I walk through the Elmwood commercial district every day, and over the past several years I’ve seen the changes and turnover in some of our retail stores. Our commercial areas are what make Berkeley neighborhoods unique; in today’s retail environment they are facing more challenges than ever. We’ve made great progress supporting small businesses, but it’s clear that we still have more work to do.
To help our small businesses, I have:
- Created the City Council Subcommittee on Small Businesses to better understand the obstacles they face and propose solutions to those problems. As a member of that subcommittee, I make sure that Elmwood merchants are heard and well represented.
- Allowed more a wider variety of shops to open in the Elmwood commercial district. Acknowledging that the retail sector is constantly changing, we need to be open to new forms of retail to minimize vacant storefronts.
- Helped the rapid re-opening of Baker and Commons to keep the corner at Russell and College vibrant.
- Worked with merchants and city staff to beautify our commercial district by organizing cleanup projects, removing old, blighted newstands, etc.