Downtown Mall Businesses Prepare to Serve Customers Better

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

July 12, 2005

A visit to Central Virginia isn't complete without a trip to Charlottesville's Downtown Historic District, so tonight the business owners gathered to toss around new ideas about their businesses.

Ask any business owner on the downtown mall, and they'll probably tell you the downtown mall is in a great place, and has become a destination spot throughout the region. However, they may also say, more needs to be done.

"Downtown is in a phenomenal condition. We are experiencing rapid growth in just about every category you can imagine," said Bob Stroh, the co-chairman of the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville.

Business owners are doing just that, imagining what it would be like to have so much more.

"We're expanding dining, we're expanding retail, we're expanding our entertainment options, and we're even expanding parking," said Stroh.

With the historic strip on a tremendous growth curve, and more and more people interested in what they city has to offer, the Downtown Business Association gathered to update its members on what's in store for later this year.

"We're a membership organization, and we have 80 members. We like to keep our members informed, and many of them can't come to our board meetings," explained Stroh.

New promotion and marketing campaigns for the city in partnership with the businesses include "Thursday's 'Tunes at Noon'," featuring free music serenading visitors to mall during lunchtime, and "Paint the Town Orange" which kicks off the next season for the University of Virginia football.

"It's going to be tremendous. We're planning a major parade," he explained.

The plan for lots of fanfare surrounding downtown businesses doesn't come without challenges.

In addition to helping people move along the mall, city police officers are there to help the business owners as well.

"We'd like them to know about loss prevention, to know about employee theft, and to know about how to keep themselves safe and aware of what's going on around them," said Officer Harvey Finkle, of the Charlottesville Police Department.

Another item brought up during the meeting was the completion of the new Charlottesville Pavilion. The Pavilion's general manager assured business owners it will be finished by July 27th.

The co-chairman of the Downtown Business Association says he is proud of everything accomplished with the downtown mall, and that he looks forward to making it even stronger in the future.

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