Jeff vonKaenel

It’s official! My wife Deborah and I are officially the proud owners of the former IMG furniture-showroom building, located at 1124 Del Paso Boulevard.

After three years of starts, stops, bank meltdowns, environmental-impact reports and environmental testing, we went over to the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency on Friday, June 26, to sign the closing papers on what will be the future 19,000-square-foot headquarters of SN&R.

Mark Wright, our contractor from Sunseri Associates, estimates that it will take his crew eight months to do the remodel. He starts this week.

SHRA official Molly Oser—who painstakingly shepherded our project through the labyrinthlike process—asked Deborah and I to sign and date the document. We looked at each other and smiled. As it turns out, we were signing on our wedding anniversary.

While anniversaries have never been a big deal in the Redmond/vonKaenel household these past 27 years, it seems significant that this was the date we were closing on a new building.

As Deborah went through her massive color-coded binder, checking off each item of concern before I was allowed to sign, I had some time on my hands to think. My mind went back to the same day, 27 years ago, when we married in the backyard of our dear friends George Thurlow and Bob Speer in Butte Creek Canyon.

I also thought back to an even more important date 32 years ago, when I was the newspaper sales manager in Santa Barbara. That’s when my brilliant, dedicated-to-changing-the-world newspaper colleague Deborah, who also happened to be drop-dead gorgeous, started going out with me.

Our combined monthly income at the time was something like $600 per month, but that was only because we were having one of our newspaper’s better years. Nevertheless, we were happy. And we were proud of what we were doing.

Now, on June 26, 2009, we signed for a building in which we hope we can both continue to make a difference. We hope this building will give us room to continue growing without the concern of rising rental prices. And we hope this building will give us a chance to demonstrate and write about effective green building techniques, which we expect will encourage others to embrace sustainable building models. And finally, we hope that by moving out to Del Paso Boulevard, we will help bring a vibrancy and life to that neighborhood.

Deborah and I are especially appreciative for the support of City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy. She heard we were planning to move, and made an appointment that very afternoon to talk with us about the north Sacramento option. Sandy was the force behind this move; it definitely would not have happened without her. We are eager to make a home for our company in her district.

And I am looking forward to another 27 years of marriage, grateful that during the last two of those years, thanks to our new 25-year mortgage, I won’t have to make any more damn payments.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.