DAN HEATH Press-Republican
PLATTSBURGH — An enthusiastic group of business people has helped relaunch the Plattsburgh Downtown Association.
About 20 people attended the revived organization’s second meeting on Thursday morning, held at Champlain Wine Company, and agreed to focus on two initial initiatives: support for the First Weekend events and creation of a map to show what’s available downtown.
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Colin Read of the Wine Company said downtown offers a different experience than the Route 3 corridor. Shopping downtown seems to be more leisurely and oriented around events and family.
“I think that’s what makes the downtown business owners unique,” he said.
First Weekend can only help support that, Read said.
‘COME ON IN’
The series, which kicked off in June, features musicians who volunteer to perform outdoors on the first Friday and Saturday of the summer months to help attract visitors to downtown businesses.
The firms are asked, but not required, to offer a 10 percent discount to Friday visitors who return to downtown the following day.
The next First Weekend is scheduled for July 5 and 6. The series is scheduled to continue with events in August and September.
Tim McCormick, of the tax and accounting firm McCormick and Deon, said people would like to see the First Weekend series extended throughout the city limits.
William Ferris of Big Apple Audio agreed with that concept.
“Anybody who wants to participate, come on in,” he said, adding that it’s only common sense that the downtown will remain the core for those events.
Bob Smith of Nine Platt Hospitality Group said it is important to have a core when starting such initiatives, then allow it to expand outward to its full potential.
Becky Leonard of Under One Roof Video Store said she has identified 20 businesses on Margaret Street between Boynton Avenue and Cornelia Street. She is working to provide those owners with information about First Weekend.
The second initiative is to create a map of what’s available downtown that could be distributed at local businesses.
“A lot of people don’t know what’s available downtown,” Ferris said. “It’s important that everybody promotes everybody else.”
He said many of the people who come to the area are looking for the kind of quaint shopping and dining experiences that are available downtown.
Smith said they should look to distribute those maps beyond just the downtown merchants.
“I think that map would be really useful for the hotels,” he said.
STRONG EFFORT NEEDED
Laura Dominianni, who owns the Great Adirondack Soup Company with her husband, Chris, said they were very involved with the association’s former incarnation and are committed to the new one.
It will take a strong group effort to make a difference, she said. The last version started strong, then slowly dwindled to only a few people trying to make things happen.
The restoration of the Strand Theatre offers support that wasn’t available last time, Mrs. Dominianni said.
Susan Coonrod of Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts, who has been in business for about a year, said she purposely chose to locate her store on Brinkerhoff Street.
“I wanted to be downtown,” she said.
Coonrod decided to get involved with the Downtown Association because she sees the value in working to attract more visitors.
“Some of us remember when downtown was all there was,” she said. “There are still some things you can’t get unless you visit the businesses like we have downtown.”
Read said they are probably going to need to explore a more formal organization in the future. The next meeting is expected to take place in mid to late July at Northern Insuring.
Email Dan Heath: firstname.lastname@example.org