Saturday, January 24, 2015

Survey Confirms: Curtis Park Loves Local Business

Today the Curtis Park Character Advocates are releasing the findings of a neighborhood survey conducted in September 2014.  The results show preferences for the types of businesses desired by neighbors and strong support for locally owned, independent businesses.  

As many of you know, the Advocates formed to explore ways to protect and enhance Curtis Park’s unique character.  We focused initially on building support for new limits on formula retail businesses which dilute neighborhood character and eliminate street space available to local entrepreneurs.  We began a petition on, and 347 people (mostly from the neighborhood but also from surrounding areas) signed it. Those supporters, together with the nearly 600 people who signed the petition protesting the replacement of Mercado Loco with a CVS, indicate deep support for restrictions on chains in our neighborhood.

However, after discussions with Councilmember Jay Schenirer, the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association (SCNA) board, the Greater Broadway Partnership (GBP) and the North Franklin District Business Association (NFBDA), we decided to step back and survey neighbors to gauge support for various measures designed to preserve neighborhood character and to ask residents about the types of businesses they want developed in Curtis Park.  The survey would provide data that could be used by policymakers, the neighborhood association, and also by developers and entrepreneurs interested in locating businesses in Curtis Park.  

Last summer, we began drafting the survey.  In order to minimize bias and ensure the survey results would be credible, we recruited CSUS Professors to provide input on the survey design and also to conduct the analysis. We are extremely grateful to California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) sociology professors Carole Barnes (retired), and Rodney Kingsnorth (CSUS faculty) who reviewed the survey and commented on its construction and wording. The survey was distributed last September to 1,800 homes via SCNA’s newspaper and 201 surveys were returned, a statistically significant response rate of 11.1% which is higher than the typical response rate the CSUS-based Institute of Social Research receives for community surveys. Then Sociology students at CSUS analyzed the data under the guidance of sociology Professor Jennifer Murphy, as part of a statistics class. 

The Curtis Park Character Advocates attended the class in early December to recieve a report of the student's findings.  The students and Professor Murphy will present to Councilmember Jay Schenirer in late January and to the neighborhood on February 17th at Sierra 2.  We urge you to join us at this meeting to hear more about the process and the findings.  Here is a quick summary:

  • 77.9% of respondents support design controls for future commercial buildings to preserve the neighborhood’s traditional character.
  • 91.8% said they don’t want additional fast food restaurants.
  • 89.9% asked for new restaurants/bars, coffeehouses and specialty food shops.
  • 81.9% oppose additional gas stations.
  • More than 63% say they make an effort to shop locally, but usually have to leave the neighborhood to find their most needed items.
  • 61% favor curbs on formula businesses (23% more express conditional support)

It is worth noting that the survey didn’t originally contain a question about gas stations.  That’s because in the decades of community meetings regarding the Curtis Park Village project, not one neighbor had ever voiced a desire for a new gas station in the neighborhood.  The proposal to include a gas station at Curtis Park Village was surfacing just as we were finalizing the survey, so we were able to add a question about it, and now can definitively say that 82% of neighbors oppose additional gas stations.  We hope this information helps put the idea of a gas station in CPV to rest.

Another significant finding is that a majority of the respondents approve all the measures suggested to preserve neighborhood character and support local businesses. These include design controls on architectural features of business buildings (78%), incentives for small businesses (70%), preferences for locally owned business in City contracting (66%), a “buy local” campaign (63%), restrictions on formula businesses (61%), and education about locally owned businesses (55%).

There is clear support for the City to begin developing detailed plans and implementing some of these measures to support small, local businesses.  We look forward to working with our neighbors and Councilmember Schenirer to do just that.

Hope to see you on February 17th!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Curtis Park Loves Local Business!

