Both the Newcastle Business District & Historic Chatham Business District of the DowntownS Miramichi Network has had a busy, and might I add successful summer. I’ve assumed the role of General Manger temporarily trying to fill the extremely huge shoes of the existing GM Stephanie King who is away on maternity leave. It’s been a challenging yet fun and rewarding shift in my career.
The DowntownS Miramichi Network is made up of two business districts: The Newcastle Business District, and the Historic Chatham Business District, serving both sides of the Miramichi respectively. In total there are over 100 members representing all types of retail and service based businesses. Restaurants, travel agencies, banks, hotels and pharmacies for example, can be found in both of our DowntownS Business Districts. Each district is also represented by a Board of Directors who meets once a month to discuss issues and plan events for the DowntownS. The Board of Directors for HCBD (Historic Chatham Business District) is made consists of 11 members with the NBD (Newcastle Business District) being made up of 15 members of their district. My role as acting General Manager, to name a few duties, sees me overseeing the daily operations of both offices, attending/scheduling meetings, working on events and special projects and promoting the DowntownS in a positive way.
As I stroll across the park in Newcastle or down Water Street I can’t help but hum the theme song from the “King of Kensington”. Here I am; an outsider an “upriver lad” so to speak working towards all things “downtown” in terms of promotion and positivity. Working closely with the members of both DowntownS association has made this task a lot easier. There is a sense of pride in the atmosphere of these quaint districts; driven primarily by the hard work and dedication of the shop owners who have set up their business in DowntownS Miramichi.
In the past couple months, we’ve accomplished many tasks working together in the promotion of our downtown. Hanging baskets and banners decorate Water Street, the new Relish Gourmet Burgers restaurant has opened to rave reviews, both business districts worked collectively on a float for the Canada Day Parade, and events like our open air market, classic car cruises, MAC Rally of Hope and Dragon Boat Festival dance were very successful. These are but a few of the highlights of the summer in DowntownS Miramichi.
In order to work effectively and efficiently to move forward, you need the support of a good team. I am fortunate to work and interact with a supportive, creative, dedicated group of members on a daily basis. These hardworking individuals have expressed and interest and discovered the potential of working in a downtown setting. A wide range of retail and services can be found in each of DowntownS Miramichi Business Districts making it the ideal place to shop, eat and work. The geography of our city sees us with a “downtown” on both sides of the Mighty Miramichi. A unique advantage; enabling visitors and locals an opportunity to explore everything that both DowntownS Business Districts has to offer. In terms of attracting new business, there are many prime retail spaces available for rent in both of the DowntownS at very affordable rates. We encourage and welcome any new business to consider setting up and operating in either of our DowntownS Districts. Diversification in terms of products/ services offered is essential to the growth of any business sector. With the recent change in industry in Miramichi, the timing and need for an entrepreneurial boom couldn’t be better. DowntownS Miramichi, its shop owners and customers alike could benefit immensely from any new business to the BIA’s (Business Improvement Area).
The economic landscape of our region has changed somewhat with the decline in the forestry based sector. Mill closures in the recent years have undoubtedly affected the bottom line of many merchants in our DowntownS and the region abroad. However we resilient Miramichiers don’t go down with out a fight and local consumers see the benefits of shopping local and supporting the business of our DowntownS Business Districts. It’s an investment in our economy, our community and the long term sustainability of our region. The future of our local economy depends greatly on the entrepreneurs of our DowntownS and beyond and the support of such from us the consumers.
In my few weeks here as General Manager, I have felt the sense of pride in our community and the DowntownS. The friendliness, strong work ethic and genuine “good folks” in which our region is know for, is evident in spades in the shops and businesses of DowntownS Miramichi where we shop, eat, work and play. It’s OUR DowntownS Miramichi.
It’s 10:30 on a sunny Thursday. After a coffee on the square and meeting in Newcastle to have a couple of cheques signed, I’ve made my way to my second office on Water Street. On my way from the bank, I catch a glimpse of Paul McGraw on the other side walk; heading in the opposite direction. We give each other the full arm length “hows she goin’” wave. We’re both on the run but know by weeks end we’ll be meeting at some point to discuss beautification or some other topic of interest to the BIA. I skip across the street to Hoagie’s for that second cup of java to get me through the morning. I hear “Where ya goin’ Hallihan?” and turn to see the smiling face of Bill Young. I respond that I’m in a bit of a rush, but still need a break! “Well yer doin’ a great job” he says and carries on with his work. I grab a coffee and decide to sit at the sidewalk table for a minute. As I look down Water Street, I think about what Bill just said. I pause and reflect and repeat in my head….”DowntownS Miramichi….WE’RE doin’ a great job”.