Association aims for downtown revitalization
A recruitment drive is on to get local business people involved in the new Downtown Carson City Business Association.
The association, created last month following dissolution of the Downtown Merchants Association, will hold an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 9 at Comma Coffee for potential members.
“We have a map — a target geographical area from Fleischmann Way to 10th Street — and anyone can join,” said local marketeer Maxine Nietz, who owns the Arlington Group with husband, Fred. “We want to make sure that the future of downtown is a bright one.”
Nietz and a handful of business owners incorporated the nonprofit organization to pursue group marketing efforts and get business people and Carson City residents to recognize the need for a revitalized downtown corridor.
With the backing of a large pool of area businesses, and the corporate designation, the group will be able to procure city funding for events and encourage locals to get more involved in supporting mom and pop operations.
Sue and Stan Jones are owners of the Purple Avocado, one of the downtown area’s newest curiosity shops. Although they have been in business less than a year, the couple see a potential for Carson City’s future through the association.
“I mostly got involved because I think its important to get all the businesses of Carson connected to each other, to support each other and know about each other,” she said. “If a whole group is involved with something like this there is more of a connection with local government and local people.”
The group’s organizers say they intend to work with the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce, a body encompassing member businesses throughout the city and beyond it’s borders.
“We’ve been getting encouragement from the city and redevelopment. It’s been positive and supportive,” Nietz said. “We feel like once we are established, we can have a regular liaison with the city and perhaps even state people.”
Nietz said the association, looking to quickly gather membership, will charge members a fee of $48 for yearly dues. Committees will be formed to look at downtown events and things like street repair.
“Advertising is not the big thing for us,” Jones said. “It’s one reason why we call it a business association and not a merchants association. We want to include everybody.
“It’s more to create a community type of spirit. The networking is just a nice thing, it attracts locals and tourists, and it can interface with government and the chamber.”
The Joneses attribute a lot of the Purple Avocado’s success to the area’s distinct historic qualities. The couple’s business is inside a historic home, a designation shared by many of their neighbors.
“We want to try to make it like a Carmel or a Nevada City,” Sue Jones said. “We want to make it a downtown where people don’t mind walking through the areas of town. This will attract more business as well as local and tourist traffic.”
The association’s founders will spend the balance of this week and next week visiting store owners and local professional pitching group membership.