A local group is urging residents to explore the Corona del Mar village, by eating, shopping and visiting the neighborhood stores.
A partnership between the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce and the CdM Business Improvement District has created the “Explore CdM” Shop Local campaign.
It’s a grassroots effort to strengthen the relationship between local merchants and residents, said CdM Chamber of Commerce President Linda Leonhard.
“We thought we’d get back to what makes Corona del Mar charming and what’s important to the village,” Leonhard said. “Inspire the residents to support local merchants”
Corona del Mar has long been known for its walking atmosphere and connection between the business and residential areas, a postcard promoting the effort explains.
“The unique character of the village is really what we’re trying to drive home,” Leonhard added.
It’s a collaborative effort to support the CdM business environment and promote the unique variety of shopping, dining and business services.
The idea for the campaign came up as a way to help market the CdM business and reconnect the residents, Leonhard explained. It’s aimed at locals, she added.
They had multiple meetings with merchants last year, Leonhard explained. Feedback from the meetings revealed that longtime business owners felt that many residents were choosing malls and online over local shops.
Residents choose to live in Corona del Mar because they love the village atmosphere and that it’s a “walking” community, she said. The program is meant to encourage them to choose to shop there as well.
The campaign emphasizes several key points: Location – walk and shop just steps away from home; personal, neighborly and distinctive service; support businesses that shape the village character; staying “offline” and “buy it where you try it”; strengthen the local economy; and continue to “love your local” and build the community.
A lot of time, effort and funds have gone into the project.
“We have a marketing budget that we put right back into the community,” Leonhard said.
They have invested about $25,000 to $30,000 into this program alone, including the websites updates, she confirmed.
The campaign includes direct mailing postcards, advertising in local newspapers [Editor’s note: Ads for the campaign have been printed in the Indy], digital marketing, and revamping the websites. It also includes the flagpole banners, which they had to work with the city in order to allow them to stay up year-round. They also encouraged sidewalk sales and block parties.
Next will be getting “shoes in the shops” during the Christmas Walk.
Another part of the effort to help the business district is an upcoming parking study by the BID. While they have conducted parking studies in the past, this will be a more modernized study, Leonhard explained.
The study will look into mobility of the village, how many people are walking, biking, “ubering,” etc., she added. It’s meant to help “relieve the parking hardships for businesses” in the area, Leonhard said.
It should be completed by the end of the year.
Chamber and BID officials will review the campaign and consider options for 2018. They may add components to the Explore CdM effort or come up with something new, Leonhard said.