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Sharona's Chocolates, local San Mateo business that will incorporate the minimum wage in 2017
Local Business

Minimum Wage Increase Effects Local Businesses

Support San Mateo businesses during this transition.

San Mateo's Minimum Wage goes into effect January 2017Throughout 2016, the San Mateo City Council prioritized social equity and established an initiative to increase the city’s local minimum wage. Earlier this year city staff began researching the possibility of increasing the local wage to $15.00 per hour.

On August 15th, the City Council adopted an ordinance which will incrementally increase the minimum wage within San Mateo to $15 per hour by 2019. With the adoption of the ordinance, San Mateo will maintain a minimum wage that is higher than the State’s and the highest in San Mateo County.

When does the new minimum wage go into effect?

On January 1, 2017, employees working within San Mateo boundaries will receive the first increase. The current minimum wage is $10.00 per hour. In January employers are required to pay employees (any employee in San Mateo working at least two hours per calendar year) a rate of $12.00 per hour. In January 2018 the minimum hourly wage will increase to $13.50, and in January 2019 it will reach $15.00 per hour. Each following year, the rate increases by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The city recently sent notices outlining the requirements of the minimum wage ordinance to employers within San Mateo. Employers are required to pay employees the minimum wage and post the official notice in the workplace where employees will see it. The city is partnering with the San Jose Office of Equality Assurance to enforce the wage requirements, and will also supply outreach materials, translated into multiple languages to non-profits that serve low-wage workers and their families.

Which employers pay the new minimum wage?

Starting January 1, 2017 employers in San Mateo are required to pay employees the first step of minimum wage increase.

Starting January 1, 2017 employers in San Mateo are required to pay employees the first step of minimum wage increase.

All companies regardless of size with employees that work within the geographic boundaries of the city are required to pay employees the higher minimum wage as established in San Mateo’s ordinance. 501(c)(3) non-profits must also meet this requirement but at a slower rate. The table below outlines the wage requirements for both for-profit and non-profits with a 501(c)(3) status.

Year Citywide 501(c)(3) Non-profit
Current $10.00 $10.00
January 2017 $12.00 $10.50
January 2018 $13.50 $12.00
January 2019 $15.00 $13.50
January 2020 $15.00+CPI $15.00+CPI
January 2021 CPI CPI

The city of San Mateo like all employers within the community is required to pay any employee, part-time or full-time, an adult or a minor, the increased hourly rate.

 Support Local Businesses

Restaurants employees in San Mateo will earn increased minimum wage beginning January 2017.

Employees living and working in San Mateo will benefit from the minimum wage increase, but it’s an additional expense that business owners must incorporate into daily operations.

San Mateo is a community where many small independent businesses establish and grow successful companies. Restaurants, auto repair shops, hobby stores, groceries, florists, bakeries, and chocolatiers are examples of the local independent businesses that make up the vast majority of our business community. The increase in the minimum wage will benefit those living and working in San Mateo, but it is an additional expense to many local businesses. Continue to support, shop, and dine at your favorite local stores and restaurants as they transition to the new wage. For more information about San Mateo’s minimum wage, please visit

3 Bees Cafe
Community, Local Business, San Mateo Public Library

3 Bees Café to Open in Library This Week

Exciting news! This week the San Mateo Main Library is welcoming a new café proprietor: 3 Bees Café. This will be the second location for the popular downtown coffee shop 3 Bees Coffee House. The grand opening of the new library café will be this Thursday, June 16 at 10:30 AM.

3 Bees CafeLoved deeply by San Mateo locals, the opening of a second location of the coffee shop has their loyal clientele excited. The original shop, located at 224 East 3rd Avenue, has been locally owned and operated since 2002 and sells coffee, espresso, tea, and other various treats to perk up your day. The name for the shop was inspired by their location on the cross-streets of 3rd Avenue and B Street.

Located on the third floor of the Main Library, the 3 Bees Café will fulfill the strong desire of library patrons for a café presence in the library, an important feature that was envisioned by the community when the new Main Library was planned. After the previous vendor left the library, the strong desire for maintaining a café presence among both visitors and library staff led to the Request for Proposal (RFP) process launched in February.

