Davis was ranked as one of America’s “Top 25 towns to live well,” according to Forbes Magazine.
Davis was ranked 19 out of 25 towns. Forbes defines a town as any area with a population less than 100,000.
Towns considered for ranking had to have the power to attract business through their environments and resources. Characteristics such as the number of museums, parks, bars, restaurants and cultural institutions per capita were considered. Forbes states that these factors indicate a favorable business environment.
California towns dominated the list, receiving eight of the 25 spots. Boulder, Colo. received the top ranking.
Davis met all of Forbes’ standards.
“Davis attracts a high share of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher (70 percent) and international workers with education (who represent 6 percent of the adult labor force),” the Forbes article said. “A college town, it’s stocked with plenty of restaurants and bars.”
Davis’ town environment is an excellent condition for starting a business, but the location was a drawback.
“It’s a decent hike to Northern California business capitals San Francisco and San Jose,” the Forbes article said. “It lacks the world-class entertainment those cities regularly attract.”
Local business owners – such as Manoi Richard Baciarini, executive chief instructor of Barciarini’s Martial Arts studio in Downtown Davis – agree with the city’s ranking in Forbes.
The martial arts studio has been open since 1993. Baciarini, who is a black belt in Hawaiian Kempo and Philippine Martial Arts, began working as an instructor before he took the role of owner in 2001.
“Davis is the most ideal spot I would want to be in for business,” said Baciarini, who has networked with business owners in many other towns.
Due to the diversity of cultures and people in Davis, Baciarini has a lot of competition with numerous other martial arts studios. However, each business offers a unique style of the art to meet people’s needs.
Baciarini said that his business has been very successful because of his excellent customer service.
“It all comes down to blue ribbon customer service,” Baciarini said. “If you provide the best atmosphere and make your customers feel special, noticed, and build a relationship with them, you will have a successful business.”
The recession has not hit Baciarini’s Martial Arts. In fact, the gross has grown 40 percent in the last six months to create the biggest membership in company history and the highest membership in Yolo County.
Andy Rathbone also owns a successful and longtime local business, Davis Awards and Watchworks.
Rathbone began his career working as a jeweler downtown for nine years. After the owner retired, Rathbone decided to open his own business.
The business sells awards, trophies and watches and provides watch and gift repairs.
“This business is a happy type of business,” Rathbone said. “I get to know and understand the best of the people in Davis and not their shortcomings. I get a first hand understanding of the city’s best and what makes them that way.”
Rathbone’s only competitor closed two years ago. Even though the store is the only one of its kind in Davis, Rathbone competes with stores in Woodland and Sacramento.
The Davis Sports Shop has been open since the early 1960s and has thrived off of Davis’ business friendly atmosphere.
The current owner, Aaron Patella, took over from his father after graduating from UC Davis six years ago. His family has owned the business for 31 years.
“I am glad I took up the business because it is fun,” Patella said. “I deal with different kinds of people and develop long lasting relationships. My job also keeps me involved with high school and university sports programs in addition to little leagues.”
Patella also develops enduring relationships with his employees. He still keeps in touch with many past employees, Patella said.
Davis deserves to be on Forbes’ List because it tries to keep everything locally run, keeps out the big chain stores and malls and has very supportive citizens, Patella said.
ERIC SCHMIDT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.