Many thanks to all the merchants, volunteers and neighbors who turned out to celebrate our local businesses on November 29th, Small Business Saturday!  It was great to see how many neighbors embraced the Passport and went to town getting signatures as they shopped locally.  Special thanks to SCNA, the North Franklin District Business Association and the Greater Broadway Partnership for their sponsorship, and to Pangaea and Gunther's for hosting the celebration. A great time was had by all!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Love our local FITNESS business owners!!!

Here is a shout out and a big THANK YOU to Alicia Stewart, the owner of Figure 8 up at the corner of 24th and 4th Ave.  I love your sign Alicia!  And to Marco Guizar who promotes the concept of buying local at his Fitsom studio on Franklin Blvd.  I will be back to post a picture of Christina And Sham Sanghera's Inspired Wellness studio (whenever I'm there the sweat seems to blur my vision!).

Everyone in Curtis Park has a chance to be in their best possible shape with these talented entrepreneurs in our midst!  Thanks for keeping us healthy folks!!!

-- Kathleen

More franchise businesses are coming to Sacramento

Why do we need to make a special effort to protect our neighborhood character?  And preserve space for local entrepreneurs?

One chain store with eyes on Sacramento is Dunkin' Donuts which wants to open 46 new stores in the Sacramento area.  46!!!!!   You can bet that one or two of those will be headed our way unless we make it clear that we'd prefer they not.  You can read the story which was reported in March of 2014 right here.

Franchise businesses in general are looking at Sacramento as a big fat target for their expansion. The Sacramento Bee reported on this July 20th. The story is here. The threat is real.  We think there are plenty of talented local business people who can meet local needs and deserve a shot at building their own "Made in Sacramento" empires for export.  Why should we import other people's ideas and fill our streets up with them?  What does that say about Sacramento?

The Sacramento Business Journal recently reported on ways that locally owned, independent coffee shop owners are competing with the big chains.  Bravo!!!  More, more, more!!!  You can read the story here.

Let's bring more of what we like to Curtis Park!

It can be easy for critics to claim that neighbors like us don't ever want any change.  But they're wrong. Most reasonable people recognize that change is inevitable. The challenge happens when there is effort required to ensure that the changes are for the better!  This is a curve that we can definitely get ahead of here in Curtis Park.  If we want to avoid costly battles with big-box developers down the road we can take proactive steps to increase awareness of what the neighborhood wants to support.  This is an opportunity and really, an obligation if we really care about the unique character of our neighborhood.

We have begun working to attract more locally-owned, independent business owners to Curtis Park. Entrepreneurs who enjoy our neighborhood's character as much as we do and who are looking for a ready audience for their original work, whatever it might happen to be.  We're doing this in a few ways, and one of them is this nascent marketing campaign to better define our personality in the minds of prospective developers, business owners, shoppers, travelers and neighbors.  A neighborhood with lots of unique businesses will be more and more attractive over time, as more chain stores creep across the landscape.

Here are a few of the draft concepts.  Send your ideas to!  And look for more of these around the neighborhood soon!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sign the Petition to limit new or expanded chain stores in Curtis Park

So what's a neighborhood to do?  Well, we can organize to promote shopping local and also to support new restrictions on formula businesses in Curtis Park.  Communities all over the country have implemented ordinances to protect their unique virtues and we can too.   Please visit our petition on and sign your name!  You don't need to live in Curtis Park to sign it because - in the same way we ALL have a stake in agricultural land and national parks - we ALL have an interest in maintaining neighborhood diversity.  Please leave a comment explaining your connection to the neighborhood, and why you support this effort.  Thank you!

Here is another link to the petition :)

And the great businesses that give our neighborhood amazing character

Let's not take these folks for granted! They contribute just as much to our neighborhood's character as do our unique homes, wonderful parks and beautiful streetscapes.  It seems like a strong possibility that some of them will feel the impact of an additional 256,000 square feet of commercial space in the area (the amount currently being marketed at the Curtis Park "Village").

Support them as much as you can!  And help us develop new code to protect them from invading corporate chains that only want to sell us replicated commodities even as they erode the character of our neighborhood.