After running his woodworking business on Washington Street in Calistoga for more than 40 years, Glenn Pope is moving his operation to Santa Rosa.
Pope is well-known for his woodworking throughout Napa Valley, and the length of time he’s been in business is testament to his skills. He’s done every kind of job from simple kitchen cabinets for a mobile home, to a $250,000 job for a house in St. Helena, and elaborate tasting room panels such as those at Charles Krug Winery. He’s even made gears for the historic Bale Grist Mill.
The motivation for moving his business after all these years was a “substantial” increase in rent last year, that Pope said “was bringing it up to normal for this area.”
So instead of continuing to pay rent, he bought property in an industrial/warehouse area on West Robles Avenue in Santa Rosa.
Pope himself is an amiable, very modest, and somewhat soft-spoken guy, and also quick to answer the phone, which rings often. He is optimistic about the move, saying he will have more space, and now instead of paying rent, and “not getting anything out of it,” he’ll be paying on a mortgage.
He and his wife, Cathy, will continue to live in Calistoga. People will still see him biking around town, but just not to work. If there is something about the move he doesn’t seem too thrilled about, it’s the commute over the hill.
Pope has four employees — one just retired — including his son, Nathanael, who joined the company in 2013. Pope also has a daughter who lives in Santa Rosa. He hopes his employees will follow him in the move.
Pope’s original location, back in 1975, was where the Calistoga police station is now, on Washington Street just off Lincoln Avenue. He then expanded to the hangar at the old Calistoga airport. At the current location, on south Washington Street, he built the building himself on property then owned by North Coast Walnut Association. He has fond memories of walnuts being brought in and dumped by the truckload.
Pope leased the shop from the walnut folks up until about 12 years ago when it was bought by the owners of Calistoga Self Storage, and the lease was transferred. Thollander Construction also sits on the property, on the other side of the self storage, and also put a bid in to buy it when it was put up for sale.
The new place should be ready to move into in a couple of months, Pope said. Dealing with the county permitting process in Sonoma County has been challenging, including allotting space on the property for environmental concerns, specifically, endangered salamanders.
But he’s just about ready to pour the cement slab for the 5,000-square-foot pre-fab building. He’ll be operating out of about 3,000 square feet of the building and renting out the rest. Not to a cannabis business, he was quick to add, even though that industry is legal and is growing now, as there are even more permit hoops to jump through for that type of business.
Operating from Santa Rosa, Pope will still be able to work on Napa projects just as easily as he could from Calistoga, he says. The only difference is some people won’t be able to come to the shop, and it’ll be a little harder to look at the plans for last-minute tweaks. But the new building will be laid out better and with more room. And, he said he has seen some beautiful sunsets from the new property.