Streetscapes Destination Downtown has a new three-part strategy to strengthen the downtown business core and attract shoppers.
The new strategy was unveiled by Streetscapes’ chair Dawn Hames at the organization’s annual general meeting at the Clock Tower Pasta and Burger Bar last Wednesday.
Hames said the first objective over the next three years is to rebrand Streetscapes into a more recognizable name.
She said people refer to it interchangeably as the Business Improvement District, or Streetscapes or Destination Downtown.
“We have a lot of different names and we need to have a name that’s really going to recognize the downtown area, so we’re going to be rebranding,” said Hames.
The plan calls for a new website and a greater social media presence.
The second strategic objective is to market the downtown with new marketing campaigns based on what Hames called cluster marketing.
“Cluster marketing is grouping together similar businesses to create a stronger draw,” she explained.
“When downtown businesses work together and support one another, great things can be accomplished.”
Hames cites a successful sidewalk sale last fall among downtown retailers as an example of the power of cluster marketing.
“We increased business in the downtown area two and a half to three times for two days, and it cost us $20,” she said.
If things go according to plan, there could be two events per quarter in the downtown this year, starting with a fashion show at the Clock Tower April 20 during a week long event.
“It’s going to be showcasing the fashion that downtown has to offer,” said Hames.
Tickets are $15 each with $10 going to the Salvation Army food bank and $5 for refreshments.
The following week will be Homestyle week.
“This is part of cluster marketing initiatives so there will be different events happening downtown as well for that,” said Hames.
There will also be future events for the health and fitness cluster among others.
The third strategic objective is to attract new entrepreneurial businesses to vacant shops in the downtown.
“We want to get people into the downtown core,” said Vince Angelo, vice chair.
“We want to focus on the fact that the acquisition of available retail space is an attainable goal.”
The strategy aims to create a database of available properties for new businesses.
“We also want to show that being in the downtown core has its advantages of being able to walk door to door to businesses,” he said.
“We have buildings, we have square footage in the downtown core and we want to get people down here.”
Angelo also noted there is a lot of parking available downtown, contrary to what many people think, given what he called the mall mentality.
He said Lloydminster residents might be surprised to hear there are about 115 businesses and professional services in the downtown area.
“To educate the people in Lloydminster about what they have right at their fingertips is the biggest goal for us right now,” he said.
Anglelo also wants to get the word out about sidewalk sales being on tap downtown during the RBC Cup May 14-22.
He said downtown merchants want to capitalize on the extended foot traffic the junior A hockey championship will generate.
“As each event gets closer to its maturity, there will be more information about them,” said Angelo.
Angelo is also on the board of Streetfest that will take place downtown June 11 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in partnership with Arts Without Borders and the Lloydminster Farmers Market.
“That’s the big one,” he said when it comes to cluster marketing.
Last year’s Streetfest drew about 5,650 visitors to the downtown.
“Every year it grows – we are really looking forward to this year as well,” said Angelo.
Streetscape will fund its operations for 2016 with an annual budget of $145,000, an increase of $5,000 over 2015
The budget, which includes two salaried positions, was presented by Ryan Deis representing auditor Leckie and Associates who reported a 2015 profit of $10,000.
Streetscapes is funded by downtown businesses and property owners through a city tax levy.
“We have limited resources and we work within the guidelines,“said Angelo, who noted they have applied for a few grants to help support some of the events like Streetfest.
“The success of those grants going forward has yet to be determined” he said.