A five-member Selection Committee made up of library and City of San Mateo employees, and representatives from the Library Board of Trustees and the San Mateo Public Library Foundation, then 3 Bees Cafereviewed proposals and considered qualifications to choose a new vendor. There were five submitted proposals and the Selection Committee chose Rafat Hadad’s 3 Bees Coffee House to be the new proprietor.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our new café services provider who has deep San Mateo roots and is so well regarded by the community.  3 Bees Café will really enhance the library visitor experience,” said City Librarian Ben Ocón.

3 Bees Café will offer hot and iced drinks, fresh baked goods, a variety of sandwiches and wraps, and other treats to library visitors. For groups meeting in the library’s meeting rooms, there are catering services available.

So head down to the library this Thursday for the grand opening, and get ready to enjoy some delicious food and drink while you browse the books!

San Mateo Best Places Work
Local Business

San Mateo Companies: Best Places to Work

The Bay Area is teeming with innovation housed in futuristic office spaces, all curated to best fit employees. Not only are the aesthetics of a company’s office space evolving, but there is also a shift in focus. Companies are doing as much as they can to keep their employees happy with their job and where they work.

Many people only recognize Palo Alto and Silicon Valley as being inventive hubs in the Bay Area, but San Mateo is gaining ground. In a joint project between the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal, researchers asked employees to rate their companies. Researchers came up with a list of the 125 “Best Places to Work” in the Bay Area and five San Mateo-based companies made the list. What do all of these companies have in common? “Happy, engaged employees with great food options and benefits.” Pg. 4

Companies had to apply to be on the list. This year, 400 companies applied.  To gather data from all that applied, researchers sent out an online survey to the companies’ employees. These surveys asked a variety of questions about their workplace and “…such values as a collaborative culture, solid compensation and benefits and good management practices.” Pg. 3. Working with Quantum Workplace to evaluate and administer the surveys, researchers developed a scoring process to give each company a numeric ranking.

To keep rankings fair, researchers broke the list up into five areas:

  • largest (more than 1,000 employees),
  • large (from 250-299 employees),
  • midsize (from 100-249 employees),
  • small (from 50-99 employees),
  • and smallest (from 25-49 employees).

This ensured that each company was competing against others who were logically comparable and made rankings fair.

San Mateo, as a whole, was ranked in the top 5 towns for the most companies on the list. The city followed San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, and Mountain View. There were five companies ranked overall.

Prometheus Real Estate Group

Prometheus ranked 7th out of 39 large companies. With 404 employees, they scored a 90.72 from

San Mateo Best Places Work

Quantum Workplace’s scoring process. They are a real estate group that specializes in acquisition, development and management of residential and commercial properties.

  • President: Jackie Safier
  • Director of HR: Dominic Dimengo
  • Location: 1900 S. Norfolk Street, #150

Sequoia Consulting Group

San Mateo Best Places Work

This consulting group ranked 11th out of 25 midsize companies. Their score of 92.36 comes from surveys from 130 employees. Employees use their knowledge of skills from life sciences to help put the “best practices for biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies” in to place.

  • CEO: Greg Golub
  • Director of Talent Development: Melissa Ellsworth
  • Location: 1850 Gateway Dr. #600

Snowflake Computing

A company of 84 employees, Snowflake ranked 21st out of 25 small companies. Their aim is to “safely store, transform and analyze business data.”

  • CEO: Bob Muglia
  • Office Administrator: Nancy Venezia
  • Location: 101 S. Ellsworth Ave. #350

Kinetix Technology Services

San Mateo Best Places Work

Ranked number one out of 25 of the smallest companies, Kinetix scored a 97.64 based on data gathered from 38 employees. This small company does IT consulting, outsourcing, and support.

  • CEO: Pratap Mukherjee
  • COO: Don Darby
  • Location: 1825 S. Grant St. #850

Kulesa Faul

San Mateo Best Places Work

Made up of 25 employees, Kulesa Faul ranked 8th out of 25 of the smallest companies. This is a company focused on public relations, social media, and content marketing.

