For the Downtown Business Association, the changes of the new year came a bit earlier as the organization hired Alex Vrabec as its new director.
Vrabec, who previously worked with the Brewer’s Guild of Alaska, has worked with the DBA before and is familiar with the scenery, she said.
“Both of my parents are small business owners. I have seen the devastating effects of the pandemic, ”Vrabec said in a telephone interview. “To be in a position where I can help and provide resources, connect people and help people collaborate, it feels good. “
The DBA, which exists to promote the businesses and culture of downtown Juneau, works with a wide range of establishments, from restaurants and family owned shops to arts and cultural organizations that exist in downtown Juneau, Vrabec said.
“I know how these associations work and their general objectives. It’s good because it’s super local, right in downtown Juneau, ”said Vrabec. “The main objective of the DBA is to promote the city center. They want to make it that environment, people want to go shopping and go out.
DBA has been tasked with helping organize events like the Juneau Galleries Walk along with other organizations like the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Vrabec said.
“We’re so, so excited. It’s kind of like a Juneau staple, and as I missed it last year, I think everyone is happy to see it again, ”said Vrabec. “We wanted to encourage people to go out and spread out. This is my goal this year, while keeping the holiday spirit.
For Vrabec, who joined us earlier in November, it has been a steep learning curve.
“The good thing is that the infrastructure is already there,” said Vrabec. “We currently have some projects going on that I find really cool and I’m happy to get started. ”
Among those ongoing projects are projects to improve lighting around downtown, Vrabec said, as well as a partnership with Eaglecrest to turn retired chairlift chairs into benches around downtown.
“I think we have 12 benches that will eventually go up to town,” said Vrabec. “It’s really about showing what community is and what makes it different. ”
For Vrabec, it’s the people she works with who make the job exciting, the innovators and newcomers who make Juneau unique.
“What turned me on the most were the relationships I could rebuild and the new relationships I could build,” Vrabec said. “Having been gone for a few years, I have missed a lot of people here.”
With the long term on the horizon, Vrabec’s short-term goal (after performing Gallery Walk with panache) is to promote Christmas endgame shopping in downtown stores, where there is no has neither shipping nor waiting.
“A lot of people don’t realize that after Gallery Walk things calm down a bit,” said Vrabec. “My goal is to generate traffic during the holidays. ”
Another of its goals is to highlight the family friendliness of the city center, said Vrabec. A mother of a young daughter, Vrabec said there are plenty of options for families downtown.
“Coming back to Juneau, I’m a mom, I have a family,” said Vrabec. “(We) show the downtown folks that it’s family friendly and everyone can enjoy it.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.