This is the night life problem that the Hospitality Guidelines committee wants to solve without turning downtown Pleasanton into a center of rowdy drinkers that older residents remember. It's a committee of heavy hitters formed by the City Council and co-chaired by Councilmen Matt Sullivan and Jerry Thorne. Members include representatives of the Planning Commission, city staff, the PDA and neighborhoods near downtown that would be most affected by any loosening of permit restrictions on noise and late-night dancing and drinking. These meetings are open to the public and the Guidelines task force agenda and minutes are posted on the city's Website.
As for boosting retail sales downtown, the PDA, its Downtown Vitality Committee and the Economic Vitality Committee are working with consultants to promote Pleasanton more aggressively, Early bird specials and pajama-dressed shoppers and store owners have already added to pre-Christmas sales with more to come. But it's after Christmas and in all of 2012 when the "fever pitch" is needed to keep Pleasanton retailers ahead of the competitive pack. Jay Galvin, managing director of digi-Assist, Ltd., and a member of the EVC, suggests putting a billboard or two along Hwy 101 on the Peninsula with the words: "Experience Pleasanton." He'd do the same at the Oakland Airport and along El Charro Road when Livermore's Paragon Outlet Center opens next fall.
Galvin points to the quaint, yet highly profitable, retail centers in Carmel and Solvang, two destinations that draw shoppers from the Bay Area, including Pleasanton. Although our downtown may never have that same nostalgic pull, we have a far better unhurried shopping and dining atmosphere than the crowded hectic pace of Walnut Creek. Galvin points out that in some cities, smaller merchants coordinate coupon campaigns where shoppers and diners can redeem certificates worth $20 or more for every $200 they spend. Why not do the same here?
The EVC, which represents all business activity in Pleasanton, is working on "brand statements" to enhance Pleasanton's image as "an extraordinary place to experience." Its strategy is aimed at encouraging residents to patronize local businesses, with a five-member subcommittee developing concepts for an area-wide campaign in the coming year. To begin, the subcommittee plans to create an online microsite to promote the benefits of shopping locally as well as provide a connection to a number of local shopping campaigns. An early draft of a promotional message states: "We are Pleasanton and we are an extraordinary place for shopping. We are home to a regional mall with over 165 stores and restaurants, as well as a vibrant downtown with independent retailers and unique items. We offer convenient commuter shopping along our interstate corridors, and our neighborhood shops are located throughout our residential district. Wherever you live or work, local shopping is just a short drive, walk or bicycle ride away."
Sure seems like a place worth "experiencing."
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