Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., a hearty band of downtown Edmonds merchants will gather — as they do on the first Friday of every month — in the basement of the Savvy Traveler to sing good-morning songs and enjoy gifts of flowers and boxes of chocolates.
Celebrating the merchants — “the individuals who are the faces of the stores and of downtown Edmonds” — is one of three goals that Pat McKee, the current president of the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association (DEMA) — has for his organization, which was created by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce specifically to promote businesses in the downtown area.
McKee, a retired Nordstrom employee who began his second career seven years ago when he opened Nama’s Candy Store, is passionate about his role as an advocate for downtown businesses. In addition to celebrating the merchants, he works to ensure that DEMA members are connected to events put on by the Chamber, the City of Edmonds, service groups and other organizations. In addition, McKee oversees DEMA-sponsored events — such as the recent fashion show — which raise money to support advertising campaigns aimed at bringing customers to the downtown area.
McKee said that the majority of downtown Edmonds businesses belong to DEMA, but he encourages “any businessperson in downtown Edmonds who has a store or an office or an interest” in the organization to attend a monthly meeting. There are no dues and Chamber membership isn’t required, but you do have to be a downtown merchant to cast a vote, he noted.
DEMA is also actively involved in promoting the development of a Business Improvement District, which under state law can be formed if a majority of businesses agree to assess themselves to pay for marketing, beautification and related improvements.
“We’re very excited about it because we want to promote the town,” McKee said.
The area of the proposed district (see map) is centered around the fountain at 5th and Main Streets and with boundaries on the north by Bell Street, on the east by Durbin Street, on the south by Homeland Drive and on the west by Sunset Avenue and Railroad Avenue.
More information on the proposed Edmonds Business Improvement District, which if formed would be administered by the City of Edmonds, can be found here.