A development from Fairfield Residential is the largest project currently disrupting Fenton Village. Photo by Mike Diegel.
An ongoing marketing campaign is underway to raise awareness of the number and variety of businesses in Fenton Village, many of whom are being affected by projects in the area.
“Several recent developments in Fenton Village have brought a lot of problems for neighborhood businesses,” said Pete Tan, marketing specialist and owner of Silver Spring Inc., who created and manages the campaign on behalf of Fenton Village Inc., the nonprofit in the area that has put on a number of promotions such as Taste the World in Fenton Village.
“There’s been ongoing efforts throughout the years to activate the neighborhood [and] bolster community events to bring more business to these local businesses, “ Tan said, “but they have not necessarily been the most successful in the face of a lot of different new developments.”
Current major challenges facing the area include work on utility lines, some of which is in preparation for the Purple Line, and a large mixed-use construction project from Fairfield Residential between Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Thayer and Georgia avenues, with a loss of parking, including what was a county parking lot that occupied the afore-mentioned site.
In addition, the top two floors of a county lot off of Fenton near Sligo Avenue have been closed, again reducing the neighborhood’s available parking.
“All of these challenges kind of present a neighborhood that’s not necessarily conducive to having a lot of people walk around or find the parking that they need in order to do some quick shopping, and the businesses themselves have been reporting substantial losses in revenue,” Tan said.
The campaign includes flyers that 13 area businesses signed on to, offering 20 percent discounts to local residents.
“The offer was made to all the businesses in the area,” Tan said. “The ones that ended up signing on are fairly representative of what somebody can find in the area.”
The list includes restaurants and cafés, a yoga studio, a local spa, tailoring and more.
“The other side of the campaign is a social media campaign, and that’s really just to drive awareness of the event,” he said. “It brings people to the social media properties of Fenton Village Inc. and ideally drives traffic to the website newsletter signups and again, puts people in touch with the directory and the businesses they could be patronizing.”
“Fenton Village, Inc. works closely with Pete Tan on marketing our events. His vision and skill have been invaluable in promoting the small businesses in Fenton Village,” said Karen Roper, director of community development & outreach for Fenton Village Inc. “I am confident that this latest effort will help keep these businesses viable during this very difficult time with construction. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of the county’s efforts, as the next two years will be very disruptive.”
Tan will be reporting back on the results of the campaign and making additional suggestions for events and other activities that can be done to help the local businesses.
“The reality is that these businesses are really suffering,” Tan said. “We’re only at the precipice of the changes this neighborhood is going to have to bear.
“If you ever take a walk around this area, you’ll see a lot of small, local businesses owned by your neighbors,” he added. “From that perspective, if that’s something that appeals to you, [the] tradition or the culture that’s established here, if supporting local economies is the thing that you’re interested in, then it’s worth it to at least visit the website if not actually take a walk around the neighborhood.”