How do you define success in a downtown business district?

I read Successful Smaller Downtowns & Business Districts: What Every Businessperson, Property Owner, and Municipal Official Should Know, by John L. Gann Jr., and got some inspirations for downtown Gilroy.
This manual, which is targeted at business owners and municipal lawmakers, was written to help save those whose fortunes and futures are tied to the well-being of city business districts.
Defining Success—The first key to success outlined by Gann is defining what success looks like. Success can mean many things, but the author says downtown business success is defined by how well it attracts people, not how fancy the buildings are.
Focusing on Consumers—One common mistake made by urban planners and business owners is forgetting that the success of a business district is tied to the success of businesses in the district. Gann says successful business owners work to provide goods and services customers demand, allowing the superficialities to work themselves out. “What draws them is not beautification, but merchandise—farm fresh groceries, art, crafts, hard-to-find specialty items, and good things to eat and drink on the spot:” Gann wrote. “No one cares about building facades or street furniture. People just want to buy or sell. That’s pretty much the definition of a business area.”
Residents and Consumers—Older business areas should grow, intensify their housing stock and retain the best kinds of activities to bring and keep more people downtown longer and more frequently.”
Real-World Examples—The core lesson underlying every part of Gann’s book is one every business leader and elected official should learn in order to properly promote economic revitalization in their cities: When businesses and government help consumers get what they want, everyone wins.
On the whole, Successful Smaller Downtowns & Business Districts conveys a vast amount of real-world experiences instead of abstract theories and Gann fills his book with many actionable suggestions. Gann shows readers the importance of emulating models employed by successful businesses, such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks, which Gann says has been able to overcome its status as “just another coffee shop” by creating a distinct “feel” associated with the brand.
The takeaway for downtown Gilroy is to identify our own authentic brand and “feel” and to accurately identify and deliver the goods and services that the market is seeking. While it is great to focus on aesthetics or our many historic buildings it is not what will make downtown successful, it is only people spending money in the downtown businesses that will.
Gary Walton is president of the Downtown Association and owns buildings downtown.

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