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Diane Raymond: Grass Valley is my kind of town

Other Voices
Diane Raymond

Every once in a great while, if we are truly lucky, we find ourselves exactly where we are meant to be.

As the new executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association and a current resident of downtown Grass Valley, I am grateful to be in that space.

As I begin my role, it is my hope that each merchant, member and resident of our community will truly see downtown in the same beautiful light that I do. On my very first visit to Grass Valley I was struck by its small-town charm, but equally by the level of sophistication and first class shopping and dining available. I can think of a dozen or more small downtowns throughout California and Oregon with more than double or triple the population of Grass Valley and with less than a fraction of its culture or the character one feels when they have arrived at a premier destination.

It is my goal to help locals rediscover and fall in love again with their downtown and to help tourists discover downtown Grass Valley as that upscale, exciting downtown destination set in an awe-inspiring landscape with a rich and colorful history.

One of my top priorities is to get to know the business and property owners and to understand their struggles, their hopes and their dreams for downtown Grass Valley.

I am by no means a “small-town girl,” although I clearly have claimed Grass Valley as my home. I was born in New York and spent more than 20 years in both Southern California and Southern Oregon. My background for over 30 years has been in marketing both in the private sector and many years of experience in the nonprofit world. I am the former executive director of Metro Medford Downtown Association; I have a passion for revitalization and helping to create thriving and vibrant downtown districts. There is nothing more exciting that helping a community step into its future. My experience in other communities has taught me that success is always the result of building strong partnerships and working together. It’s about connecting the dots in a way that creates the desired outcome.

While there are many projects that need attention and a solid plan is being developed to re-engage and re-energize downtown, it all starts one step at a time. One of my top priorities is to get to know the business and property owners and to understand, their struggles, their hopes and their dreams for downtown Grass Valley. While I’ve had the chance to meet many folks and begin to have healthy conversation, my door is open and I am a call away if you have input to share. Together, I believe we can create the future we all want to see. I am honored to have an opportunity to play a role in moving Grass Valley forward.

One of the first things that brought many of the merchants together is a new event called “Ladies Night Out.” Thursday, from 5 to 8 p.m., participating merchants are rolling out the “pink” carpet to create a truly one of a kind shopping, dining and wine tasting experience. The kids are back in school, the holidays are not quite upon us and it’s the perfect time for ladies to grab their friends and have a night on the town. Our merchants will also be turning their window displays pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. A big thank you to all the participating merchants and to our sponsors Mill Street Clothing Co. and Beautiful.

Each of our merchants has come up with their own unique special experience for you. Whether it’s pink drinks, a special gift with purchase, a fall preview or a special price, you can be sure our merchant’s goal is to create a memorable evening for you.

Let’s change it up a bit, step out of the ordinary and take a fresh look at downtown. Think pink and I look forward to seeing you Thursday night!

Diane Raymond is the executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association.


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