  • Principal: Joanna Kulesa
  • VP/GM: Julie Tangen
  • Location: 107 B. St. #330
25th Avenue, Local Business

Create a More Vibrant 25th Avenue

Share your ideas! Participate in 25th Avenue’s Pop-up Forum and Open House.

Stop by 25th Avenue throughout the day on Tuesday, March 1st to share your ideas for creating a more vibrant commercial area. The San Mateo community is invited to participate in two events that will generate ideas about ways to enhance this neighborhood commercial area.

The first is a pop-up activity taking place in front of Reach and Teach from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. An Open House will follow that evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lighthouse Room located in the administrative offices of the First Presbyterian Church. Those participating will have the opportunity to learn more about the 25th Avenue Improvement Initiative, provide their ideas to improve the aesthetic and economic vibrancy of the area, and gain a better understanding of the PG&E Undergrounding Project as well as a potential streetscape improvement project.

“These two events are a way for the community to connect in a casual, low-key environment. It’s an opportunity where neighbors and businesses can easily interact with one another while sharing ideas about ways to improve and bring more activity to the commercial area,” says Matt Bronson, San Mateo Assistant City Manager. “We are looking forward to hearing from the broader 25th Avenue community.”

The 25th Avenue Improvement Initiative formed last August in response to the PG&E utility undergrounding project and interest from local business groups as well as 25th Avenue businesses and residents to identify a process for improving the commercial neighborhood, engaging the broader 25th Avenue community, and creating consistent communication channels during construction. For more information, please visit

Three Friends at Wine Walk
Community, Community Events, Downtown, Local Business

San Mateo Wine Walk: A Great Way to Experience Downtown San Mateo

This past weekend was the 19th annual San Mateo Wine Walk sponsored by the Downtown San Mateo Association (DSMA).

This exciting event was a hit! Over 500 people from San Mateo and other Bay Area cities came to experience Downtown San Mateo and its local businesses in a fun and engaging way.

San Mateo Wine Walk tasting room“Every year has been very exciting.” said Rafat Haddad, owner of 3 Bees Coffee and DSMA board member. “In the past three years there have been some changes but it is a signature event. Personally, I love the event and we have good memories of it. It’s a good event to have; it encourages people to walk into businesses and this year there was a good number of people and they were having fun. We love participating.”

3 Bees Coffee participated with the restaurant Roti to serve wine pairings in the coffee shop.

“We had a lot of people who haven’t come into the store before and they tired a lot of the products we offer. It was a great marketing event for Baking Arts and all merchants.” said Richard Festen, owner of Baking Arts. “It brought a lot of people into Downtown, it was lively, and people were having a great time. It’s a great event for the community.

Executive Director, Ann Fienman, of the DSMA said, “There was great participation by merchants and visitors which made it a success. Visitors commented that they went into places that they weren’t aware of – that’s kind of the point of the Wine Walk. It was successful in drawing people to different parts of the downtown. This was the 19th year for the event and we are glad to carry on the tradition.”San Mateo Wine Walk Tasting Room

This wine walk featured 14 wineries that were hosted by 18 local businesses including restaurants. It was fun for the community to visit their favorite shops downtown reinvented into tasting rooms. Some businesses had participated in Wine Walk for many years and for others it was their first time, nonetheless everyone had a great time and it would not be a surprise to see them again next year.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the fun at next year’s 20th annual San Mateo Wine Walk! Until then have some fun at our other San Mateo events; keep up with all that is happening by subscribing to our blog and checking out our events calendar.


Community Events, Downtown, Local Business

Wine Walk 2015

This year the Downtown San Mateo Association is putting on the 19th annual Wine Walk in downtown San Mateo.

Come enjoy an afternoon downtown with friends to taste local and greater California wines. Downtown shops and restaurants will be hosting tasting rooms where you can enjoy your wine as well as tasty bites.

