STOCKTON (CBS13) — Shoppers came out to admire the lighted Christmas tree, newly reinstated on Nov. 30, one of several holiday events designed to attract shoppers.
The Miracle Mile merchants have sponsored holiday carolers and a wine stroll to help show the mile remains a strong retail force for shopping and dining in Stockton.
“The future of the Miracle Mile is looking bright, despite all of the things that have gone on,” says Kevin Hernandez, owner of AVE on the Mile Bistro.
He says “I believe and our merchants, a great team of merchants, believe that there’s only one way that’s up from here.”
Hernandez points to some student made Christmas tree ornaments that are displayed in merchants shops throughout the Miracle Mile as one way of attracting families in to see the children’s handiwork.. and to bring people in to walk the mile, shop and eat in the area.
“We’re looking towards the future. We’re looking for new, innovative ways of marketing and creativity and we’re inviting more businesses down to the Miracle Mile.” Says Hernandez.
Dozens of merchants in the district say the holidays are treating them well. In the background of an active holiday season, where businesses are encouraging shoppers to stop in, wrangling between property owners and the Miracle Mile Improvement District continues.
The Miracle Mile Improvement District in Stockton canceled a holiday event, a potluck, as district leaders and property owners debate over a new partnership.
Right now, the current agreement is set to expire on Dec. 31 giving both sides just a short time to come up with a solution for the leadership and for the continued services of the Improvement District.
The Miracle Mile took a couple of hits in 2017. Nine merchants lost their locations during a code violation dispute between the building owner and City of Stockton. One of the Miracle Mile Improvement District’s executives stands accused of embezzlement, leaving the group’s funding in some disarray. A vote on whether to continue a contract beyond December 31st between merchants and the Improvement District board hit a snag with an irregular count of votes, leading to more confusion.
However, merchants want shoppers to understand they consider those issues in the background. Tammie Dimas, owner of Bliss Bridal Salon, hopes would-be patrons won’t be distracted. She says eight of the nine merchants who lost their locations are planning to return… and she believes the improvement board issues will sort out.
“The Mile has been here 95 years.” She adds, “We will continue to be here, regardless of really how the board scenario plays out. It might get resolved, it might become something else. But the bottom line is there is lots of exciting, wonderful things on the Mile.”