Progress report on the proposed reactivation of the long-dormant group

RITA A. LEONARD - Meet the GBBA Steering Committee: From left, Jesse Layton, Melaney Dittler, and Aliza Tuttle. The recent attempt to reactivate the long-dormant Greater Brooklyn Business Association led to a second organizational meeting on Friday, December 2, at "Know Thy Food" cooperative grocery on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.

Representatives from two dozen businesses gathered to network and share ideas for promoting the neighborhood and build business visibility. The GBBA steering committee presented plans for 2017, with background support from Heather Hoell from Venture Portland. The next GBBA meeting is scheduled for January 6th, 8-9 am, at the new Pok Pok Restaurant, 3120 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.

Brooklyn resident and Windermere Real Estate Agent Melaney Dittler announced, "We mailed notices to over 500 area businesses inviting them to share in our goals. We have been invited to the May meeting of the Brooklyn Action Corps (BAC) for an event that showcases area businesses and offers promotions. At that time we'll sign up GBBA members, and begin plans for a summer promotional event."

During the social time, Jacobsen Valentine, Executive Director of "Feed the Mass" (which works out of Know Thy Food) announced plans for a Spring Break Health Fair, "Health-a-Palooza".

"We're ramping up our ability to work with the community, offering classes on nutrition, health care and cooking," he said.

Renee Neely from "Hip Chicks Do Wine" near Holgate Boulevard revealed plans for a December Holiday Market and remarked, "This is our eighth year holding a food drive for Esther's Pantry." John Liesman, resident manager of Safe Journey Dog Boarding, advised, "This year we're proud to be part of the KGW-TV Great Toy Drive. On Toy Day Fridays, when you donate a quality Christmas toy, you receive a complimentary day of dog care."

Aliza Tuttle of the co-op grocery store provided coffee and pastries for the group, and added that a speaker is planned for the next GBBA meeting. Heather Hoell described several local business promotions that helped highlight small businesses. "Seventy percent of money spent in a local business stays in the community," she observed. "A business event such as Passports, Street Fairs, or Business Tours helps reveal neighborhood resources to the community, and helps businesses promote each other."

Dittler proposed a "Punch Card" event for local businesses, or a party for the GBBA and BAC, next summer. Several folks at the meeting suggested formation of a GBBA newsletter, brochure, or directory, to help showcase local businesses. A window-cling logo for the GBBA was also proposed. Dittler advised that a directory would also be helpful to include in a "Welcome Bag" for new residents. The meeting provided an open forum for area businesses, as well as safety and parking issues.

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