Reflections: Farewell 2019 – Hello 2020!
With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas in a few short days, I wanted to take a moment for some reflection.
2019 was a year of change for the downtown community. We saw a changing of the guard at City Hall, in addition to a new board at the then BDIA. The office moved from the main street and invested in two new staff. A Strategic Plan was hammered out as a guiding light for our future. We re-branded and renamed our association to The Downtown District, positioning ourselves as a vibrant, forward-thinking community. There is a tangible buzz about the Downtown District that everyone is talking about. The online and in person chatter is predominantly hopeful and full of excitement and anticipation. We didn’t do this alone and it didn’t happen overnight. It happened one person and one day at a time.
Now here we are, at the end of 2019 with 2020 on the horizon and we are so excited to get started! We have a number of solid events that we can build on, creating destination experiences for locals and visitors to look forward to throughout the year. Because of Digital Main Street our membership are more engaged than ever, using digital media as a marketing tool. In 2020 we intend to increase that engagement – working together to tell the story of our community. Recruitment and economic development are at the forefront of our priorities, and with that comes addressing some long standing challenges in the downtown core, including parking, safety and security and foot traffic.
We need you. Without our members support we cannot succeed. We encourage each one of you to link arms with the Downtown District BIA and help realize our vision –By 2023; Downtown Belleville will be the thriving centre of our community.
Here are 5 ways you, as a member of the downtown community, can contribute to the growth and success of the downtown District in 2020.
- Familiarize yourself with our Strategic Plan: Familiarize yourself with our strategic plan so that you can understand what the bigger picture is and help to support our efforts. Click here to read.
- Join a Committee: Volunteer to contribute to one or more of our committees. This year our committees will be a big part of helping to tackle the challenges ahead. Not only will you be a part of the solution – but you will develop relationships with your neighbours which help to build community. For a list of the committees, click here.
- Invest in Marketing: Take responsibility for your success so that we all succeed. The general rule of thumb in the marketing world is 5% of your overall revenue to remain status quo, 10% of your overall revenue if you want to grow. If you need help developing a marketing plan and/or budget, please reach out to us.
- Change the conversation: Engage in positive dialogue both online and in person. It’s easy to get sucked into a negative vacuum of chatter, especially when you either have experienced the same thing or you hear the same thing from several people. We as a community all know what challenges we have, some are within our control and some are not. Try to always be an advocate of the Downtown District – even if sometimes it’s hard. Use your social media channels as a marketing tool, not as a place to vent or share bad news. You the members are the front line of our brand, therefore your actions are a reflection of the entire downtown experience.
- Collaborate: One of the earliest marketing lessons I learned was this “If you want to open a flower shop, open it in a town that has a flower shop.” What does that mean? It means if there are 2 flower shops in one area it becomes a destination for flower shops. We need to increase foot traffic to the Downtown District as a whole. To do that, we have to work together. If your neighbour succeeds, we all succeed. We have a very unique product, which is actually fairly hard to compete with. If we work as a team, helping each other to succeed will all benefit.
In closing, Kelsey and I wish you all a happy holiday and hope that you have time for family, friends, a rest and recharge.
The office will be closed from Wednesday, December 25, reopening January 6th as Kelsey and I catch up on some lieu and holiday time. I will still be monitoring email and social media so if you need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out!
For a more detailed outline of 2019, be sure to read through our annual report.