By Khalida Sarwari
It was a week of changes not only for Campbell’s civic leaders, but also for one prominent business leader.
Sonya Paz, owner of an art gallery in downtown Campbell, has announced she will be stepping down in her capacity as president of the Downtown Campbell Business Association.
Paz, who has been at the 195 E. Campbell Avenue location for the past four years, says she has chosen not to renew her lease because the cost of a gallery of that size, along with the general overhead costs, are making it difficult for her to afford to continue conducting business there.
Furthermore, she said, the time involved leaves her with little time to explore other personal interests. She said she plans to take off time to regroup and reinvent her creative endeavors.
Above all, Paz stated that recent regulations placed by the city, county and state upon businesses is the reason why she has decided not to continue to operate her business at the current location.
Paz recently expressed her frustration with the city’s response following the county fire department’s order that the layout of the Downtown Campbell Farmers Market be changed in such a way that it does not pose a risk to the safety of the public.
At a Nov. 20 city council meeting, Paz claimed that downtown merchants, who pay high rent and sales tax, were not given as high of a priority by the city as the other stakeholders involved.
Several other merchants at the meeting agreed with her, including Campbell Chamber of Commerce executive director Neil Collins and Simply Smashing owner Deb Rohzen.
After a year of serving in the role, Paz said she will be stepping down as DCBA president on Dec. 31, but that she would assist the board with administrative tasks while members search for her replacement. She plans to also stick around at her gallery through the end of the year to fulfill her lease obligation.
“It is pretty evident I have put my heart and soul not only in my business here at the gallery, but also as a member of the DCBA,” she said.
Ultimately, Paz said she plans to relocate so she can fulfill special orders, run wholesale accounts and undertake creative community and custom projects.
“The design and branding segment of my business is certainly keeping me busy and I want to be able to focus more on developing those business relationships,” she added.
The new location has yet to be determined, she said.