About Downtown SLO

Downtown SLO is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit founded in 1975 whose mission is to foster an economically vibrant Downtown. Downtown SLO serves the community by working on initiatives like parking and beautification efforts, coordinating special events and the weekly Farmers’ Market, supporting economic activities and examining Downtown issues.

The organization began as a Business Improvement Association in 1975 when business owners decided to self-assess to improve the district and develop unified promotions, beautification projects, and parking programs for the Downtown area.

In 1998 the organization became the Downtown Association, and in 2008 changed its organizational structure from a city advisory body to an independent 501 (c) 6 nonprofit in order to better serve our members. In 2017, the Board of Directors chose to refresh our image and brand, and now we are proud to be known as Downtown SLO.

Currently we house seven committees comprised of business owners, employees, and the public at large. The Board of Directors is comprised of business owners, managers, financial institutions, not-for-profits, the media and higher education. Together, we strive to enrich our Downtown community through beautification efforts, placemaking, and supporting a vibrant economy.

Duties of Downtown SLO

Downtown SLO is a member-run organization. Downtown businesses are their own guide and determine the direction of the organization. Downtown SLO’s primary objective is to foster an economically vibrant Downtown. Our goals are (not in order of priority)

-Aggressively obtain more available and convenient parking in the Downtown BID boundaries;
-Promote awareness of and participation in alternative access to and within the Downtown core;
-Strongly advocate for cleaning and beautifying the Downtown District;
-Advocate for public safety awareness within the Downtown District;
-Continue a high level of cultural arts, promotional, and fundraising activities;
-Continue to implement Strategic Plan objectives;
-Launch a marketing campaign that promotes the Downtown experience to consumers beyond San Luis Obispo;
-Educate members about their rights and responsibilities as business owners;
-Brand “Downtown SLO” in all print and visual materials to educate and show value of the organization; and
-Encourage and participate in Major City Goals, including the Mission Plaza Master Plan and the Downtown Conceptual Physical Plan updates.

The Board of Directors hires an Executive Director who is responsible for carrying out the directives of the committees, overseeing the budget, and maintaining relationships with City Hall, members, state and community organizations, and the media. The Executive Director also serves as manager of the Main Street program, and oversees the activities of the staff. The Farmers’ Market Manager is responsible for coordinating the highly popular Farmers’ Market activities and overseeing relevant staff. The Special Events Manager implements and oversees several annual special events that occur Downtown, including Concerts in the Plaza, Halloween activities, Holiday Happenings, and more. The Events Assistant supports both the Farmers’ Market Manager and Special Events Manager in their duties. The Office Administrator runs the daily nuts and bolts of the organization, as well as oversees several side projects and supports all positions as needed. The Communications Coordinator ensures that all outreach and communication from the organization is clear, concise, and consistent. Finally, our Downtown Ambassadors welcome tourists to the area, establish and maintain relationships with local businesses and shopkeepers, provide necessary services and interact with panhandlers and transients as needed, remove graffiti & litter, and serve as a representative of Downtown SLO.

Downtown SLO Board of Directors

Downtown SLO is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors which is elected by the membership each March. Board members take office in April and may serve up to two consecutive two-year terms. The Board appoints three designated members representing voluntary member businesses in the district from financial, non-profit, and higher education sectors. The Board also appoints one non-voting media representative. The four appointed terms do not have term limits. All Board members must also serve on at least one of the seven standing committees. The Board of Directors meets every second Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Board Members

Rodessa NewtonLibertine Brewing Company; President, Executive Committee, Alternate Special Events Chair, Food, Beverage & Services Committee

Jules DuRocherJules D. Boutique; Past President, Executive Committee, Economic Activities Chair

Pat Arnold – CoVelop Inc; Vice President, Executive, Issues Evaluation Chair

Pierre Rademaker Pierre Rademaker Design; Secretary, Executive, Parking & Access Chair, Economic Activities Committee, Issues Evaluation Committee

