Sumner businesses can rely on each other

Word on the

Street

The start of a new year is like a clean slate. And now that last year is behind us, it seems our 2008 accomplishments set the bar for 2009. Whether it’s fundraising, new event development, downtown preservation efforts, or increasing membership, we are always looking to improve in each successive year. With all the new volunteers we have, I don’t anticipate that will be a problem this year.

If you turn on the TV or read the paper, you can’t miss the many negative predictions for 2009. I don’t think they’re wrong necessarily, it’s just that our downtown merchants and members as a whole are focusing on how they can be more strategic in their business practices and provide merchandise or services needed in our community and surrounding areas. Our association will be adding to their efforts including getting the word out that Sumner is a great place to spend some time.

As we start our new year activities, opening the mail is one of my favorite things to do. That may sound a little strange, but our membership pays its dues in January. While our board of directors work on a budgeted amount of dues expected, the money really isn’t what stands out for me. Almost 50 businesses have already remitted their membership payments, which aren’t due until the end of the month. This early and continued support of our association by so many of our Sumner businesses, many of which are not in the historic downtown core, is further proof that our business community supports all the activities we host and sponsor throughout the year.

Now you may think it’s nice that our local businesses support the downtown association. But our organization’s mission is to promote the revitalization and preservation of the downtown core as the heart of the Sumner community. We accomplish this in several ways. One of them is providing volunteer opportunities to give back to the community. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “why should I get involved? Does anybody really notice that I’m volunteering? What am I really accomplishing?”

OK, my first response is usually “because it’s fun!”. I honestly think that’s what attracts volunteers to our organization and events. And the friendships made are what keep them coming back year after year offering to become even more involved. But this week I’d like to point out that each January I am truly humbled as I open the mail and list those members who continue to support downtown. If you are reading this and are one of our beloved volunteers and have been wondering if you make a difference? The financial membership support I’m describing is where the rubber meets the road, the proof is in the pudding, or whatever other euphemism you prefer. The reason they support the Sumner Downtown Association is because they see the results of your efforts.

So to all our loyal members and great volunteers, thank you for making a difference in our community. You are part of the heart and soul of Sumner. It really is a great place to spend some time.