Local business owners aim to capitalize better on one of the neighborhood's signature events, encouraging visitors to Lilac Sunday to come spend money in JP.
Business owners discussed the idea Wednesday at the .
, owner of , put it this way, "If we were a small town in the middle of America [with an event like Lilac Sunday], you better believe we'd have a festival, a parade."
Lilac Sunday draws thousands of people to the each year. Brown said ideas about getting more of them to come to JP's business district included having "ambassadors" work the crowd, handing out maps to JP attractions. There could also be sidewalk paint with footprints directing visitors to local businesses.
Julie Warsowe, manager of visitor education for the Arboretum, said she would work with Brown to develop the ideas.
This year's Lilac Sunday will come long after local lilac blooms, already in progress, have faded. The festival will be held on Sunday, May 13. Warsowe explained that the date has to be set a year in advance, and can't be changed despite the early blooming of local lilacs.
There's some consolation for Lilac Sunday visitors, though. Lilac trees, which bloom later in the year, may well be showing their best stuff on May 13.
Other items from the Business and Professional Association meeting, which was held at Curtis Hall Community Center, included:
- A presentation by the state's Health Connector, a marketplace for health insurance. The independent state agency has a "Business Express" program for small businesses. The presenters highlighted an online tool that can tell business owners if their business qualifies for a "Wellness Track" that can give a 15 percent rebate on premiums.
- Jordana Montolio of Brigham & Women's Hospital told the group about Advanced Primary Care Associates, a relatively new primary care facility on South Huntington Street. The clinic is taking new patients, she said.
- On the agenda was discussion of plans by to make permanent their evening "pop-up" restaurant, , by adding a beer and wine license, extending their hours and opening an outdoor patio behind the restaurant. However, Fiore's owner Charlie Fiore was not present to go into details about the proposal. The bakery would continue to exist, with the space becoming a restaurant after 6 p.m., said Michael Reiskind, secretary of the association.
The JP Business and Professional Association meets at various locations around the neighborhood. Anyone with an interest in JP business is welcome.