As the name suggests, “small” business means the owner is, most likely, working. So, to see around 18 Hollister downtown business owners together at the Oct. 17 meeting was an unusual treat. Thanks to the Hollister City Manager, David Mirrione, and Development Services Director, Christine Hopper, the Downtown Business Forum was set up to listen/discuss parklets and signage. 

Since this was a rare occasion, many topics couldn’t help but come up. The energy was good as downtown business owners related to one another—especially having gone through the pandemic. Some storefronts have parklets and some do not.  We listened to the benefits of having the parklets, from economic contributions to creating a more walkable downtown. 

For the ones that do not have parklets, they voiced losing parking spaces, as well as being hidden behind the parklets.  

Ideas began floating on how businesses can help each other, like creating a map/directory to share with customers about neighboring businesses; signs could be placed on the parklets for the businesses that are hidden; and maybe visit the idea of shifting parklets that are not being used.  

Besides addressing many questions, Christine Hopper passed out “A-Frame Sign” information packets to help store owners become familiar with the existing ordinance that allows businesses to put out “A-Frame Signs.” David Mirrione shared new ABC regulations and parklet signage discussion points. In conclusion, he said that he would present the collective conversations to the city council at the Nov. 6 meeting, with recommendations. 

Downtown storefront owners have great hopes that signage can be posted on the parklets again (to help identify and promote businesses), and the structures can be simply decorated in time for the festive holidays.

Additionally important, businesses need to know (from the City of Hollister) what the future of the parklets will be. Business investments, along with employment needs, are decided three months in advance (at the very least). A prompt and definitive resolution is essential to business stability, empowerment and growth. We hope all these factors will be considered in the final decision making. 

Within the 1.5-hour scheduled meeting, we became more excited to keep collaborating for a better downtown. The consensus was that the downtown businesses would like the parklets to stay, and that all businesses should help in getting the word out about businesses without parklets—including businesses that are on the side streets.  

We agreed that more productive meetings will help generate positive impacts to our downtown/community.

(*On Oct. 22, Mr. Mirrione updated us that AB 1217 extended the COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization until 7/1/ 2026.)

Signed by the owners of the following downtown Hollister businesses: Mad Pursuit Brewing Company, Crave Wine Company, La Catrina Mexican Grill, The Baler Steakhouse, Buenos Dias Cafecito, Worth Saving – The ReStore, Irma’s Fashions, The Garden Shoppe & BarCountry Rose Cafe, Ohana Shave Ice, Heavenly Bakery, Bene Gifts, Bill’s Bullpen Baseball Cards & Comics, Las Micheladas Bar & Grill, Farmhouse Café, Only The Honorable Tattoo Shop, Paine’s Restaurant, Morrell and Company Real Estate, Elements Investment Properties  

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