There are ways to improve a downtown, and the city of Marysville has taken the initial steps in doing so.
Over the next couple months, Marysville city officials will be working with Michele Reeves of Civilis Consulting out of Portland to find ways to revitalize local business and sales in downtown Marysville.
Reeves said one of the first steps in improving any downtown is taking a look at the stores’ windows.
“When I drive through a town for the very first time, if I see a ton of those red-lighted open signs I know sales are low,” Reeves said.
The open signs plastered over many businesses in downtown tells Reeves that storefront windows and sidewalks are not doing their jobs.
“I want you to show me you’re open, not tell me,” Reeves said.
Reeves said she’ll be working on a pilot program to improve the front windows at three local businesses on D Street.
Reeves said D Street was selected because it’s the main street in downtown, and the businesses she will start with are Skip’s Music Cafe, Sissy’s Attic and VIP Pets. All three businesses have windows that can be improved and in turn be more inviting to the public, she said.
Reeves said some of the highlights of the window treatment program are using track lighting on the edges, removing some of the black tint that doesn’t allow for people to see the products being sold, and simply making the windows and store more transparent.
Reeves said she hopes to one day create a storefront window where people can see available product from across the street. She calls it cross-pollination and says it’s worked in downtowns in Oregon.
Reeves said cross-pollination is more commonly referred to as residents visiting multiple stores in a day and subsequently helping to boost “sales per square foot.”
“If someone doesn’t walk in the door they are not going to buy something, Reeves said.
Reeves said she’s in communication with Marysville about creating a holiday pop-up, which is when a vacant store is transformed into an area where multiple vendors can take it over temporarily to test out their product.
“It allows them to dip their toe in the market and see what they think,” Reeves said.
There’s also preliminary ideas about creating a Christmas Night Out, which would lead up to the annual Christmas Parade.
Reeves said she’s hoping to improve downtown Marysville to where it has at least 18 hours of activity, morning and evening businesses and better street and commercial lighting.
“If it’s not driving people to come in the door then it’s not doing its job,” Reeves said.
Upcoming public events
Oct 1: Michele Reeves, out of Civilis Consulting in Portland, will help run a training session with local merchants and property owners on how to drive sales in downtown Marysville. The training begins at 5 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.
Oct. 14-18: Window treatment program begins installation at Skip’s Marysville Music Cafe, Sissy’s Attic and VIP Pets in downtown Marysville.