Local business owners galvanize
For the first time in more than a decade, business owners in the Seven Hills district are organizing to draw more customer interest and beautify the area some concede is viewed as the “ugly stepchild” to Nevada City’s downtown.
District business owners held an organizational meeting late last month to discuss possible area improvements and forming an association. Although no decisions were made, the business leaders were pleased with the turnout and plan to meet again later this month.
“It looks like the area is thriving,” said Duane Strawser, co-owner of Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop in the district.
The Seven Hills business district has been bolstered in recent months with Miner Moe’s Pizza opening, PJ’s of Nevada City opening under new ownership and Dokimos pharmacy opening next to SPD Market.
The district boundaries roughly include the 400 block of Sacramento Street, extend to Zion Street back to Ridge Road, and include Argall Way, Searls Avenue, Gold Flat Road and Hollow Way.
Business owners acknowledge the area isn’t the tourist attraction that the downtown is but say the shops and restaurants are important to nearby neighborhoods.
Strawser, who is part of a new Nevada City Chamber of Commerce subcommittee focused on the district, remembers grim days in the past when he went before the Nevada City Council where he was the only one lobbying on behalf of the area.
“If (business owners) want improvements, it has to be more than me and one other person (asking for the improvements),” Strawser said. “It doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it but you have to be seen.”
New lampposts in the relatively dark area, decorative brick crosswalks, street and sidewalk improvements, and street fairs were mentioned at the meeting last month.
These improvements could be made through the chamber subcommittee which was formed at the beginning of the year, said Cathy Whittlesey, executive manager of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce.
“We need some energy out there,” Whittlesey said. “But they should look at the easy way to go and that would be through the chamber.”
The chamber wouldn’t dictate to the business owners, Whittlesey said. It would allow the business leaders to direct mailings, among other things, she said.
The chamber already has about $5,000 in a separate account for the district, she said.
“Whatever it takes to get things done,” Strawser said, adding he didn’t care whether a separate association is formed or not.
Business owners at last month’s meeting were divided on the best way for the district to organize, Strawser said.
“I’m tired of all the factions of people bickering that gets nobody anywhere,” Strawser said.
But Strawser and Barbi Jackson, who co-owns Scott Jackson’s Real Life Fitness in the district with her husband, remain thrilled with the district’s prospects.
“This is where I do almost everything,” said Jackson who lives in the neighborhood nearby. “I think (a possible district organization) is a great sign.”
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly,e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4234.
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