Officials: Promoting Solano as a whole could lure more businesses to the region

February 21 2020

By Kimberly K. Fu | | Vacaville Reporter

PUBLISHED: February 20, 2020 at 7:08 p.m. | UPDATED: February 20, 2020 at 7:09 p.m.

Solano continues to be a place where businesses can flourish and communities can thrive.

So said Bob Burris, president and chief executive officer of Solano Economic Development Corporation, at the EDC’s annual meeting luncheon Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield.

He spoke about how the organization has grown, strengthened its resources and outreach and succeeded in creating the county’s regional narrative. Prospective businesses don’t see borders, he said, or lines where one city ends and another begins. Thus, he emphasized the importance of working together, promoting each other and talking up the region as a whole.

“The end goal is to get them here, get people here,” Burris said.

He pointed out three “rings of opportunity”: the waterfront locales of Vallejo and Benicia, the bioscience possibilities of Fairfield and Vacaville and food innovation and agricultural lures of Dixon, Winters and rural Solano areas near Davis.

San Francisco-based Thistle saw the attraction.

A family-owned “modern, tech-enabled, organic food and nutrition company,” Thistle creators and husband and wife team Ashwin Cheriyan and Shiri Avnery saw an opportunity to expand operations while remaining close to their headquarters, being near major markets and locating to a place that’s affordable to employees.

So last May. the couple made the decision to locate their primary ready-to-eat meal production and packaging facility on Eubanks Drive and have since broken ground.

Cheriyan said the company, launched in 2013, is all about providing healthy, tasty, prepared plant-based meals to consumers. The aim is overall health and food sustainability.

It’s been a dream for the couple, who pursued other pursuits before going all in on their own business.

He was a lawyer and comes from a family of doctors.

She conducted PhD-level research on “how we can make better choices to do better for our environment.”

Together, they built Thistle and slowly but surely found a following.

Since its inception, the company has made about 2 million meals and 500,000 deliveries, Cheriyan said.

In Vacaville, the company plans to offer several hundred jobs.

The work continues to bring more business to Solano, Burris said, and attract more companies like Thistle. Solano has much to offer, he added, and Solano EDC will continue to be a major source of support.

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