Downtown San Jose’s small businesses have a new stepping stone to get back on their feet as the region gradually eases the pandemic-related shutdown.
Last week, District 3 Councilman Raul Peralez convened the inaugural meeting of the Greater Downtown San Jose Economic Recovery Task Force, which was formed as a resource for businesses located in and around the heart of the city.
“I have seen firsthand the economic struggles that our community is experiencing and we need to be proactive and inclusive in figuring out how to get the heart of San Jose thriving once again,” Peralez said in a statement announcing the coalition.
The team’s mission statement—ratified on May 20 during its first-ever meeting—is “to inclusively put forth solutions that will safely revitalize the Greater Downtown San Jose area by supporting the recovery of businesses and community organizations while fostering interest and confidence in public life in a COVID-19 impacted world.”
So while the dozens and hundreds of small businesses throughout downtown dip their toes into the sea of an unknown economic future, Peralez’s hopes the task force will save as many as possible from drowning.
The task force will host eight 90-minute meetings throughout June.
“Downtown San Jose’s network of public facing small businesses, venues and arts organizations have taken a big hit the past couple of months,” Brendan Rawson, executive director of San Jose Jazz, said in a statement. “I do believe, however, that coming together the way we have is already generating great ideas about how we can safely welcome employees and patrons back and actually create some new ways to continue building a vibrant and interesting downtown.”
Two representatives for each of the five categories of representation within the task force come from different sectors of downtown, including arts and special events, food and beverage, general retail and services, personal care and everything else. Restaurateurs, city employees, fitness professionals and music and culture venue operators are among the sitting representatives and committee members.
Rawson, along with Haberdasher owner Cache Bouren, San Jose Taiko’s Wisa Uemura, WESTCA Gym’s Meaghan Karabatsos and Neu2U Thrift Boutique and Urban Kiosk proprietor Chris Patterson-Simmons have all been nominated as potential co-chair members of task force subcommittees. Two chairs and two alternates will be elected by a formal vote via email by the next meeting.
Peralez said he wanted members to recruit business owners from their respective neighborhoods to avoid having the group made up of political appointees.
“I am honored to be included in a group of many great businesses and community leaders who care very deeply for this city,” Adega and Pastelaria Adega co-owner Fernanda Carreira said. “I expect that we will come together and make a comprehensive plan to successfully bring our businesses back to a vibrant, confident and safe environment which will ensure our community a much welcomed return.”
The next meeting of the Greater Downtown San Jose Economic Recovery Task Force takes place from 1 to 2:30pm on Wednesday. Click here for more info about the group.