Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Small Business Weeks hits downtown Visitacion Valley
Pulling off our 5th annual sidewalk sale wasn’t going to be easy this year. Not on Leland Avenue, not among all the streetscape construction that had encompassed the entire south-side of Leland Avenue between Bayshore Blvd and Desmond St. We did have one big advantage this year however - a state senator eager to meet small business owners on a commercial corridor undergoing financial hardship amid immense change. Additionally as luck would have it May 15th was also Lemonade Day, a city-wide event that introduces kids to entrepreneurship by starting a lemonade stand and selling their lemonade to the community.
So when 8 year old Niko Zernik Traxler from Teddy Avenue set up his well crafted ‘Moto-ade’ stand in front of Joe Leland Coffee Shop at 10am, the day brightened up. He wasn’t alone on the sidewalk. Body, Soul and Spirit Salon set up an eye-catching table display of beauty and hair care products next door, traveling to the heart of the sales event from their 222 Leland Avenue storefront. They were joined on the sidewalk by Bay Wash, Royal Pacific Mortgage, Nails By Jenny, Casa Lopez Produce Market and North East Medical Services. Attendees made laps up and down the block socializing between bites off delicious ‘crazy’-corn on the cob (courtesy of Casa Lopez), while perusing unbeatable deals on everything from house plants to laundry detergent. Rounding off the sidewalk sales closer to Alpha Street were local entrepreneurs and artists including Beauna Clark and her hand-crafted jewelry, Eric Johnson and his Garlic Luvrs Spread butter and Nosh’s addictive Dirty Popcorn.
By the time Senator Leland Yee arrived around 12:00 noon, the sun was shining through the clouds and the sidewalk was filling up. After trying a cup of ‘Moto-ade’, Senator Yee was greeted by event attendees eager to shake hands and grab a photo. The Senator proceeded into Leland Avenue storefronts to meet with small business owners, learning first-hand the financial distress caused by ongoing streetscape construction. While the sidewalk sale was able to gather neighbors together on Leland Avenue for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, it is going to take continued patronage of local businesses to ensure merchants weather the storm of construction. But for those who came down on Saturday, it was a perfect afternoon to mingle with neighbors, bargain shop, get a bite to eat and of course see Leland on Leland (sorry, I had to say it).