Jake Hinton: All right, I’m Jake and I’m here with Todd Jones with the EDC. And Todd, you’ve got some big news here recently, and we just wanna go over that with you. So let us know.
Todd Jones: Alright, so as of Saturday, flights went live for Redding to LAX direct starting March 9th of 2019, so just about six months away or so. And it’s pretty exciting. United’s been in Redding for several years flying to SFO, four times a day. But our business community, and our tourism – really everybody – has wanted this direct flight back to LA that we lost in 2011, because we think it’s going to be a big economic driver, and we’re really excited to have it back.
Jake Hinton: Awesome, and you said that’s gonna happen- what was the date next year?
Todd Jones: March 9th of 2019 is when the first flight out of Redding will be here. Actually the first flight into Redding from LAX is gonna be on that March 8th, because the flight comes in in the evening. It lands at about 9: 25 PM and then the next morning it will leave at 6: 45 AM. It’s an hour and 45 minute flight direct to LA, and you can either work through the LA basin, or connect to pretty much anywhere in the world from LAX.
Jake Hinton: So really LAX is a big hub on the west coast; you can pretty much go anywhere from there?
Todd Jones: One of the biggest problems we’ve had in the past four years – really, since we’ve had the SFO flight – is flying back into Redding from SFO has been a major challenge, mostly because of the weather in San Francisco. When visibility drops they close all the runways and the smaller flights are the first ones to go. So this LA flight is a lot more reliable.
Todd Jones: So if you’re connecting anywhere, LA is probably going to be your first choice to go to LA and then direct to Redding. We got really good flight times, which I think is going to make a big impact on how successful this flight is, because you can leave in the morning, you can go to LA, have a day full of meetings and return the same night. Yeah, you pretty much have a full work day in LA.
Jake Hinton: That’s great.
Todd Jones: We have a shorter- to San Francisco
Jake Hinton: How long is that flight?
Todd Jones: It’s one hour and 45 minutes. The LAX flight is going to be good. So, now the LAX flight is not guaranteed to stay forever. There are two factors that we’re working with. The first one is we want to make sure this flight is booked. It’s 50-seater airplane, and we want to have that thing full every time it’s going to LA and every time it’s coming back to Redding. That’s gonna be the biggest thing for the success of this flight.
Todd Jones: The second thing that we’re working with is we have to have a revenue guarantee with United Airlines to show that if United Airlines has a problem with this flight, they will be able to dip into this revenue guarantee to shore up that difference. And that revenue guarantee is about $1 million, and we have a large portion of that already committed to us, but we are still looking for more money.
Todd Jones: So, a lot of the businesses and organizations in the community have committed to that, Bethel Church being the largest one. They’ve put up about five and a half million flight miles with United yearly, so they’ve put a lot into this and we could not have done it without them. But we are going to need more people to come onboard to shore up that revenue guarantees, so that United feels comfortable because they are taking somewhat of a risk coming into a market like ours. But we’re confident that we’re gonna fill that flight and they’re not going to have use set-up revenue guarantee and we can spend that to secure more flights in and out of Redding in the future.
Jake Hinton: Okay, Great, so we can all help keep this flight around by utilizing it.
Todd Jones: So go to United.com right now, book the flight. It’s about $250 roundtrip right now, so you can go down, go to Disneyland, spend the day and then come back to Redding. That’s not a bad deal.
Jake Hinton: You said $250 for a roundtrip?
Todd Jones: It’s around $250 round trip to LA.
Jake Hinton: Awesome.
Todd Jones: It’s a long drive, as many of us in the north of the state know that have done it. And I think almost everybody I know arrives through LA several times, so $250- it’ll probably go up a little bit from there. Those are introductory fares, but I think they’re going to stay probably within the $300 range.
Jake Hinton: Good.
Todd Jones: Yes, if you connect, it really brings that cost down. So if you’re going LAX to Miami, your total flight is going to be really very competitive to what Sacramento or SFO are gonna be. Direct flights are a little bit more expensive from the smaller markets, but connecting flights, the price difference is going to be pretty marginal.
Jake Hinton: Awesome. And you’re saving on fuel, you’re saving on where you’re gonna park your car.
Todd Jones: Yeah. All those things. Your time, time is a valuable thing for all of us. Even driving 2, 2 1/2 hours to Sacramento one way and then- especially, coming back after a long business trip or a vacation. I’ve flown into Redding dozens of times and it is one of the best. When you can fly into Redding, and not have to worry about that drive back from SFO or from Oakland or from Sacramento. So big news. So get your flight booked today and let’s fill up those planes for forever, but especially for those first few months.
Jake Hinton: Yeah, absolutely. Is it too soon to ask what’s next?
Todd Jones: Where are we gonna go next?
