Downtown merchants respond to critics

It’s been an exciting time in Downtown Glendale since the launch of the new business-driven Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association (HDGMA). We were thrilled to see the story of the new association as a feature article in the Aug. 2 edition of The Glendale Star. However, the article didn’t tell the full story of all the activities, planning and thoughtful approach taken to form the association.
The most impactful initiatives often start with a small group of people who have a collective passion, see a need, roll up their shirtsleeves and are willing serve in a leadership role during the formative period. This is how the HDGMA began; with a group of business owners, not a singular person, who saw the need for a collective approach to market the downtown. The all-volunteer group realized the importance of a thoughtful, formal and a strong foundation approach to bring together a body of work as a starting point for the future. In fact, the development of a merchant’s association was in part the result of city leadership and elected officials who have encouraged the formation of a merchants’ group.
It’s vitally important to the inaugural Board to hit the ground running and begin talking with our business neighbors, to share ideas and begin the work that needs to be done … and we know this will take time. We also know it is vital to work with key partners throughout the city, Valley and state, including chambers of commerce and government staff. We have already begun the outreach for these important connections and conversations.
The HDGMA is using a self-funded approach utilizing business and partner membership fees which will be 100 percent invested back into the work plan of the HDGMA. We are not relying on city taxpayer funded budgets or programs using tax dollars that could end at any time.
We respect and recognize that there are many groups, each with their own mission. We greatly value when partnerships are formed by core groups that see a need to champion issues and projects that are not a focus for others. The strategic leadership committee mentioned by Robert Heidt, president of the membership-based Glendale Chamber of Commerce, is an example of a committee that was not all inclusive. There was not an application process for the strategic leadership committee or, according to Downtown Development Manager Katy Engels, not a defined criteria for how its members were selected. We respect their initiative and would not accuse this committee as being formed in the “dark of night.” We are not working against the city, chamber or any group. In fact, we look forward to working hand in hand with all to achieve common goals and to many future collaborations with a spirit of cooperation to foster the economic growth of Historic Downtown Glendale.
Lorraine Zomok, Denise Quintana, Danica Coral, Valerie Burner, Cheryl Kappes
Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association Inaugural Board

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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
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