 20, 2022.

New Changes For Lemonade Day

After over a decade of presenting Lemonade Day to Humboldt County, AEDC will be handing the project to the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce.

CEO and President of the Fortuna Chamber, Renee Lindsay announced, "We are very excited to be working with the national Lemonade Day organization and with Susan Seaman from AEDC. Susan has been an incredible steward of this program in Humboldt County for many years. We feel honored to have her faith in our ability to continue this program for many years to come."

Lemonade Day is a nationally recognized program founded on an important American principle that entrepreneurs take risks, believing they can realize their dream if they work hard, take responsibility, and act as good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth – at the national and international level – share that optimism but lack the life skills, mentorship, and real-world experience necessary to be successful. (  

In 2011, Lemonade Day was launched in Humboldt County, and since then, hundreds of local youth have participated in this highly anticipated annual community event. Before the start of the pandemic, AEDC helped put on Lemonade Day for 9 years! However, with all of the new and exciting projects AEDC has recently taken on, they are unable to give this event the attention it needs. AEDC will remain as a Sponsor and provide technical support as needed. 

Children and young adults who participate in Lemonade Day get to learn the steps and planning necessary to start a business. They learn what it means to set a goal, make a plan, and take the necessary steps to work towards achieving their dreams. Just as importantly, they’ll learn valuable life skills such as leadership, collaboration, responsibility, and teamwork. 

While it will now be run by the Fortuna Chamber, Lemonade Day will continue to operate as a Humboldt-wide event in 2023. We are excited to be passing on the torch to the Fortuna Chamber in order to keep this beloved tradition alive!

"The Fortuna Chamber is focusing a lot of energy on young entrepreneurship right now and Lemonade Day will be a perfect compliment to their efforts," said Seaman. "Their willingness to engage partners to keep this a county-wide event really solidified that this was the right move."

Lemonade Day will be taking place on June 3rd, 2023, and the registration date will soon be announced.

Grant Funds Still Available: Bonus Retention Program

Grant funds are still available to child care providers in Humboldt County! If you are a caregiver in a child care setting in Humboldt County who has worked since July 2021, you may be eligible for a grant designed to stabilize and retain the child care workforce. Since September, AEDC has provided grants to nearly 300 providers for over $450,000. There are still funds available and providers and caregivers are still encouraged to apply! Applications can be found at


“Child care providers who worked through the pandemic did so in a time that was particularly difficult for them. Besides the developmental challenges of social distancing and masking with toddlers and preschoolers, most centers had to significantly cut the number of children they could serve, impacting their already small income,” said Susan Seaman, program director for AEDC. “During the pandemic, we saw a 30% closure rate of available child care, with at least 6% closing permanently. This grant is to try to support those who held on and are going to continue to serve our workforce.”

Each licensed child care center or family facility that can show that they were open between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2023, will be eligible for the retention bonus. Bonus amounts are based on the size and type of facility and are as follows:

  • Child Care Centers - $6,000
  • Large Family Facility (up to 14 children) - $5,000
  • Small Family Facility (up to 8 children) - $4,000

The next program to roll out will be a $10,000 forgivable loan program to allow providers to upgrade child care facilities. This program will open in January 2023. Interested participants can learn more at

AEDC has an RFP out for Marketing! 

AEDC is seeking an individual or a team of individuals to audit AEDC’s marketing assets and develop a marketing strategy for a dynamic, regional organization. This will include creating key messaging, updated marketing materials, a media/outreach strategy, and a library of photos, stories, and videos.

Deliverables Include: 

  • Audit of Current Marketing and Communications (website, brochure, newsletter, social media pages, AEDC recognition by partners)
  • Brand Messaging and Communication Guide
  • Marketing Strategy and Road Map (Given a $30,000/$60,000/$90,000 budget)
  • Media Library with photos, stories, videos
  • Updated brochures or materials to share with partners
  • A mechanism for tracking and measuring success

Please keep in mind RFP Submissions are due Dec. 15, 2022! To learn more visit

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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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