In her recent editorial, Kristina Hacker asks "whatever happened to Turlock's bridal district?" It is a good question, and in fact, she partially answers it herself. Whether or not the concept was a good idea, the timing could not have been worse. Launched in January 2008 at a time when vacancies downtown were near zero, the Turlock Downtown Property Owner's Association attempted to create a long term vision for downtown to attract new businesses and keep downtown flourishing for years to come.
That fall of course, the financial meltdown and real estate crash not only affected the downtown marketing plan; it ultimately shifted most existing businesses into survival mode. If the "bridal district" was a long shot in a good economy, it was certainly doomed in the four years of that followed.
Yes, the downtown "Bridal District" branding program is dead - officially dead. But this is good news for Turlock, not bad news. Downtown is a mix of retail stores, restaurants, offices, banks, government, automotive related businesses, fitness studios, salons and day spas, tattoo shops. We welcome the Carnegie Arts Center and the new Public Safety Center, currently under construction. We continue to discover that for many of our needs, our destination is downtown.
What is on the horizon? Talks are ongoing to make it easier to attract entertainment venues to Downtown. Re-introducing housing to downtown lofts has been discussed. The opening of three new restaurants in the past year is especially encouraging, and has added an air of excitement and optimism. Downtown is still the heart of the city and home to many events such as the farmer's market, the Christmas Parade, and the upcoming Taste of Turlock. Downtown continues to be the venue for community events by numerous organizations in Turlock.
There is still work to be done. Outreach to our university neighbors, empty buildings to fill and to offer successful events. The best business for downtown is a successful one, and many types of business are welcome. It won't happen overnight, but without a vision, it won't happen at all. Thank you to all the dedicated people who are working hard to help make Downtown Turlock your destination.
- John Jaureguy
Downtown business owner and property owner