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Town looks to boost business

Local leaders discuss ways to benefit downtown
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Loomis town and business leaders recently put their heads together to discuss ways to benefit the downtown. Linda Lawrence, owner and manager of the Ugly Mug Café on Taylor Road, said they can start by putting signage on the freeway indicating what services are available in town. Linda and her husband, Michael, have invested in remodeling their downtown restaurant and are now open three nights a week for dinner. For supper, they serve homestyle “comfort food” such as meatloaf, pork chops, and some of their breakfasts items. Pam Chinn, owner operator of Loomis Beauty Salon on Taylor Road doesn’t think the town should be promoting businesses. “I have to promote my own business,” Chinn said. Jim Hendricks owns and operates Loomis Family Barbershop, also on Taylor Road, and said he doesn’t think the town can do much to really help his business. “You’ve either got your business going or you don’t,” Hendricks said. Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce executive board members, town staff and elected officials participated in a January workshop that focused on ways the entities can work together to promote downtown Loomis. They discussed the outcome of the $5,000 marketing campaign for the downtown paid for by the town. They also discussed other opportunities for the town and chamber partnerships. Mayor Gary Liss called it a “collaborative process between the town and chamber.” Chamber president Bob Ferreira, who owns an insurance agency, said the chamber board met last week and decided to work with the town on continuing the I Love Loomis campaign, an eat-local campaign, and to expand signage. He said they also plan to help create member awareness of town programs such as business loans. “We wanted to pursue items that are of interest to the membership. We’re setting up sub-committees to work on each item. They can drive the results,” Ferreira said. In 2009, the town started a business loan program. It also put $5,000 into the I Love Loomis marketing campaign to start a Web site for the downtown businesses. Charlotte Langston, owner of Wild Chicken Coffee, and Peter Oakes, owner of Pacific Crest Media, created the campaign. “It stirred up awareness of town council putting in an effort downtown,” Reynolds said. Walt Scherer said the council and chamber need to meet again to discuss including funds in the town’s 2010-2011 budget, which begins on July 1. He said the money would be used for promoting the downtown and “shed to shed” on Taylor Road from High-Hand to the Blue Goose fruit sheds. “It’s good to see the council and chamber working together,” said Ferreira.