By showcasing the friendly personality of downtown business owners and highlighting the experiences available within the walls of downtown businesses, the partnership aims to drive home the message that downtown is open and looking forward to guests visiting.
"Downtown Akron has more than 50 food and drink experiences, most of which are independently owned," said Suzie Graham, Downtown Akron Partnership president and CEO. "The neighborhood also features anchor arts, entertainment and cultural institutions like the Akron Civic Theatre and Akron Art Museum along with smaller gems like The Nightlight, Great Escape Room, Northside Speakeasy, Zeber-Martell Studio, BLU Jazz+ and Jilly's Music Room. They make up the character of downtown and are a critical part of the neighborhood fabric. We are aiming to remind people of their relationship with these small businesses, or create new ones, to help ensure that they are still here when the orange barrels are gone."
Engagement between visitors, residents, employees and business owners is the goal of the campaign. Akron's charm is in the space between approachable, friendly small-town relationships amid big-city amenities. While the video serves to bring awareness to the neighborhood, another level of the campaign serves to celebrate those who "walk the walk" by celebrating random pedestrians who make the downtown trek with a pair of gloves that are imprinted with the message, "Hi."
"Downtown Akron is emerging as a vibrant center for people to live, connect and have fun. It has a lot to offer both residents and visitors; we want to showcase and celebrate it as a welcoming place for all," said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.
To help encourage visitors to experience the diverse and local offerings downtown, the city is offering free two-hour parking in several areas. Designated free zones include the State Street Deck, the Buchtel Lot, and street parking south of Cedar Street - including a portion of the lot in front of Spaghetti Warehouse.