Recently elected Williams Lake Downtown Business Improvement Association directors include second vice-president Glenn Holling (left)

Recently elected Williams Lake Downtown Business Improvement Association directors include second vice-president Glenn Holling (left)

BIA takes on downtown revitalization

The Williams Lake Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) has a fresh new set of faces with fresh new ideas.

The Williams Lake Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) has a fresh new set of faces with fresh new ideas to help improve the downtown core.

“We all know that our downtown is suffering, we have an abundance of vacant storefronts in our core, we have merchants without successorship, businesses for sale and a shaky economy,” the BIA directors say in their letter to downtown business and property owners.

For all these reasons they say Williams Lake is ready for a reboot and the new executive is dedicated to that pursuit by opening new lines of communication with downtown business and property owners.

The executive has purchased the book 20 Ingredients to a Destination Downtown by Roger Brooks who is an expert in tourism, community branding, downtown development, and destination marketing.

“We are going to put every effort forward to learn how to run like a well oiled machine and help implement some of the key strategies to downtown revitalization,”   the directors say.

“We hope that by getting out in front of each and everyone of you that you will be able to feel the enthusiastic optimism.

We know that it’s not going to happen over night but if we don’t put that first step forward than we will never know.”

Part of opening up the dialogue will include quarterly open house meetings to keep people informed and participating in setting direction.

The Bean Counter Bistro is hosting the first of those meetings tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. The new office administrator will be introduced and there will be discussion with event chair Cindy Chappell about the re-vamped Winter Lights Festival and Santa Claus Parade happening downtown this Saturday, Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Santa Claus Parade will include a new Ice Princess Float and events in Spirit Square and the Limelight Theatre will include music, carolling, storytelling, live theatre, wagon rides, goodies, midday madness shopping and so much more.

The directors are also dedicated to creating a fresh newsletter to provide useful information on upcoming events and how to participate, plus ideas and access to a library of information for marketing businesses, creating block parties, and “pump up the idea that we are all in it together and the more that we share and cross market the better off the whole will be!”

The directors are also working on creating a strong brand for downtown to compliment the work done by city council with its Small Town Love campaign and finding ways to create the atmosphere that will make people want to enjoy spending time downtown.

Over the next few weeks they say the BIA administrator will be visiting businesses and land owners asking for permission to send information to them by e-mail. The first information sent out will be a link and password for the 20 Ingredients to a Destination Downtown video by Roger Brooks.

“We are responsible to the property owners and merchants of our downtown so we want to hear from you — the good, bad and the ugly,” the directors say.

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