NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 14, 2013

Move afoot to revitalize downtown

Businesses frustrated by lack of foot traffic

AMESBURY – Facing a bleak economic outlook, Amesbury’s downtown businesses are banding together to help raise awareness of all the downtown area has to offer in hopes of boosting foot traffic and business for everyone.

More than a dozen businesses have come together to form the Amesbury Downtown Business Association, which is in many ways a revival of the Amesbury First initiative the businesses started three years ago to serve a similar purpose.

“We were working to try and get attention called to the downtown businesses, bring people downtown and revitalize Main Street,” said Joanne Wimberly, who runs Bertram and Oliver Booksellers in Market Square. “There was a recognition that we hadn’t really done that for a few years and it was time to start that whole process again. So we thought what better time than right now?”

The Association’s members have already voted Kathi Gannett of Attentif Design as the organization’s first president, and one of the first main projects will be planning a big festival in the downtown area this coming fall.

But in the meantime, the Association’s focus will be on marketing, and one of the big changes downtown will be a proliferation of personalized wall flags, each with a different business’s name, a summary of what they do and a big “Amesbury First” logo in the center.

The flags are being designed by local artist Jon Mooers and will be modeled after a flag already hanging outside his downtown art gallery. The downtown businesses’ flags will be red, and there are plans to make different colored flags for the local historical societies and restaurants as well.

Mooers said he is excited about the initiative, but painted a much more dire picture of the situation most downtown businesses are in.

“The reality is that most of us are on the verge of closing,” Mooers said.

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