Downtown Concierges?

February 23, 2007 3 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Terry Lorrince of Downtown Vision Incorporated met with representatives of the various downtown activists/merchants on Tuesday to discuss an important and potential visionary change in one of the basic services offered by the Downtown Ambassadors of DVI.

The Downtown Concierge Project, as brainstormed and discussed at the Boomtown meeting was met with enthusiasm and relief by Vikky Wilkens, the owner of the UPS store on Hogan.

Equally pleased were Rachel, the perky and bright promotions manager for The Jacksonville Landing and Suzanne Marino from Pioneers 4 Jax, among others.

The idea is a pretty sound one: That the Downtown Ambassadors would additionally be equipped with cell phones whose numbers are listed in a publicity campaign with posters, ads, and stickers for visitors downtown to call.

The Ambassadors would be equipped with current entertainment and dining schedules for every club, restaurant and pub downtown. A person who wanted to hang out downtown could then call, get various schedules for the evening, as well as directions to both the establishments and nearby parking, in much the same manner as a hotel concierge does for the guests of upscale hotels.

This would be a great idea, since there isn't presently a forum that lists all of the downtown options, and with downtown's special needs and demands regarding parking and transit, having a friendly informed voice to help navigate the pointless one way streets would be a great service.

At the meeting, the representatives of Downtown's four main advocacy groups seemed to be up for a little more internal warmth and cooperation and embraced both the idea and its messengers.

Lorrince acknowledged that the cooperation between the groups had not been exactly breathtaking over the past year but explained: No experience with an actual body of Downtown merchants.

The others present conceded that when Downtown Vision was forming, and the organization was making decisions there simply wasn't a body of people even present downtown who might have a differing opinion, much less express needs that had been long unaddressed (such as the vicious parking laws)

But after a year of separation and sometimes estrangement, DVI is readdressing their mission in order to be more supportive of both the end user and the merchants.

The groups responded by volunteering to use private advertising dollars to include the Downtown Concierge contact numbers in their separate advertising, and each group volunteered to post the door stickers and posters in the commercial entrances.

It was a refreshing good step forward, and DVI is to be congratulated for making overtures toward insuring the success of the smaller merchants as well as the larger ones.

Please post comments and suggestions for what would make a truly useful Downtown Concierge Program.

Would our readers use such a program? What information would they find the most useful. Please give whatever input you might have, as all ideas are welcome.