Carl DudleyPacific Western Bank; Designated Member, Financial Treasurer, Executive Committee

Stephen PatrickStephen Patrick Design & The BladeRunner Salon & Day Spa; Cultural Arts Chair

Ariel Shannon – Bluebird Salon; Special Events Chair

Scott Smith  – Central Coast Surfboards

Doug ShawThe Sanctuary Tobacco Shop; Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market Chair, Issues Evaluation Committee

Beverley MatthewsHotel Serra; Food Beverage & Services

Jai Covey – Novo, Luna Red, and Mint+Craft; Food, Beverage & Services Committee

Ken McGavin – Just Looking Gallery; Issues Evaluation Committee

Shelley Stuckey – Tails Pet Boutique

Laura MullenHumanKind Fair Trade; Designated Member: Nonprofit, Economic Activities Committee

Jessica DarinCal Poly; Designated Member: Higher Education, Economic Activities Committee

Brandon Downing – KSBY; Media Representative, Special Events


There are seven standing committees: Cultural Arts; Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market; Economic Activities; Food, Beverage, & Services; Issues Evaluation; Parking & Access; and Special Events. All committees are open to the public and have one designated City representative, with the exception of the Issues Evaluation Committee.

Cultural Arts

The purpose of the Cultural Arts Committee is to develop guidelines and programs for the enhancement of Downtown, to maintain pre-established beautification programs, and handle issues related toward the maintenance of a clean, safe, and beautiful Downtown district. The committee also works to promote cultural arts in the Downtown, including public art, theater, museums, and more. Committee members coordinate annual events such as the Window Decorating Contest, Downtown Tree Lighting on Higuera, and Beautification Awards, and also participate in the Downtown Foresters sub-committee. The Cultural Arts Committee meets every third Tuesday of each month at 8:00 a.m. in the Downtown SLO office.

Stephen PatrickStephen Patrick Design &
The BladeRunner Salon & Day Spa; Board of Directors, Chair

Bruce FraserFraser Seiple Architects

Karen KileSan Luis Obispo Museum of Art

Landy Fike – San Luis Obispo Resident

Ryan BrockettTen Over Studio

Aracelli Astorga – San Luis Obispo County Library

Eva Fina – History Center of San Luis Obispo County 

James Papp – Cultural Heritage Committee

Jeff Al Mashat – San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

Kevin Harris – SLO REP

Leona Guidace – ARTS Obispo

Emma SapersteinCuesta College Harold J Miossi Art Gallery – Guest

Lindsey Stephenson – City of San Luis Obispo Public Art – City Staff

Ron CombsCity of San Luis Obispo Arborist – City Staff

Downtown Foresters—Plant, Prune & Protect!

The Downtown Foresters formed in May 2007—as a sub-committee of the Design Committee—to assist City tree crews in caring for and maintaining the trees in the Downtown area.  They receive training from City Arborist Ron Combs and are responsible for assisting with planting, pruning, watering, fertilizing and looking out for the “urban forest.”


Economic Activities

The Economic Activities Committee was established to oversee matters of economic interest that affect Downtown. Issues such as business retention, and attraction, clustering, retail space availability, economic forecasting, construction, and development projects, and others are discussed and implemented. Most recently the committee took the lead in the rebrand of Downtown SLO. The committee works with the Economic Development Manager at the City of San Luis Obispo to formulate strategies for the economic viability of Downtown. This committee meets the third Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.


