A Look Back at….The 12 Days of Downtown 2021
December 28, 2021
To promote Downtown businesses during the holidays, as well as highlight collaborative work that taken place over the past 12-18 months, Viva Fall River ran a daily social media feature called 12 Days of Downtown. The series, which started on Monday, December 13th and ended on Christmas Eve, spotlighted holiday specials and services from twelve (12) South Main area businesses: Rob Roy Academy, TJ’s Music, Potter’s Printing, Pacheco’s Furniture, 19 Prime Tapas, Koahs Beauty Supply, New England Home Made Donuts, Alexandra’s Boutique/Alexandra’s Too, Mystic Vibez, Drewbi’s Salon, Aura Boutique, and Craftyish Shop.
Each post also revealed how the business has interacted with Viva Fall River and the Downtown revitalization efforts spurred and supported by MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative, or TDI. This program, focused on Gateway Cities, works to concentrate economic development activities, resources, and investments within designated neighborhood areas, known as “TDI Districts,” to create a critical mass of activity that inspires investments by residents, entrepreneurs, and businesses, as well as additional private development. Fall River’s TDI District is centered on South Main Street and Viva Fall River is primed to be the successor to sustain revitalization efforts not only in the District, but city-wide, starting when the program term ends in mid-2022.
Scroll through and click to learn more about these businesses.
Rob Roy Academy is a strong partner in Viva Fall River’s Downtown initiative and brings many new faces to the area with students that come from all over the South Coast. The school is an important part of the Downtown business community; they actually came to Viva Fall River with the idea of a District-wide job fair which we did in mid-October with the Open Door Job Fair. A strong, connected business community is essential to a thriving Downtown and we appreciate Rob Roy for being a leader in this effort!
TJ’s Music is an ever-expanding business that brings a diverse and creative mix of people to the District every day. TJ’s was the recipient of a TDI Local grant during our Covid-emergency funding round, money that was used to keep staff employed during the early days of the pandemic closures and restrictions. TJ’s Music and the Fall River Arts Academy contribute so much to our efforts to create a vibrant, thriving downtown and we look forward to the completion of a new in-house performance space for their talented students!
Potter’s Printing is invested in the Fall River Community. They have sponsored events such as Winterbridge and We HeART Fall River and are a strong community partner that adds value to the Downtown business landscape. When you have local printing needs, consider Potter’s!
Pacheco’s Furniture has also participated in our free Google My Business Page tune-up program, which connects businesses with an expert technician who optimizes their Google business page for increased SEO and local search reach (translation- more customers!) We look forward to continuing to work with the wonderful owners of Pacheco’s to grow their business!
19 Prime Tapas is a culinary treasure in the Downtown area and we’re happy to have supported them earlier in the year with a tune-up of their Google My Business page as well as a grant award through our Get Connected program. The funding was partially utilized to contract the web & media team at Virtual Admin Solutions to help enhance their social media presence.19 Prime Tapas also participated in our Winterbridge Window Design Contest and is a key supporter of Viva Fall River and the Downtown business community.
Big changes are coming to Koah’s in 2022, with some help from our “makeover” program, an extension of our Get Connected grant program.That program taught us the depth of the need in the small business community and why it’s important to have a hands-on and local support team to guide time- and resource-strapped small business owners through the process of making upgrades. Focusing on fewer businesses with greater investment, the Makeover Program assists businesses with physical space improvements and provides targeted operational guidance through a team of local service providers who work together for the best possible outcome. Stay tuned to our social media for updates AND a grand re-opening in the future!
NEHD has also received funding from our emergency grant program, as well as our Get Connected program, which helped them to integrate their POS and online ordering system for greater efficiency. Look out in the spring for some outdoor seating where you can enjoy some delicious ICE CREAM (oh, did we forget to mention that NEHD sells 24 flavors of delicious ice cream- year round?)
Alexandra’s owners, Fatima Rodrigues, Joel Benson, and Zach Leone, are always willing to lend a hand when we’re in need of volunteers or a word of advice or assistance to fellow business owners in the district. They are a member of the TDI Partnership and continue to help us create a sense of community downtown. We’ve also been thrilled to partner with them on two bridal pop-up events featuring local wedding service vendors, one in February of 2020 and the other this past September. Giving back – the spirit of Christmas is alive all year round at Alexandra’s!
They have received funding through our Get Connected grant program, designed to help businesses with technical assistance. In this case, Mystic Vibez is working with a social media consultant to enhance their online engagement and reach new audiences that can potentially become new customers! They are working on adding to their e-commerce as well to add a new revenue stream via online sales.
Located in Downtown’s iconic Cherry&Webb building, Drewbi’s Salon was the recipient of a TDI Local grant during our Covid-emergency funding round, funds that were used to keep the business in operation and staff employed during the early days of the pandemic closures and restrictions. In our 2nd round of funding, Drewbi’s was applied for an received an award that was put toward a rebranding and new website to match their sleek, sophisticated look – inside and online! Check out the work from Alluring Media Co. (click to be taken to the website.)
Aura Boutique was one of the 18 businesses that took part in our Light Up Downtown initiative, letting us festoon their already-beautiful window display with festive lights in a show of solidarity and Christmas cheer with their fellow Downtown business owners. Aura has been at the S Main location for 10 years, and we look forward to working with them this year to make sure they are successful for ANOTHER 10 years! The pandemic changed the way people shopped, so more than ever, Aura’s sales are coming from Instagram but nothing compares to the warm atmosphere and wonderful customer service provided in the boutique by owner Amanda Duarte. Stop in and see her and cross those last people off your list. It’s time to celebrate!
Craftyish received a grant award through our Get Connected Program and put the funds to good use, reinvesting them back into the business with upgrades to equipment needed to run their businesses more efficiently. The Get Connected program was intended to get Downtown businesses to refer neighboring businesses to apply for the program and connect with one another. The program did just that — it connected Craftyish and Viva Fall River, and from that the Fall River Farmers and Artisans Market was created! Dates for the 2022 season will be announced soon but we’ll be back on Old Second Street every other Sunday to feature more local artisans, creators, and musicians and provide a place for the Fall River Community to come out and connect with one another!