Thumbs up to Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, for heeding the call to step up events in downtown Jamestown.
Events had been dwindling even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which is disappointing because a busy event schedule can help fill downtown businesses with customers on days when they would otherwise be nearly empty. Events can provide a shot in the arm to businesses that will sorely need it in the coming year.
The Downtown Jamestown Event Planning Coalition includes between 45 and 50 organizations and businesses and around 70 community stakeholders, Tranum said, and is going to analyze events that take place annually in the greater and downtown Jamestown area to make sure they are having a strong economic impact for local businesses.
One event that may get a makeover is the Downtown Jamestown Cruise-In, which annually takes place for one Friday night in the city during the summer. Tranum said the group is discussing making it a multi-day program.
Of course, that’s a blast from the past. The Cruise-in was, for several years, a two-day event that featured cars on Friday night and motorcycle stunt shows on Saturday. But the approach worked — the shows brought hundreds of people into downtown Jamestown on a Saturday when little else was happening.
Downtown businesses should appreciate Tranum’s efforts — and hopefully membership in the coalition will grow. It’s one thing to have a group that plans events. It’s quite another thing to have willing volunteers to staff the events or for businesses to find a way to kick in some money to give the coalition the funds to make events successful.
Business owners said they wanted a seat at the table for downtown event planning. Now is the time for businesses that aren’t participating to do so.
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