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People helping people: How a community is surviving COVID’s financial squeeze

File photo. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
File photo. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Across the country, small businesses are drastically being affected by the COVID-19 economic crisis, and add to that, natural disasters.

As many as 100,000 storefronts have been permanently shuttered. But one community has managed to rally through goodwill by investing in itself.

The legendary region of Napa Valley is starting to come back to life and it’s due in part to the ingenuity of this woman: Bonny Meyer.

“I naturally want to give back to my community,” said Meyer.

Meyer, best known as one of the former co-owners of the iconic winery, Silver Oak Cellars, is now making an impact with regenerative investing. Forbes called her a pioneer for her contributions in solar, a forest, and schools in Africa.

“It’s looking at investing in companies that actually are restoring something,” said Meyer.

Her small farm was a genesis for restoring local restaurants and a grocery store.

“All of their employees could come in and have free vegetables and we asked their staff if some of them would like to come in and work in the garden. Investing in my local businesses by helping them,” said Meyer.

“What I’ve come to realize about Bonny is she’s very generous, not only with her resources but her time and with her mind,” said Barry Dinsmore, Manager of Oakville Grocery.

Meyer says giving back to our community is something we can all do just by buying local.

“I want to see all these businesses survive,” said Meyer.

“Folks like Bonny, they’re leaders in the community on what is possible that we can do for each other,” said Dinsmore.

Meyer has also recently authored a book called “Perfectly Paired.” In it, she details how she and her husband transformed Silver Oak Cellars from a small start-up to a legendary wine label. Meyer is now a partner, alongside her son, in Meyer Family Cellars Wine.