While 2020 was no doubt one of the most difficult years in modern history, it would be amiss to not celebrate some of the good that came out of it. Here is our Top 10 of 2020 for Downtown Tacoma.
1: New Business Openings: We were blown away by the growth that came to Downtown Tacoma amid a global pandemic. Since March, we have seen 6 new businesses open, 2 businesses in the process, and 2 businesses that have expanded. This year we welcomed Little Radio, Campfire Coffee, Pho Tai, Black Label Vintage, Your Friend Caroline and Unique Bakery. We are awaiting Crisp Greens and The Rusty Goat and celebrated the growth of Channing Baby Co & The Studio.
2: Online Marketplace: With a holiday shopping season like non-other, we created the ShopDowntownTacoma.com marketplace to keep our small business supported and our community safe. We brought many of our downtown businesses to the fingertips of our local community. The online marketplace played an integral role in the Haul Crawl, our annual holiday shopping event.
3: Marriott Tacoma Downtown: The all-new Marriott Tacoma Downtown opened late this fall. The new Marriott is a 4-star hotel offering 22 stories of stylish décor, comfortable accommodations, and modern amenities. We are so excited to see this amazing addition to our downtown skyline. The new hotel is connected to our world-class convention center, this winning combo is sure to boost tourism for our downtown.
4: 12 Days of Haul Crawl: The Holiday Haul Crawl is our annual holiday shopping event for Downtown Tacoma. This year, with the launch of our ShopDowntownTacoma.com we made the Haul Crawl mostly virtual with the 12 Days of Haul Crawl. From December 1-12, we celebrate the season by promoting our downtown businesses, offering specials, and doing festive daily giveaway contests. We gave away over $2,400 in gift cards and had over 500 participants both online and in-person.
5: Restaurant Rally: Pierce County pulled out all the stops to support our local businesses this year. One of our favorite programs was the Pierce County Restaurant Rally. For two-weeks, patrons were asked to support full-service restaurants and received a 30% discount on their meal. In-return restaurants were given back 100% off their meal sales during this period. It was amazing to see our county and community rally around our restaurants.
6: Hero Meals: At the start of the pandemic, we launched a program called Hero Meals. For weeks we asked our local community to support our restaurants and front-line workers. For $25 one could buy 3 meals that would be donated to front-line workers. Hero Meals donated over 3,000 meals to area hospitals, grocery stores, first responders, and more. These meals financially supported 9 of our downtown restaurants.
7: Rapid Mural Program: With our local stay-at-home orders we say many downtown businesses temporarily close their doors. In the midst of that, we saw waves of civil unrest due to racial injustice across our country. With the combination of both of these things, many businesses decided to board up their store-fronts. The Downtown Tacoma Partnership teamed up with Spaceworks Tacoma to create the Rapid Mural Program. The program hired local artists to paint these store-fronts. These murals brought forth hope and beauty in a very trying time in the city, region, and nation.
8: Curbside Café: In response to restrictions around small businesses, the City of Tacoma created the Curbside Café + Marketplace program. The program granted temporary use of parking stalls directly in front of local businesses. This program allowed for the creation of outdoor seating/retail space to allow for businesses to meet COVID-19 restrictions. Many downtown restaurants took advantage of this program to create dynamic outdoor dining areas for their businesses.
9: Swell by Rotator Creative: “Swell” is a new art piece created by our friends at Rotator Creative. Swell was created to pay homage to the first 100 years of the Port of Tacoma. Swell was installed in Fireman’s Park in Downtown Tacoma. The piece stands like a monolith at 10 feet tall. Its size, color, and construction draw intrigue and interaction, something we gladly welcome to the downtown core. Our favorite part about Swell is the two giants pulling back the Murray Morgan bridge to expose the mountain.
10: 8th Street Eatery: Every Friday for one-month this summer we created the 8th Street Eatery on 8th Street between Court A and Pacific Avenue. Our goal was to create a dynamic outdoor seating area to allow for more tables and chairs for the area restaurants. It was great to see a project like this bring vibrancy into the middle of the street. A huge thank you to the City of Tacoma and Courthouse Square for their partnership in executing the 8th Street Eatery.
Reflecting on 2020, we are so motivated by the perseverance, growth, and innovation we saw from our businesses and community. We know that 2020 was a hard year for everyone, but we know the difficulties of this year are only going to make us stronger for years to come. Thank you to everyone who pressed on in the midst of it all, we will see you in 2021.
Happy New Year.