Montrose Shopping Park Assn. board continues to reinvigorate itself with latest election

Two shop owners with keen eyes for marketing are set to take seats on the board of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.

The new members -- It Takes a Village…Kids owner Gigi Garcia and Grayson’s Tune Town owner Ken Grayson -- said they plan to focus on marketing businesses in the shopping park during their terms after the 104 ballots were counted Thursday.

How to increase business for the roughly 185 shops in the business improvement district along Honolulu Avenue has long been a predicament for for years. Using assessments collected by the city and events revenues, the association hosts several promotional events throughout the year.

Although thousands of people attend the events, such as a weekly farmer’s market and a holiday tree lighting, the crowds don’t always translate to income for local shops, said Grayson, the current president.

“We help get them in the habit to come to town,” Grayson said. “Now how can we get them to do more business when they come to town? That’s a real challenge.”

The association’s board has been revitalized in the past year with new faces coming on board. The new blood came after shopping park members lashed out at the board in 2011 following a year-long police investigation into the group’s Sunday Harvest Market.

The investigation led to the indictment of former Councilman John Drayman for allegedly embezzling more than $304,000 from the market over a seven-year period.

Drayman has maintained his innocence.

The suffering market once put a drain on the shopping park’s budget, but this year the board announced that for 2013 its budget will be roughly $525,000 -- its biggest ever -- mostly due to a market rebound and a centennial celebration planned for February.
Grayson has served his most recent term for about 1 1/2 year, but a decade ago, he served for 13 years.

The park has changed significantly since then, he said. And now with more money and events running smoothly, the next step is to more directly advertise shops in town, he said.

Garcia said she wants to try cooperative marketing and social networking to boost store incomes.

“I’m excited to serve,” she said.

-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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