Submitted by Olympia Downtown Alliance
The Olympia Downtown Alliance held its 23rd Annual Meeting on Monday, January 25, 2021, virtually.
The audience heard from Alliance Board President Todd Monohon of Olympic Rentals, Alliance Executive Director, Todd Cutts and Cheryl Selby, City of Olympia Mayor. The evening included a review of 2020 and a look forward to 2021’s program of work.
Todd Cutts remarked, “Over the past year, we were inspired by the creativity and grit our businesses employed to survive and, in some cases, thrive.” Cutts outlined the Alliance’s efforts to assist Downtown in 2020, including launching the WhyIGoDowntown.com business directory in partnership with the City of Olympia to keep the community informed about shifts in retail and restaurant operations. The Alliance played an advocacy role in a campaign that led the City to pressure-washed Downtown sidewalks and improved maintenance of Downtown landscaping. The Alliance also collaborated with the City and community partners to light up and decorate Downtown during the holiday season. The Recovery and Reopening Grant program, administered by the Alliance, provided grants to 27 stakeholders for physical improvements to such as façade repairs, paint, and additional lighting.
During the meeting, the Alliance honored four community members with awards.
The Alliance awarded the 2020 Design Award to Joe Seymour for his work designing the salmon artwork installation on the exterior of Views on 5th. The design award was created to celebrate great design downtown and recognizing all the ways quality design contributes to Downtown. Seymour has been a professional artist since 2006 and comes from a blended tribal background. He is Squaxin Island on his father’s side, and Pueblo Acoma, a tribe in New Mexico, on his mother’s side. Seymour is the recipient of several competitive grant programs, including a Smithsonian grant. Erica Cooper presented this award.
The Alliance awarded the 2020 Business of the Year Award to Encore Chocolates & Teas and owners Dean and Carla Jones. During the pandemic, Dean and Carla were champions for the downtown business community and innovative in starting curbside delivery, transitioning to online shopping and supporting other businesses during this challenging time. “The entire community is grateful for their optimism and support during a trying time,” said Dave Wasson of Batdorf & Bronson.
Finally, the Alliance awarded the 2020 Person of the Year Award to Mark Moore, Clean Team Supervisor of the City of Olympia. Matt DeBord received the 2019 Person of the Year Award and presented the 2020 award to Mark last night. Matt said, “Mark has been a bright light for downtown Olympia during a challenging year. Mark’s leadership is defined by his positive attitude, responsiveness and friendly service. Mark has helped build a strong partnership for the City of Olympia with downtown business owners.”