Welcome to May, Downtowners! Spring has sprung and folks around the city are getting out their cleaning supplies and gardening tools to spruce up their homes and businesses. Our association would be remiss if we didn’t join in on the annual tradition of Spring cleaning as well. For some, it is literally just a matter of deep cleaning in and around the house, but for others it means an all out update of their living or work spaces. We are going with the latter at 1108 Garden Street, and I am excited to announce that our organization has adopted a new name and corresponding brand. You may have noticed at the last Downtown Foreword our new logo, which you will also see this month on our Concerts in the Plaza posters around town.
After several years of discussions to change the name of the organization to better fit with our work, our Board of Directors opted for a familiar name that in many ways has always been there. For us, Downtown SLO is more than just a location—simply a few blocks to go for shopping and entertainment. Downtown SLO is a lifestyle and a sense of place. Unlike location, place is a carefully curated environment where visitors share experiences, live, play and dream: Disneyland, for example. A lot of thought and effort is put into providing guests the best possible experience when they walk into the park, right down to their branding.
So what is in the new branding for Downtown SLO? Starting with our logo, you will see a skyline with buildings, mountains and clear blue skies like you would experience while Downtown. You will also note that the logo is a square with rounded corners that is just a bit slanted, or should I say that the frame of our logo is as unique as our Downtown. Not so different that it deserves a wild polygon shape but not boring by any means. Lastly, you will note that “downtown” is central to the logo and accentuates “SLO”. Note the green lettering denoting vibrancy, fertility, freshness, nature and prosperity.
Along with our logo and name change you will be able to further experience the new brand on our exciting new website that was redesigned with our users in mind. For visitors, they have their own section. For business members, they also have their own section. The same is true for Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market. By the way, did you notice that we made the change to our market’s name a couple years back? It is pretty funny that the names magically coincide, or maybe not. Our website address is still www.DowntownSLO.com but that is about the extent of all that remains. The colors are updated, the layout for our business directory is much more intuitive and we are now sharing Downtown Deals, real estate listings, better access to important information, a catalog of our articles and business stories, and even a store where we plan to sell tickets to events, Downtown SLO merchandise and other fun promotions yet to be revealed. In other words we have a site that not only looks fresh, it works hard to make finding information about Downtown SLO even easier. If you don’t believe me, take our improved events calendar out for a test drive.
Beyond the digital world our team is working hard to improve the physical realm of Downtown SLO as well. At our annual retreat, the Board of Directors prioritized four goals to pursue in the coming year and I’m here to tell you that they are ambitious, but no task is too large for this team. Building better relationships within the community, pursuing a mechanism to provide an enhanced Downtown environment, addressing solid waste issues and finishing out the objectives in our Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market Vision Plan are all on the To-Do List this year.
As for building better relationships, two concepts will be brought forward this year. Expect to see a new educational series hosted by Downtown SLO for our local businesses with topics including merchandising, employee safety and creating better experiences for customers. Our mechanism to improve the Downtown environment will be pointed at economic development activities, providing cleaner and safer streets and better place making in general (think public art, plantings and entertainment). Our third goal is solid waste management and that one is perhaps the least glamorous of topics to discuss at the dining room table but it is the most fitting thing to discuss over a meal. With a large offering of delicious restaurants, diverse retail experiences and our vibrant nightlife scene, Downtown produces a lot of waste. Food waste, trash, recycling and liquid waste are never in short supply, and our team recognized this two years ago. We will continue to pursue ways to reduce our environmental impacts and be better stewards of the land while still ensuring a great Downtown Experience. That includes how we address our Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market and the waste we generate there. Additionally we have a few more items on our Vision Plan for The Market, including beer and wine sales and tasting, more music, cooking demonstrations and better access
In short, this is on track to be a big year for Downtown SLO and the name change and logo are just a foreshadowing of what is yet to come. In many ways it is perfect timing for a freshening up this spring and it is my hope that you all will join us as we pursue these goals with all possible energy and enthusiasm. Simply show up to our events and have a good time or visit local shops and enjoy the Downtown SLO experience. Remember Downtowners, we choose to work hard every day to create the Happiest Place in America because we care about this place we call Downtown SLO.