Jules DuRocherJules D; Board of Directors, Economic Activities Chair

Jessica Darin – Cal Poly, Board of Directors

Pierre RademakerPierre Rademaker Design; Board of Directors

Laura MullenHumanKind Fair Trade;  Board of Directors

Jeff BrownWells Fargo Private Bank

Jeff OldsJamba Juice

Jay BeckStalwork, Inc

Charlene RosalesSLO Chamber of Commerce

Bart DevaneySunset North Car Wash & Detail Center

Audrey Bigelow – San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

Molly Cano – City of San Luis Obispo, Tourism Manager – City Staff

Food, Beverage & Services

The Food, Beverage & Services (FBS) Committee was formed to support City and Downtown SLO objectives of providing a safe, attractive and vibrant evening economy in Downtown SLO while reducing issues associated with alcohol outlets and encouraging a more inviting nighttime economy. FBS is comprised of stakeholders including restaurant, bar and business owners who hold licenses to sell and/or serve alcoholic beverages as well as other committee members whose products or services that have an affiliation with the safety and well-being of Downtown. Members pay additional fees to support committee activities. Guests are welcome to attend committee meetings. This committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at 11 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Beverley MatthewsHotel Serra; Board of Directors, Co-Chair

Rodessa Newton – Libertine Brewing Company; Board of Directors

Jai Covey – Novo Restaurant and Lounge & Luna Red; Board of Directors, Co-Chair

Andrea MillerSpike’s Pub

Marco AbarashedMother’s Tavern

Nick Guggisberg –  Mother’s Tavern

Ron Meier – Ash Management

Hank OwensFrog & Peach Pub/Creeky Tiki Bar & Island Grill

Myriam OlaizolaBlack Sheep Bar & Grill, Buffalo Pub & Grill

Dan Harper – Blast 825 Taproom

Jacob Moore – The Library

Rai ReynoldsUnderground Brewing

SarahSLO Brew

Jason FloresBuffalo Pub

Joe DiFronzo –Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica

Josh Christensen – Sidecar SLO

Toney BreaultF. McLintocks

Christine WallaceSLO Police Department – City Staff

Sean JessenSLO Police Department – City Staff

Parking and Access

The Parking & Access Committee is responsible for monitoring the status of parking in Downtown San Luis Obispo and for offering solutions to parking problems to city officials. Currently, the committee is working on the development of a parking structure on the corner of Palm and Nipomo Streets. Other issues include parking management, alternative transportation and access, and special programs like the Downtown Access Pass and token programs. This committee meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Pierre RademakerPierre Rademaker Design, Board of Directors, Chair

Pat Arnold – CoVelop, Inc; Board of Directors

Amy KardelClever Ducks

David Abrecht – Bike Enthusiast

Mark RawsonCopeland Properties

Bob ArmstrongRide-On Transportation

Patty Thayer – SLO REP

Peter WilliamsonSLO Regional Rideshare

Steve AkersBike SLO County

Alexander Fuchs –  City of SLO: Assistant Parking Services Manager, City Staff

Gamaliel AnguianoCity of SLO: Transit Manager, City Staff

Megan WeeksCity of SLO: Transit Assistant, City Staff

Scott LeeCity of SLO: Parking Services Manager, City Staff

John OsumiBishop Peak Technology, Inc.

Issues Evaluation

The Issues Evaluation Committee analyzes critical issues that affect the vitality of our Downtown such as general maintenance problems, proposed ballot measures, and the Downtown Vision Plan, with the objective of finding the best possible outcome for Downtown as a whole. Committee members execute their responsibilities as a representative of Downtown SLO and all of its membership, much like an elected official would be required to do. Their recommendations are taken back to the Board of Directors for formal consideration. The committee is comprised of Board members and members at large for a total of 12 committee members. To become a member of the committee, members must complete an application consisting of two questions. The committee meets the last Wednesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Pat ArnoldCoVelop Collaborative Development; Board of Directors, Chair

Ken McGavinJust Looking Gallery; Board of Directors

Pierre Rademaker – Pierre Rademaker Design; Board of Directors

Doug ShawSanctuary Tobacco Shop; Board of Directors

Kelsey MoeB. Anthony & Co. Jewelers

Marshall OchylskiThe Law Office of Marshall E. Ochylski

Special Events

The Special Events Committee’s mission is to provide a broad range of promotional events and activities to attract people to the Downtown core, to provide businesses with promotional opportunities, to retain a favorable business atmosphere, and to raise funds for Downtown SLO operations. This committee oversees the Concerts in the Plaza summer concert series, Special Events within Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market throughout the year, and a comprehensive Holiday program including the Holiday Parade, Santa’s House, and the Classic Carousel in Mission Plaza. Special events are an integral part of Downtown SLO’s mission to ensure Downtown is a vibrant and economically viable center for businesses and a safe, clean and beautiful place for visitors to enjoy themselves. The Special Events Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Ariel Shannon – Bluebird Salon; Board of Directors, Chair

