This week’s Arcata Chamber leadership nominees are some real beautifiers

Joellen Clark-Peterson
Arcata Chamber of Commerce

ARCATA – Every year, the Arcata Chamber of Commerce offers its Business Leadership Awards in six categories: Business of the Year, as decided by the City of Arcata’s Economic Development Committee; Small Business of the Year; Nonprofit of the Year; New Chamber Member of the Year; Hospitality and Tourism of the Year; Green Business of the Year; Beautification of the Year. Voting by Chamber members will take place at the end of this month.

The 2019 awards will be presented at the Chamber’s Annual Business Leadership Awards dinner on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center. Get tickets at

Beautification nominees

BEAR Extraction House: Stacia Eliason, Casey Eliason, and Taylor Lefevre


BEAR Extraction House
Stacia Eliason, co-owner/founder

With experience in real estate and farming, we bought the business in 2015 from Wayne Bare Trucking. We had a vision to expand and transition our farming into legal extraction and meanwhile, the cannabis laws were getting ready to change.

As far as beautification goes, the property was one 16,000-square-foot warehouse dead center in the 4.5 acre lot that is completely flat. The property was used for logging trucks and had a lot of traffic in and out. We upgraded the current building from a warehouse into 12 different suites. We added a second building that is 2,400 square feet and the newest building is 23,000 square feet with 10 suites. The concept was to rent the space out to different companies who are not all the same so we can have a symbiotic campus. We care about our community and wanted to create a space that our families and coworkers could be proud of and want to come to work at – that’s why we put in the extra effort to make this property look good. It’s modern with natural accents, a Julian Berg architectural design; the most sought after and best designer in the county. 

Benbow Inn: Teresa and John Porter

Benbow Inn
John Porter, managing partner

The Benbow opened in 1926 to the public. I used to manage the Eureka Inn for the Barnum family for 18 years and our company, including our partner, Jack McDonald purchased the hotel in 1994. The Benbow is a historical country inn offering respite to the traveling public, internationally and nationally recognized by Historic Hotels of America. Last year we were given a national award as the best historic hotel in the United States. We offer fine accommodations along with food and beverage services, a golf course, and KOA campgrounds. We have something for everybody.

Our new expansion that we opened last year was to primarily make the hotel ADA compliant, but the beautification comes from not just the interior and exterior architecture that we get tremendous comments on, but our grounds include a south side rose garden that has over 100 different species of roses. On the north side, the lawn has a beautiful view of the stone bridge built in the 1930s. And one of the other areas is our herb and vegetable garden on the west side of the hotel that is somewhat of a new beautification. Our guests enjoy going through the garden and the bounty that comes out of it during the season. We run our entire pantry dimension out of the garden when it’s producing. 

Compass CCCU

Compass Credit Union
Shannon Maciel, VP of member experience; and Michele O’Brien, Arcata branch manager

Compass has been around since 1951. In 2018 our credit union got its community charter which allowed us to open up to everyone in the community and that’s when we rebranded to Compass. There are two locations, one in Henderson Center and one in Arcata and the corporate office is in Eureka as well.

The Arcata building used to be Renaissance Computers. We purchased it from them and gutted the entire inside. We re-did the entire parking lot, altered the entire layout, and created a new aesthetic. 

It has a modern feel, very bright, open, and welcoming. We have water, a coffee bar, a sit down area, and a wall dedicated to Humboldt State because we were started by teachers at Humboldt. There is an iPad available for online banking. Our ATM is in a protected area to keep you out of the elements and it doesn’t need envelopes. The ability to serve our members has increased, as has awareness, by adding the Arcata location.



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