Jake Hinton: Yes, correct.
Todd Jones: Well, you know, LA was the big target. We’ve been working on that for about, really, 7 years, since 2011. In the last 4 years we’ve had this revenue guarantee progress going. We’ve been meeting with all the airlines. United has been the most receptive because they know our market and they’re already here. We are looking at some east destinations now, Portland and Seattle. We’ve done Portland recently with PenAir until they unfortunately went out of business. But we are looking east. Some of the places we’re playing around with are Denver is a big one. Especially if you’re going east, that would be a great flight to kind of break it up, fly around to Denver, that’s another international hub and you can go anywhere in the world from Denver.
Jake Hinton: Great.
Todd Jones: So, we’ll see what happens, but if we get this one good, really, anywhere’s possible.
Jake Hinton: One more question. If someone wants to get involved in either helping fund or just getting a little more information on this, what do they do?
Todd Jones: Call us, the Shasta EDC. We are the ones that are responsible for that revenue guarantee and partnership with the city of Redding. So you can call us – and I have to look because I don’t call myself very often – at 224-4920. So give us a call and talk to Tony Giovaniello. He’s kind of the main man for the revenue guarantee. And we still need some money to go to that to make sure that this flight is going to stay, and is going to happen.
Jake Hinton: Alright, sounds good. So…you want to go on to our next topic?
Todd Jones: Yeah.
Jake Hinton: Okay, so as some people might see here, this is a brand new office. So tell us a little about the Shasta EDC’s move.
Todd Jones: Yeah, so we’re here. In the last interview we mentioned the coming move, and now we’re here, as you can see with this great room that Jake has for Cloud Wise. Cloud Wise has moved with us, which we’re grateful for coz they’re an invaluable partner for the Shasta EDC and we’re down here at 777 Auditorium Drive, right across from the Civic Auditorium in the old Visit Redding office.
Todd Jones: So if you’re familiar with Redding, if you’ve been here a long time, this building was built for the Redding Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1985. There’s a plaque outside the front door. So it’s easy to remember. But it’s a beautiful building. Most recently there was a company called Metro Properties here. They did a great job doing the improvements, so we literally didn’t have to do much. We’re not totally moved in yet, but we’re getting there.
Todd Jones: So I think the big thing is we still have coworking here. And we still have to get our keycard access built out, but once we finish that – hopefully by the end of next week – we’re going to be really back up to full steam for coworking. It’s a much smaller location, but I think it’s still going to work well. We’re close to downtown. We’re relatively central in Redding. You can walk to the Sundial Bridge from our office. Jake and I will probably do that when it’s not as smokey outside as it is today, but it’s a great location. It’s a great building.
Todd Jones: And really the EDC’s core mission is business recruitments first. Retention and expansion, the startup component, is a very important one, and the Venture Hub was a great success and the startup community is a lot better and it’s come a lot farther than it was 4 years ago because of the Venture Hub and so we are sad to leave that amazing space that we were in, but we really feel like this next chapter in this location and everything happening in downtown Redding, I think that we’re in the right place.
Jake Hinton: Awesome. And you guys are still doing- just so I’m clear, the kickstart program is still happening?
Todd Jones: Yes.
Jake Hinton: So, if someone does have a startup and they’re looking for an office space, they can still get help there?
Todd Jones: We can’t help you with office space, but we can help you a coworking membership. So we’re going to have a conference room available. We will finish that by the end of this month, so we’ll still have a rentable conference room. We still have about a 700 square foot coworking space with high-speed internet now. We’re working on getting fiber, but we do have 400 mb down service from Charter and we are working on fiber like I mentioned before.
Todd Jones: So if you’re an eligible individual, if you’re a freelancer or you’re starting a business, you can apply for the kickstart program by going to shastaedc.org or typing in “the Kickstarter program Shasta EDC” and it’ll pop right up first in the search for Google, I’m sure, and you can join the Venture Hb for free. If you’re not eligible and you want to become a co-working member, the membership is still $100 a month.
Todd Jones: We’re planning to be open 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, although we are looking at going back to 24/7 if there is a need and I’ve already talked to several people this week that have clients in Asia that are looking for a place where they can have a conference call at 2 in the morning. So that is something that we are looking at.
Todd Jones: So we will have a grand opening, hopefully in October. We have a lot of big events coming up in the startup community in the next two months that I’m heavily involved with, but hopefully we’ll have a grand opening here in October to show everybody the new space and, like I said, it’s a central location very close to downtown Redding, so stop by and see us, even if you don’t want to become a member right now. You can definitely come by and check it out.
Jake Hinton: Great Todd, we always appreciate having you tell us what’s going on in Shasta County and what you guys are working in here at the EDC.