Downtown PKB reaches out to businesses

PARKERSBURG – Volunteers from Downtown PKB pounded the pavement Thursday in an effort to strengthen the lines of communication between the organization and downtown businesses and help each learn more about the other.

Seven volunteers and Downtown PKB director Carrie Nesselrode visited about three dozen businesses along Market Street and side streets, seeking information about the companies and the buildings in which they’re located, as well as how the organization can help them out. That data will then be compiled into a database.

“Our goal is to be better able to communicate with you and you with us,” Jim Strader, co-chairman of Downtown PKB’s Economic Restructuring Committee, told Nostalgia manager Michael Frum at his first stop of the morning.

“That’s exactly what we need,” Frum said.

Frum told Strader he was familiar with some of Downtown PKB’s activities, particularly last year’s Monster Mash Halloween event for kids.

“It went so well that I think this year could really be fantastic,” he said.

Strader told Frum that Downtown PKB could help the antique mall at 810 market St. get the word out about activities or special events there and offer training in areas like social media use. Frum said he thought the effort would be a positive way to get downtown businesses on the same page.

Strader’s next headed a few doors down to Michele Coleman Photography. Coleman said she recently missed out on submitting photos for an exhibit at the Parkersburg Art Center because she didn’t know about it until too late, so she was in favor of efforts to better get the word out about events.

“When everybody knows what’s going on, the events are going to be more well-attended,” she said.

Nesselrode said Downtown PKB will use the information it gathered to set up regular communications with businesses, at least monthly, so they can make plans to take advantage of other things going on downtown, whether that means staying open later or preparing for a street closure.

“It’s also just an opportunity to understand the businesses a little better,” she said.

Among Strader’s questions were what the building had been used for in the past and whether there was additional space available for lease on upper floors.

Nesselrode said it’s also good to have information about what is or was in individual buildings in the event that they become vacant. Those details are sometimes harder to obtain after the fact.

But the primary focus is on better serving and supporting businesses already there, something Coleman said she appreciates.

“I hate it when I see other businesses leave downtown,” she said. “I want it to flourish, to grow.”

Volunteers will also be reaching out to churches and other businesses in the downtown area by phone as well. Nesselrode said any businesses that were not contacted Thursday that want to be should call Downtown PKB at 304-865-0522.