Magnolia Park merchants met Wednesday evening, January 8, to discuss ideas for the continued transformation of the celebrated shopping and dining district and the formation of the Magnolia Park Merchants Association. About 50 shop owners from the area of Magnolia Blvd. and Hollywood Way convened at local cafe Romancing the Bean to discuss their concerns and thoughts for growing the eclectic area’s visibility and offerings.
Magnolia Park merchants and agenda speakers gather to talk about plans for the coming year. (Photo By Ross Benson & Lisa Paredes)
Led by Ashley Erikson, who does media relations, social media, advertising and event coordinating for Magnolia Park, the meeting touched on several ideas, including beautifying the walking experience by redoing planters and tree bases, hanging ‘Magnolia Park’ banners along the streets and getting signs put up by the city designating the area’s borders, among other topics. Also known as “Miss Magnolia Park”, Erikson and local real estate agent Bryce DeVincenzi, also known as “Mr. Magnolia Park,” engaged all the attendees, drawing out comments and questions from the shop owners.
Several themed ideas for upcoming Ladies Night Out events, held on the last Friday of every month, were also discussed. Get ready for a scavenger hunt, car show, ‘Taste of Magnolia Park’, summer fun fair and an art walk in the coming months. A possible district-wide Second Saturdays monthly event is also being discussed as another option for people to come out and enjoy the area’s festive spirit. Towns Burr Gallery debuts the Second Saturdays event January 11 at their art gallery on Magnolia Boulevard, with live music and small bites.
Representatives from Belly Card showed merchants how the company’s universal and customizable reward card and app would work in the area and throughout the country. Burbank Recycling Specialist Ferris Kawar talked about recycling bins and services and launching Magnolia Park as a “green district” in the city.
Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn talks with Magnolia Park shop owners as Councilmember Bob Frutos looks on. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Sgt. Darin Ryburn discussed theft prevention and scams affecting business owners and handed out informational packets to the group. Ross Benson from myBurbank.com demonstrated the recently-launched Magnolia Park page on the locally-focused website. Council member Bob Frutos stopped by to hear merchants’ concerns and talk about his support of the newly-formed Association and his continued enjoyment of the shopping and eating area. He also complimented the group on the recent success of the Holiday in the Park event held in November 2013.
A few years ago, property owners in the district paid a small tax that funded a P-BID (property-based business improvement district), which paid for city services, media relations and special events throughout the year. However, the majority of property owners voted against continuing the P-BID at the end of 2011, and since 2012, the area’s merchants have been on their own. Basically, most city services like cleaning the sidewalks and closing the streets for big events disappeared. While the area struggled during 2012 with major loss of foot traffic, revenue and special events, the merchants have banded together and turned the monthly Ladies Night Out events into a major draw for the area during 2013.
New City Manager Mark Scott and Councilmember Frutos visited with merchants in late 2013 and encouraged the group of just a few merchants at that time to create an association and communicate with the City Council about the area’s needs and ideas. The buzz that has been created by the monthly final Friday events has re-vitalized the area and hundreds of people visit regularly throughout the week. New stores and eateries continue to open, and Magnolia Park has become a desirable destination to shop and hang out.
Shop owners in the Magnolia Park area of Hollywood Way and Magnolia Blvd. interested in joining the Magnolia Park Merchants Association should contact Erikson, who will also serve as the Association President, via email at email@example.com or at 818-632-6888. The association plans to continue to grow Magnolia Park and provide funding for more events and services from which the entire district can benefit.
Sgt. Ryburn talks about scams and theft prevention with Magnolia Park merchants. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)