Greetings Downtown Businesses,

My first three months with the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz were busy, but very rewarding! I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet many of you - dedicated, hardworking, Santa Cruz business owners and managers bringing your talents and passions to our community - and I hope to meet more of you in the months to come. I know what a difficult time this is for so many of you, and welcome you to contact me anytime we can help!

I took on this role at 60% time, due to the organization's budget constraints, but I've found myself happily engaged more than full time learning about Downtown's challenges, successes, and complex moving parts. The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz works on behalf of our member businesses in four broad areas outlined below. We get a lot done on a tiny budget. Did you know that Business Improvement Assessments only amount to $250,000 a year, when downtown is thriving? And our budget has shrunk considerably because of the tragic pandemic-related business closures. However, we get a lot done because of our incredible staff and many partners who love Downtown Santa Cruz as much as you and I do. Here's a little about what we accomplished in my first three months, Q4 of 2020:

Clean, Safe & Welcoming Programs
  • Established BlockbyBlock partnership, gaining long-term program sustainability for our Downtown Management Corporation (DMC) funded Ambassador program, and temporarily expanding the mapped area of service. Read the December Ambassador Report!
  • Assessed readiness to enact PBID, via conversations with the largest 3 property owners downtown; no appetite until post-pandemic
  • Advocated for property owners with vacancies to file Trespass Letters of Authority authorizing SCPD patrols to address problem hotspots
  • Activated vacant Rittenhouse Building windows with MAH exhibit

Downtown Holiday Campaign:
  • #ShopSantaCruz2020 was the largest advertising campaign the downtown has run in over a decade, encouraging locals to shop downtown for the holidays early and often, in support of local businesses in their most critical months during the pandemic. Included paid social, radio, TV, signage and PR with sponsorship from Economic Development.
  • Santa's Mailbox + Reindeer Roundup Promotions
  • Holiday Lights! On and Off-Pacific.
Downtown Dollars!
  • Researched & shared federal, state + local small business funding opportunities
  • Stayed abreast and updated businesses on COVID-related restrictions and allowances
  • Updated 550+ member emails in our database to ensure inclusion in Downtown Santa Cruz directories and newsletter communications
  • Launched Monthly Restaurateur Peer Circle + polled membership for additional connection points
  • Board management, and meeting invitations/publicity

  • Established or nurtured working relationships with:
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
City of Santa Cruz
Economic Development
Public Works
Parks & Rec
Encompass Services – Downtown Outreach Workers
Santa Cruz Business Council
Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce
Santa Cruz Community Foundation
Santa Cruz Economic Recovery Council
Visit Santa Cruz
Think Local First
Good Times
Santa Cruz Local
Lookout Local 
Kaiser Permanente
Santa Cruz County Bank
  • Successfully lobbied for the extension of emergency Outdoor Dining Areas for Restaurants through Oct 2021
  • Advocated for Outdoor Dining areas nearby Cavalry Church Development
  • Restored cut hours of Downtown Outreach Workers to maintain 7-day coverage

As we lean into 2021, I'm looking forward to working with you on Downtown's recovery priorities, supporting marketing that helps Santa Cruz residents and visitors continually Discover Downtown, connecting you to each other, and building toward longer-term sustainability for this organization, and us all.

Want to get involved in recovery efforts? Take the ERC Survey! And join these upcoming conversations:

Tues Feb 2 | 8:30AM ~ Downtown Recovery Meeting:
Tues Feb 2 | 11:00AM ~ Downtown Recovery Meeting:

Please email me if you'd like to get more engaged in any of the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz's committees and activities, or want to share any of your ideas for downtown.

I'm wishing you all much resilience in the months to come as we await our vaccines. Thank you for the opportunity to serve in this important time.

Jorian Wilkins
Executive Director
Downtown Association of Santa Cruz
Sent to you by your good friends at the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz!