Published April 2001

Community leaders: Baron’s ‘village’ a boon
for Stanwood

By John Wolcott
Herald Business Journal Editor

Spearheading the transformation of a 55-acre farm into a $25 million “village” of stores, professional services, restaurants, banks, a retirement center, movie complex, health club and a manufacturing company has attracted a lot of attention for Sol Baron, President of Stanwood’s Lindstrom Development Group Inc.

And a lot of admiration from the Snohomish County Economic Development Council, the Stanwood Chamber of Commerce and others.

“He’s really been a catalyst for the entire development there in Stanwood, quality stuff, nothing on the cheap but with an eye to the long-term good of the community,” said Michael Cade, Vice President of the Snohomish County Economic Development Council. “He thought if he did a quality development, people would be attracted. He was right.

“Many people no longer have to drive south on I-5 to go to work,” Cade said. “He’s demonstrated that companies will go out of the Seattle area (for new locations). He definitely has done some good investment work in his community.”

Mary Anderson, President of Index Sensors & Controls, the firm that left Redmond last fall to occupy the entire first phase of the industrial and office-park sector of the Stanwood-Camano Village, said both she and the employees are pleased with the move.

“It’s certainly a very pleasant working environment, with trails and other amenities. I like looking out my windows and seeing trees and eagles, a nice change. It’s also a well-designed center. The employees like it here, too,” she said.

Stanwood Mayor Matthew McCune agrees that Baron has been a major benefit to the community.

“He’s created jobs, opportunities for our youth. Many of them start their working careers here at fast-food restaurants or Haggen. He keeps jobs in town; plus, he brought in the Index plant and created new opportunities for folks, primary-income jobs,” McCune said.

The village also has given people the opportunity to “stay in town for shopping, banking and doctoring,” he said.

Laura Byers, President of the 110-member Stanwood Chamber of Commerce, agreed that Baron has “done some wonderful things for the community.”

“He’s certainly brought in new business, and bringing Index to the community was a wonderful accomplishment,” Byers said. “The ‘village’ has brought reasons for all of the businesses in the community to work together.”

Dave Pinkham, owner and publisher of the Stanwood-Camano News, said he has worked with Baron on several committees in the community.

“We’ve had a lot of business and civic dealings. He’s a great person, very active in the community ... good leadership in the business community. Merrill Gardens, Haggen, the theater complex, the Sports Club (are great) — we never had anything like those before in Stanwood,” Pinkham said. “They do enhance the quality of life here.”

George Kramer, President of BFC Frontier of Lynnwood, the dominant builder of the Stanwood-Camano Village, recalled the years he has worked with Baron:

“One of the earliest things that impressed me about Sol was his ability to put teams together to get the jobs done, to select good people and just turn them loose, although he provided strong oversight and guidance. I was also impressed with the different perspective he had, his vision for that area. The economy was very different when he started the project, but he saw its potential, took the risks and carried on,” Kramer said.

Kramer also likes working with Baron because “he’s building quality, not just things for the sake of building but also things that contribute to the local community that he’s so concerned about. ... I’ve certainly witnessed other developers who build a little different and with less care than Sol does.”

Related story: Baron puts 'vision' to work

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