This year the San Mateo Wine Walk has many stores participating as well as a large handful of restaurants. While some places have participated for many years it is others’ first time, so make sure you stop by your old favorites and also welcome the new to the event

Friends&wineThis is the first year Hourglass Boutique is participating in the event and store owner Lindsay Hoffman shared her excitement with us and said, “We decided to participate in the Wine Walk because it’s a great opportunity to draw people to this side of the downtown area…this is a chance to introduce them to our shop and neighboring businesses that they may not be familiar with. We are excited about participating because it is a fun way for the community to discover new places and enjoy what the ever-changing downtown area has to offer.”

Seasoned Wine Walk participating merchant, Colleen Rafferty of Christensen & Rafferty Fine Jewelry is also excited about participating this year. She said “We had great fun last year and this year is shaping up to be even better with our jazz/R&B trio, Kenya B Trio! What attendees liked about our venue last year was our fun wine lounge.  We set up our entrance with lounge furniture so the attendees could stop, sip and chat with other guests. The energy was great.”

This will be the third year David Hunsaker, owner of the restaurant 31st Union, will be hosting a tasting room and he is also looking forward to the community event. David said, “It’s about getting the community together, trying new wines, seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, trying pairings they haven’t tried before, and being able to showcase our food.”

Restaurant Block 34 is only a year old but is participating in its second Wine Walk. Restaurant Manager Mario Fuerty said, “Our food is modern American and we try our best to use local purveyors and buy locally. We have some exciting things coming up around the corner and are excited to show off at Wine Walk.”

Rustic board with cheese selection,tapas style appetizer

In addition to fabulous wine and food the event will also feature live music, prizes, and an overall fun atmosphere. The event ends just in time for dinner so stick around to enjoy a meal at one of your favorite Downtown San Mateo spots.

Participating wineries include Azari Vineyards, BoaVentura de Caires, Cuvee Cellars, Flying Suitcase, Hunter DeHaven, J. Lohr, Jazz Cellars, Left Bend, Lion Ranch, Rosenblum, and Russian Ridge.

The event runs from 2:00pm-5:00pm on Saturday, October 3rd. Get your tickets by September 30th for the discounted price of $35. If you miss the deal, not to worry, tickets will still be available for $40 after September 30th.

For more information visit:

For tickets visit:


Sharona's Chocolates
Community, Downtown, Local Business

Female Entrepreneurs Succeed in San Mateo

San Mateo Ranked #44 out of 405 as Best City in the U.S. For Female Entreprenuers to Launch their Business. Outranking other California cities, including Roseville, Rocklin and Chino.

The City of San Mateo, CA was ranked #44 in a new report by data-science group GoodCall as one of the best cities in the U.S. for female entrepreneurs to launch their business.

“San Mateo provides women entrepreneurs with a healthy economy, networking potential and a large number of women-owned businesses – 31.48% of the city’s establishments are owned by women, more than the national average,” says Eppie Vojt founder of GoodCall.

Chef and Proprietor Alicia Petrakis at Three restaurant and bar in San Mateo,

Chef and Proprietor Alicia Petrakis at Three restaurant and bar in San Mateo.

“The City of San Mateo is honored to be listed as one of the top 50 cities across the nation for women entrepreneurs,” says Mayor Maureen Freschet. “Women hold a number of leadership positions throughout San Mateo and a growing number are taking the plunge to start their own businesses. In one commercial area, women own 50% of the businesses, while our chamber of commerce and downtown association support the success of women through board appointments and networking events. Since becoming Mayor and serving on the City Council, I am constantly amazed by the creativity, energy and innovation our female leaders bring to the community.”

A total of 405 cities were evaluated on the metrics of core economic strength, business climate for women, professional networking potential and female education values.

The report also features advice for women entrepreneurs provided by national experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership , The National Women’s Business Council and the American Association of University Women.

Read the full report regarding San Mateo’s ranking, including methodology and data sources here:

About GoodCall: The GoodCall research team analyzes official government data to develop reports that help students, recent graduates and financial consumers make decisions about their careers, college choices and more. The GoodCall Data Center was born from the idea that in an increasingly complex online marketplace, consumers deserve access to the information they need to make educated financial decisions.