The Community Connection and Coffee forum truly lived up to its name this morning with various businesses as well as the local community building relations with our guest speaker Donna Choi, Administrative Executive of the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association (DAIA) and our other local community representatives. The DAIA has been making considerable moves to promote and improve Arcadia’s Downtown over the past year with their recent events and retail recruitment. Legislative representatives as well as city officials offered updates on their recent projects and made announcements on their upcoming events.
Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association
Donna Choi represents the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association (DAIA) as their Administrative Executive. Previous to Donna’s vital role as a key component in the development of Arcadia’s Downtown area, she had a distinguished career in corporate marketing for long established radio stations such as KROQ and KBIG. Upon leaving this career she took her passion for marketing to open up her own small business Serifios, which became a treasured gift store by the local community and recognized as a significant contributor to the development of Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction. Her past experiences have shown her the effect that local stores and attention to core marketing principles can have towards the generation and establishment of a thriving business district.
The DAIA was established in 2012 as an official Community Benefit District dedicated to the promotion and improvement of Downtown Arcadia. The Downtown District lies within the boundaries of Santa Anita Avenue to the West, Second Avenue to the East, St Joseph Street to the North and California Street to the South. Their goal of facilitating the creation of a more active and pedestrian-friendly Downtown is being accomplished through abiding by several key tenets. The first of which is acquiring new and interesting retail that would appeal to Arcadia’s diverse interests, currently the Association is proud to announce the coming of Vendome Wine and Spirits in the upcoming year. The DAIA also places a large importance on the retention of key businesses within the district, supporting local businesses such as Matt Denny’s which has become a premiere destination within Arcadia. Third their is a commitment within the association to improve parking and pedestrian amenities, this principle proved to have considerable positive effects on the local independent book store the Book Rack on First Avenue which saw an increase in sales once parking was made more convenient through city ordinance changes. The fourth tenet is the beautification of the district which the DAIA collaborates with the city in order to achieve. As Tim Schwehr, Economic Development Analyst for the City of Arcadia announced currently the city has approved two projects within Downtown Arcadia which are in line to improve the aesthetic look of Downtown Arcadia. Lastly Arcadia was granted with a great resource at the tail end of 2015 with the opening of the Arcadia Gold Line station, the DAIA has recognized the value of such a development and utilized the station hub as a resource.
In order to revitalize and bring new people to Downtown Arcadia the DAIA has organized many events throughout the year which have had outstanding results in generating new business for the community. Every event organized by the DAIA has made use of Arcadia Transit Plaza as a central or accompanying location. The first event of 2016 was the Patriotic Festival, lead by at the time newly appointed council members April Verlato and Peter Amundson. The event took place in July and featured live music from, “The Hodads,” prizes donated by local businesses and food from Matt Denny’s Alehouse and Villa Catrina. In the fall the DAIA recognized the runaway success of Pokemon Go and set up Pokemon Go Lurefest in order to jump on such an opportunity. The DAIA partnered with local businesses including Matt Denny’s Alehouse, Neighborhood Music School, The Book Rack, the Arcadia Historical Society, etc. in order to bring special promotional offers for those out hunting that night. A local Arcadia citizen emailed the DAIA mentioning, “I am a resident of Arcadia of 15 years, I have three kids, who all attend the Arcadia Schools. We participated in the Pokemon Lurefest a few weeks ago, and we were amazed at how much of a gib turn out it was. We don’t remember a time when Downtown Arcadia was that busy!” In 2016 the DAIA partnered with a promoter in order to procure a wealth of diverse artisanal gift sellers who drew a great crowd enticed by the offer of uniquely ornate designed items. The Holiday Market was also able to partner with various businesses such as Helen’s Cycles, Matt Denny’s Alehouse, Embassy Suites, Spa Xanadu, the Arcadia Blues Club and Rolling Barn Burger.
Donna elaborated on the fact by pointing out to the businesses who were in attendance at this morning’s meeting that they are always looking for ways to partner with local business during their events. In addition to this the DAIA is lining up to bring back the PAtriotic Festival, a new Halloween event and the Holiday Market this year. For more information and how people can be involved with the DAIA please visit their website at http://downtownarcadia.org
Reports from Legislative Representatives and City Officials
- Becky Chang representing Congresswoman Judy Chu, reported that the Congresswoman will be holding her annual woman of the year awards this year and is currently taking in nominations. The IRS is currently accepting entree into their VITA Program which offers tax services for low income individuals
- Adam Hsu representing Assembly member Ed Chau, announced that they will be holding a Consumer Protection Workshop on Friday, February 24, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM, the workshop is intended to help the community become aware of certain scams that are going around. The Workshop will feature presentations from the Contractors State License Board, U.S. Postal Service, Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the San Marino Police Department. For more details on the event as well as information on how to RSVP please call (323) 264-4949. Ed Chau is currently working on three legislative pieces, the first involves adult use marijuana products being only used by adults. The second piece of legislation would make it necessary for the manufacturers of marijuana products to have to submit their packaging designs to ensure that it isn’t being marketed to children. Lastly he is working on procuring a day to be reserved as Data Privacy Day.
- Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilmember Peter Amundson reported that the mayor will be having his annual Mayor’s Breakfast on Friday, February 24, 2017, the event will feature a presentation by US Congressman Adam Schiff. The City Council members met on February 1, 2017 discussing various topics in Arcadia. These topics included making Arcadia transit better for seniors and the disabled, budget expenses and city revenue, how to address burglaries going on within Arcadia, advocating more resources to address crime. One of the topics discussed in the meeting is seeking collaboration with Assembly member Ed Chau, this is the issue of the Tucker Bill which would ensure that all bets both on and off site for races that only occur at Santa Anita Park will grant a percentage to the city of Arcadia.
- Tim Schwehr, Economic Developent Analyst for the City of Arcadia reported that they held a Lunar New Year festival last month, it showcased Downtown Arcadia and is a great opportunity to work with the city. Currently the city is undergoing two projects within Downtown Arcadia, first is the Reconstruction of Public Parking lot 1B – located on the south side of Indiana Street, second is creation of a pedestrian walkway between 29 East Huntington Drive and 33 East Huntington Drive, this project would connect Huntington Drive with the public parking lot north of Huntington Drive behind the buildings. Tim also reported on the Golden Streets Event which will run through Arcadia on March 5, 2017. Last month the city of Arcadia dedicated $20,000 to funding programs in order to support the homeless. Lastly a Starbucks has opened on Live Oak and Santa Anita.
- Mike Vercillo of the Arcadia Police Department announced that Jack Orswell is now a volunteer of the Arcadia Police Department, their Coffee with a Cop event is taking place Wednesday, February 8, 2017. The event will feature a showcasing of Zoli the police dog and the mobile command post vehicle.
- Linda Sells of the MAD Town Council announced that they will be holding their next meeting on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. They will also be holding a certificate program starting Monday, February 6, 2017.
The public is invited at 8 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month (except July and August) to hear informative presentations at the monthly Community Connection and Coffee Forum led by Chairman Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting. The Forums are held at the Chamber office at 388 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia in the Chamber’s conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union. RSVPs to the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce office are appreciated – (626) 447-2159 or info@ArcadiaCaChamber.org
Pictures by Chief Member Concierge Carrie Barker
Story by Member Concierge Matt Miyasaki