NOTE: ARCHIVED ARTICLE FROM CITYOFCAMAS.US ON DAY OF ITS ORIGINAL POSTING.
Mayor Barry McDonnell and DCA Director Carrie Schulstad talk t-shirts, togetherness, and take-out.
In this video, Mayor Barry McDonnell met with Carrie Schulstad, Executive Director of the Downtown Camas Association.
Summary and minutes:
0:23- Carrie became involved with the Downtown Camas Association in 2004 when she opened a store, Uncommon Gift. She began to work on the revitalization as part of the Downtown Vision Coalition. Back then approximately 60% of the businesses were closed and crime was higher downtown. As with national trends, bigger companies moved away to malls and small businesses couldn't attract enough business. As a result, communities lost a piece of their heart with downtown businesses closing. Revitalization was slow going, and then the 2008 recession took place. This meant the City was no longer able to fund the revitalization project, so the Downtown Camas Association found the Washington State Main Street Program for education and training. In 2009 they become a 501c(3).
3:23- Four main ways they revitalize downtown:
Promotion, including events
Design, including flower baskets, murals, art, and historic preservation
4:48- Recently they had installed a mural outside Universal MMA, but the ribbon cutting on April 1 was canceled due to COVID-19. It will be revealed when they can reschedule the ribbon cutting. The mural is an art piece that is a historic tribute to the Mill, its workers, and what it has meant for Camas. The art also includes a code that will take viewers through a historic walk through Downtown.
6:08- The Downtown Association is known for the events they hold. How are they adapting?
The 23rd Annual Plant Faire is canceled this year. They are promoting the Plant Faire vendors that sell online or that have a physical location.
First Fridays are going virtual, starting in May. The theme is Gnomes and Fairies. Instead of being only on Friday, every day starting on Sunday, April 26, there will be activities all week long. There will be prizes from various merchants. Instead of asking merchants to donate them, the Downtown Camas Association is purchasing the prizes/gift cards. Some examples of activities include costumes, dance parties and seek and finds. Look for videos daily on the Downtown Camas Association's Facebook page.
10:40- The Downtown Camas Association started a fundraiser: Downtown Together, for the community to show they stand with downtown businesses. They are selling t-shirts to support busineeses. The idea was the brainchild of local business wonder Mel Locke, and the logo designed by a graphic designer at Fuel Medical. The Mill is represented in the M. All the proceeds will be split between participating merchants. The shirts can be found at shirtsforcamas.com
12:22- Other things businesses have done to pivot: Ramping up an online presence, Facebook Live events, online sales, and all sorts of creative endeavors. For instance, Cake Happy has made Quarantine Boxes, Birch Street Lounge has done a popup shop, Salud has done a wine sale etc. Mill City Brewery will begin to sell some food, spirits, and hand sanitizer they have made. Liberty Theater is going to sell their popcorn on Friday and Saturday nights. Overall businesses have stepped up to go above and beyond. For example, Natalia's Cafe has been serving breakfast and lunch takeout near-daily and has offered a service for people to donate and in turn, they will serve meals to people who need it. As a result, they've served senior centers, seniors out in the community, healthcare workers, people who have been unemployed.
16:07- Carrie gave a shout out to the City, recognizing the Shop Local & Save Initiative which supports small businesses in Camas. Residents can save their receipts and submit them to the City for Utility Bill credits-- see the Support Local page for more information.