Rodessa Newton – Libertine Brewing Company; Board of Directors

Brandon DowningKSBY, Board of Directors

Terry DetrickPacific Premier Bank

Therese Cron  – Copeland Properties

Kathy Collins – Maino Brothers Corporation

Molly Lannen – Keller Williams Central Coast

Monica Racz Keller Williams Central Coast

Katherine Thompson – Pierre Rademaker Design

Laurel CadenaMiner’s Ace Hardware – Guest

Molly CanoSLO City Tourism Manager – City Staff

Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market

The Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market is organized, administered, and paid for by Downtown SLO, with the purpose of:

  •        Creating a positive image of Downtown San Luis Obispo;
  •        Exposing community members to retail stores and services offered in Downtown;
  •        Generating foot traffic on Thursday nights;
  •        Providing a forum for community activities;
  •        Maintaining Downtown as the center of retail, social, and civic activities; and enhancing the community as a whole

The Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market committee reviews applications and discusses all manners of business affecting The Market. Another function of the committee is promotion through special events. This committee meets the second Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m. in the Downtown SLO conference room.

Doug ShawSanctuary Tobacco Shop; Board of Directors, Chair

Kannyn JanuaryAmbiance Clothing Boutique

Mike Cirone – SLO County FMA

Ron Meier – ASH Management

Andrea Miller – Spike’s Pub

Nancy SnyderMo’s Smokehouse BBQ

Aasim Sajjad – Shalimar

Sean Lee The Real Estate Company

Steve HilsteinMusic Motive

Jason Beres – SLO City Fire Department

Get Involved

We value hearing from our community and believe your input is crucial to a successful Downtown. To get involved, please visit our office on Garden Street in the Maino Building, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, or contact us at ReachUs@DowntownSLO.com.

Downtown Tree Lighting

Downtown SLO is pleased to offer sponsorship opportunities to light up the street trees along Higuera between Morro and Garden Streets. Street tree lighting adds to evening ambiance and contributes to Downtown safety and well-being. Your sponsorship is a one-time donation that supplies high quality LED lighting with a 25-year life expectancy to a Downtown street tree and includes maintenance and utility costs. Each sponsored tree exhibits a bronze plaque that is securely affixed to the tree grate. We offer a convenient payment plan and multi-tree discount. Please contact our office if you are interested in participating in this Downtown program. Thank you to Thoma Electric and the City of San Luis Obispo for working with us on this program.

Beautification Awards 2018

Downtown SLO’s 29th Annual Beautification Awards were held on Wednesday, April 11 at the SLO HotHouse. The event honored Downtown businesses that have enhanced and renovated existing spaces or done a commendable job with a new establishment. Award categories include tenant improvements, signage/awnings, merchandising, and maintenance, among others. See our winners by clicking here.

Meet our Staff

Bettina Swigger

Bettina Swigger

Chief Executive Officer
Rachel Flair small

Rachel Maiorino

Chief Operating Officer
Brent Vanderhoof

Brent Vanderhoof

Office Administrator
Whitney Chaney

Whitney Chaney

Farmers’ Market Manager
Bethany Donaldson

Bethany Donaldson

Farmers' Market Operations
Niesha Diaz

Niesha Diaz

Events Manager
Kat Thompson

Kat Thompson

Marketing & Communications Manager
Austin Bertucci

Austin Bertucci

Downtown Ambassador

Hotline: (805) 458-5153

Downtown Brown

Downtown Brown

Downtown Mascot

Employment Opportunities

Internship Opportunities

Request For Proposal