Just in time for the reopening of parts of 4th Street after major construction, downtown is receiving a special visitor this week to help downtown retailers put their best face forward.
Jaime Izurieta is an urban planner from Latin America who has become an expert in working with small businesses to develop their storefronts to authentically represent their businesses. Jaime's approach, which he calls Storefront Mastery, goes way deeper than just design and color palettes, he talks to business owners about why they got into business in the first place and the love they have for their customers and to represent their hometown's best offerings.
As the construction rails came down around 4th Street this week, Jaime walked the corridor with folks from Santa Ana Business Council and Downtown Inc to meet one on one with businesses and to evaluate and reimagine how their storefronts could welcome customers back downtown.
Business owners have been incredibly receptive to the feedback from Jaime, who is clearly a storefront savant. They either have their own creative ideas or were engaged in exploratory discussion about what was working, what could be improved and always lots of reality checks as time and money were refactored in.
Many businesses are feeling they have pivoted so many times in the last few years, that they appreciated this prompt to reconnect with the soul of their business and how they relate to their customers. It's been recentering to explore with local business owners why they got into business, what they love about it and why they do what they do everyday.
Jaime and the businesses are able to achieve an incredible discourse. It can be challenging to admit you need help, or something's not working, or even to share a dream. With Jaime and the businesses, the discomfort melted away and people have been able to share an exciting new vision for tomorrow's 4th Street.
We look forward to continuing to work on implementing these ideas and improving the walkability, experiences and places offered downtown.
Story and Photos by Ryan Smolar
New, dispatches and updates from Downtown Santa Ana