A Toast to Our Friends in the West Downtown Business Group
We’d like to take a moment to celebrate our friends in the West Downtown Business Group. It’s been an amazing collaboration, and we’re grateful for every step of the way.
Back in 2017, when the ART was just an ongoing construction project, our business neighbors around the corner of Central and San Pasquale, including Ripe, Vinaigrette, Garcia’s Kitchen, and Duran’s Central Pharmacy, got to talking. Things were looking bleak back then, with ART affecting many local businesses. We formed the West Downtown Business Group as a promise to support each other, and as a way to weather the ART storm.
Since the creation of our group of businesses, we’ve developed a recognized and polished brand identity (with little to no budget) — not only for ourselves, but also for the literal stretch of Central Avenue where we run our businesses. Huge thanks to the team at the branding firm Ripe Inc. for making that — and so much else! — happen.
Before we became the West Downtown Business Group, our area on Central was known by many names. We eventually decided on “West Downtown,” and then we convinced the City of Albuquerque to change the name of the ART station that serves our neighborhood to West Downtown. They also agreed to fund the West Downtown banners that line Central from 10th to San Pasquale.
West Downtown Wednesdays were a happy offshoot of this activity, and you can still enjoy happy hour drink specials at Amore’s West Downtown location every Wednesday. Once a week, members of the West Downtown Business Group offered special discounted items or extended happy hours. We’re always working together to provide customers with special offers, in thanks for their patronage.
Working with Each Other, for Each Other
As a result of our efforts, people see us, accurately, as a tight-knit group of businesses that champion and support each other in ways that are positive and pro-Albuquerque. Other neighborhoods now contact us at the West Downtown Business Group with questions about how to make improvements and start initiatives in their own areas.
Most important to us is elevating our neighborhood. Collectively, we launched a big project to add Central Ave. Bike Cop patrols to the area, an idea that gained support among business owners along the entire nine-mile ART-designated section of Route 66. The city installed a much-needed trash can at the Laguna bus stop on the condition that the West Downtown group take responsibility to empty and maintain it (which we do), and our members organized a meet-up twice a month to pick up trash. Many other areas have started their own clean-up meet-ups since we started!
Our work together — conducted in the spirit of city pride, with a One Albuquerque attitude — has generated good will throughout our community and at city hall. We are humbled to be a part of such an effort.
Giving Back, Looking Ahead
Our connection to each other fuels our drive to give back. Over the last few years, West Downtown has worked with a variety of community outreach programs. In 2017, in collaboration with the wonderful local nonprofit New Day Youth & Family Services, we raised $25,000 for homeless and at-risk youth during the peak of ART construction.
Then in 2018, we challenged other supporters to match what we raised if we reached $25,000 again. We did, and with generous matching, we were able to raise $100,000 total that year.
Last but far from least, the WestDown group has done a phenomenal job of supporting Reginald Chavez Elementary School through donations and volunteering. As one example of many, Aveda brought the kids toys and clothing — including much-needed warm jackets — before the holidays and even offered services to the teachers as a gift.
Reginald Chavez continues to need our help. Many students transfer in from high-risk neighborhoods; others face homelessness. Whatever you can do to support them would make a true, immediate difference in their lives.
Thank You, Team!
Let’s raise a glass to all of the amazing businesses in the West Downtown Business Group:
Albuquerque Little Theater
Aveda Institute NM
Boxing Bear Brewing
The Dog House
Duran’s Central Pharmacy
The Feel Good
Graced by Grit
Manzano Day School
Mullen Heller Architects
Southwest Capital Bank
Stay True Barber
St John’s Thrift Shop
Together, we have built a community that’s proof of what can be achieved when business owners come together to work for the greater good.
Onward into a bright future! ?