It’s the onset of winter, the country is in an economic downturn, and many are experiencing hard times. But instead of having a case of the blues, now is the time for business owners to prepare for the upturn. Let’s tidy up our storefronts, shine our windows, and get things in order so that when the business cycle turns, Kingston will be ready. Tourists continue to come to Kingston and residents need a place to shop, so we should take advantage of this opportunity to make the most of what we have.
Many visitors—who later end up moving here–consider Kingston to be the Hudson Valley’s best kept secret. They’re won over by the historic architecture, fascinating museum and historic sites, beautiful waterfront, excellent restaurants, interesting, one-of-a-kind shops, art scene, and affordable housing—not to mention the friendly people. To further beautify the city, get the word out, and make Kingston more accessible, the committees from the Main Street Manager’s Office are working on several initiatives:
Kingston Happenings Website is Live
The website, www.kingstonnycalendar.org, has been launched (with this blog) we encourage all business owners and residents to check out the calendar and list upcoming cultural events in the city. Business owners are also advised to fill out the on-line form to get listed in the free business directory. They can also advertise at a very reasonable cost on the site: ads on the home page are $25 a month, $15 per month on the back pages. Artists are also encouraged to submit digital images of their work, for the juried selection of art that will be displayed on the home page.
Colorful Banners Planned for Broadway Corridor
The Business Alliance of Kingston is currently reviewing designs for banners that would be hung along the Kingston Corridor, a route through the city that would guide visitors through Uptown down Broadway to the Rondout. Each banner would also identify the district—Uptown, Midtown, or Downtown. Visitors entering the city often get lost because of the city’s geography; the banners would help them find their way through the city as well as tie the three districts together. A redesign of the visitor’s kiosk off the Thruway has been proposed, and the MSM’s committees are also investigating posting a map for motorists and other signage.
Art in the Empty Storefronts, to Enliven the Streetscape
Another project underway is the display of artwork in the city’s empty storefronts. Anne Surprenant and Brian Early, who opened up a gallery in Uptown this month and are both members of Project 19, a Kingston-based arts consortium, are working with the Main St. Manager’s office to approach landlords to explore placing paintings, sculpture, photographs, video, and installations in key locations in Uptown and Midtown. Exhibiting artwork in the storefronts would help beautify the city, create more interest on the pedestrian level as well as showcase the city’s abundant artistic talent. If you own a building with an empty storefront and are interested in participating, please contact the Main Street Manager’s office at email@example.com.
City-wide Yard Sale Planned June 5
The MSM is also planning to organize a city-wide yard sale on June 5, which is also the day of the First Saturday gallery opening. The idea is to involve the whole city in an event that would entice visitors—as well as provide Kingstonians with an opportunity to pick up collectibles and get rid of their old stuff! The gallery openings attract a lot of visitors, and the idea is to build on that, with restaurants staying open late and perhaps musical performances happening in nearby venues. We want people who come to Kingston to see art to come earlier in the day to check out the yard sale, then finish off their day with a meal in one of our great restaurants.
The MSM’s office has launched a Business to Business Discount Program. Kingston has a rich concentration of small businesses, which collectively can supply many of the shopping needs of residents and other businesses. But many who live and work in the city aren’t aware of this, preferring to do their shopping at the mall, large chains or outside the area. To help raise awareness, Main Street Manager’s office, has introduced a B2B program as a way to boost business on a slow day and build support among the local business community.
To qualify, business owners need to present their business cards to the sales person at the counter. Participating businesses will be listed on the Business Alliance of Kingston website, www.BusinessAllianceOfKingston.org, with information about the discount (when it’s available and how much) and a description of their business. So far, twelve and counting businesses are offering the discount (or a variation), which are: Artcraft Camera, Catskill Art & Office Supply, Full Circle, Half Moon Books, A Razor’s Edge, Dominick’s Café, Maxwell’s Pizza Pub, Yankee Clipper, Ship to Shore, Mezzanine Antique Center, Madden’s Fine Wines and Liquors, The Hoffman House.
The MSM, which is sponsored by the Business Alliance of Kingston, is working with local businesses and the community to revitalize the city’s business districts.