"FORTUNE Small Business Magazine has identified the Town of Danville in the top 100 great places for business owners and honored us with the 'FSB Best Places To Live and Launch Award,'" announced Jill Bergman, the town's Economic Development Coordinator, late Monday afternoon.
"I'm delighted and I've gotta agree with them," said Mayor Candace Andersen.
Danville was tagged No. 69, with the top "pro" listed as easy access to San Francisco and the biggest "con," high home prices.
The description reads: "Danville, a quaint, historic town, is home to many small companies with five or fewer employees. Neighboring San Ramon hosts several large corporate offices, such as those for AT&T and Chevron. Local businesses serve a wealthy and well-educated population: 59 percent hold at least a bachelor's degree in Danville; 54 percent in San Ramon."
"We've been written up in a couple of publications," said Bergman. "This certificate says best place 'to live and launch a business in 2008.'"
No. 1 ranking went to Bellevue, Wash., which has a population of 111,608. Other California cities were Marina del Rey (4), American Canyon (11), Novato (16), Carlsbad (32), San Jose (66) and San Luis Opispo (78).
The magazine described how it made its choices: "We ranked 296 Census-designed metro areas by business friendliness and lifestyle offerings. Then, through reporting, we picked the town within each of the top 100 metro areas that best blends business and pleasure."
Business factors considered were tax rates, job growth and the number of airline flight connections within 60 miles. Lifestyle factors included the number of parks and art venues within a 15-mile radius, health infrastructure and average temperatures.
The magazine then combined the business and lifestyle scores and filtered out those with a low number of startups. Last, it picked towns with strong population growth and low crime rates; it also favored those with housing costs no greater than 120 percent or less than 80 percent of the median area cost.
"Our reporters then interviewed entrepreneurs, local officials, and business experts to identify towns with the strongest small-business programs (such as tax incentives or favorable zoning regimes) and the most appealing leisure resources (such as a lively downtown, great fishing or beautiful parks)," stated the magazine article.
It further described Danville:
"As is the case with many towns and cities in the region, real estate doesn't come cheap: houses in Danville sold at a whopping median price of $907,000 in 2006 ($710,000 in San Ramon). But Danville entrepreneurs seem to be putting their homes to good use - a survey run by the town council found that many businesses are run out of the home.
"With its many parks, wineries, museums, and quaint downtown, residents might prefer to stick around town during their off hours. But those seeking more can make an easy getaway: Two international airports lie within a 30-mile radius, and San Francisco is a mere 33 miles away on the BART, the Bay area's commuter train."
See the complete list at money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/bestplaces/2008/top100.