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Butte EDC to Launch Website

New website to fit new function: On-the-ground economic development! 

Butte County Economic Development Corporation continues its facelift during its 30-year birthday celebration with a NEW website set to launch in July. 

"We're trying to connect the dots for folks," CEO Debra Lucero said. "If you want to live, work or visit Butte County, this site should do the trick."

BCEDC is busy working with local designer Erin Wade to complete the extensive project. "We're really combining the best of several ideas and concepts into one site," Lucero added.

She remembers when both the www.butte-edc.com and www.experiencebuttecounty.com were launched more than 10 years ago. "That's when websites cost $25,000 to develop," Lucero said. "There was a huge investment of time, money and new technology in both sites at that time."

Not only has Butte County changed, but so has the way America does business. "We're more global. We're more immediate. We're more closely connected ... and we want up-to-date information quickly," she added.

Butte County communities are highlighted on the site as are its industries. "This is a work in progress," Lucero said. "We are interviewing businesses each month, creating newsletters for blogs, audio for podcasts through our KZFR 90.1 FM Butte Views & Beyondradio program and producing other essential digital assets. We're building a local profile of who and what we are in Butte County. This takes time and resources."

The project was one aspect of an intensive three-month contract with Butte County, which will end June 30. Funding for Butte County EDC will be considered at the June 28 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Butte County Economic Development Corporation is asking for $30,000 in 2011-12 based on its current performance and $55,000 in 2012-13 - also tied to performance. County funds will be matched dollar per dollar with private, grant and other jurisdictional funding.

"Today, it takes public/private partnerships to be able to move quickly, nimbly and with effectiveness," Lucero said. "We need to literally be On-the-Ground and willing and able to help local businesses prosper."


Mary's Gone Crackers Employs 100 People in Gridley

Bad Economy has little effect on gluten-free business model

Mary's Gone Crackers
Seventeen years ago, Mary Waldner was hard-pressed to find anything gluten-free. It was her struggle with Celiac Disease - an inability to digest gluten--a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and most oats - that inspired her to develop Mary's Gone Crackers seven years ago along with her husband, Dale Rodrigues.  

"She would make the crackers and many of her friends and family would tell her 'These are really good. You should start a business'," Jacob Farris, Sales and Marketing Director, said. While the idea was conceived in the Bay Area, the company first started production in Chico and then moved to Gridley.

 Why Gridley?  

"We needed a factory space," Farris said. "This old canning facility that wasn't really being used was available. We just kind of moved in and filled it up and made it our's. That's really the reason why we're here. We've grown a lot in this same space and it's still working for us."

Mary's handcrafted recipe became a hit not only with fellow Celiac sufferers, but with consumers eager for delicious snacks they could feel good about eating. Mary's Gone Crackers Original was awarded the Sofi Gold for the most outstanding cracker at the New York Fancy Food Show in 2008. 

The signature product is a unique cracker made with organic brown rice, organic quinoa, organic flax seeds and organic sesame seeds. Today, there is much more awareness of gluten-free products and many more items available commercially.  

According to Farris, this widespread availability helps more than it hurts. "There is much more awareness - what gluten-free is and why it's necessary. More people are excited about it.  

On the other hand, Farris added, "There is also lot of stuff out there that gives gluten-free a bad name. Mary's Gone Crackers is great tasting, healthy, and delicious."

Currently, the company produces five crackers, four cookies and three pretzels. Find Mary's Gone Crackers at the following stores.  


CHICO, 95926 CA 

1726 SKYWAY #F


CHICO, 95926 CA 

530 343 4185 FAX
CHICO, 95926 CA 

Maisie Jane's 
1324 Dayton Road
Chico, 95928 Ca
Phone: (530) 899-7909

1366 East Avenue
Chico, 95973 CA
Phone: 530-899-2320


Blowing Glass in Gridley

Bryon Sutherland Works Hard to Create National Marketplace 

Gridley resident Byron Sutherland has been on a dead run since 2006. That's when he evaluated his situation as a freelance artist who was renting studio space to blow glass.

"I did some wholesale shows and started to get some big orders," said Sutherland, who earlier had worked and developed his skills at Chico's famous Orient and Flume - a glassblowing studio pioneer of the 70s.   

"I couldn't keep up with the orders ... It was in the back of my mind ... having my own studio ... it just seemed to be too expensive and out of reach."  

Charla (his then girlfriend and now his wife of five years) worked to support the young couple at the Starbucks on Highway 99 in Gridley. 

"I needed studio space and I needed equipment," Sutherland said, a graduate of California State University, Chico, with a bachelor's degree in fine arts and an emphasis in glass sculpture.

According to Sutherland, Audrey Taylor of Chabin Concepts had the answer. She was assisting the City of Gridley with economic development at that time. Taylor helped him find studio space and connected him with 3CORE - a private, non-profit corporation that works as an economic development planning and coordinating agency that specializes in small business loans for Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties.

 Bryon Sutherland Blowing Glass in Gridley

"I needed a furnace - the heart of any studio - and those run $15,000-$30,000. I also needed cushion money to pay bills and get everything rolling."

Sutherland's Gridley location is part of a 35-acre abandoned fruit cannery that was once one of the largest peach and pumpkin canning operations in the world. Today, ironically and perhaps poetically, Sutherland blows "Fizzlefruit" peaches and pumpkins there. This 900-years-old Venetian technique carbonates glass with baking soda, creating the effervescent effect.

Fizzle Apples Fizzle Citrus

Sutherland studied in New York at the renowned Corning Museum of Glass with Bill Gudenrath, master Venetian glass artist, for whom he later worked, by invitation, as his teaching assistant. 

Fizzle Pears 

Sutherland admits that his bread and butter are the gorgeous Fizzelfruit where the skin of the sculpture has a transparent appearance and the core of the paperweight explodes with bubbles. "It makes them look wet," he said.

Currently, Sutherland features Fizzlefruit varieties in three apples, three pears, three citrus, three plums, a peach and a strawberry and three colored grapes - a glass cornucopia of beauty. There are 17 different fruit items designed for collectors and he has plenty of admirers at $40 a piece or three items for $100. Pumpkin and peppers are blown, not sculpted, and feature no carbonation. You can find them at Sutherland Glass Art

Fifflefruit isn't his only specialty. Sutherland said he recently installed his first chandelier in Redwood City. He also makes beautiful vases and sculptures inspired by the sea. 

Remember the dead run?

Sutherland did 63 shows last year all over the country - 30 by himself. He does have an assistant, Josh Freidas. Word is that he's been invited by Costco to a wholesale show in Nevada. His work is also in major galleries throughout the United States and Canada. It takes more than hard work to make it, though - especially in a challenging economic environment.   

To purchase or learn more about Sutherland Glass Art, please visit  Sutherland Glass Art. The best way to keep Bryon and his family in Butte County is to help spread the word. Become a fan.  

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