How is the BID Alliance working with the various bids to help them out in this crisis?
“What we’re doing now is sharing a lot of information with each other, talking about how we can reach out to our businesses, get them the information they need to get relief and assistance,” said Lysundra “Sunny” Lee, Bid Alliance president representing Old Town Chamber of Commerce. “We’re also sharing information on how we’re marketing our businesses that are open, sharing best practices and troubleshooting.”
Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, pointed out BIDs like hers citywide have had to “abruptly change course” from their main focus of “promotion and upkeep” to do “crisis management” instead.
“The BID Alliance has been intricate in providing the hub of communications for our organizations, from sharing ideas of promoting open businesses, to ways to disseminate info to our membership quickly,” said Berns. “The alliance has been most effective in this unprecedented time.”
Added Berns: “As an executive director of a business improvement district there are only 17 others in the position like me here in the City. Yet we all work for individual organizations. Personally, I have depended on them (BID Alliance) more than ever over the last couple of weeks.”
LJVMA’s executive director Jodi Rudick has been busy recently helping her small-business members apply for the recently approved City of San Diego Small Business Relief Fund. “It’s on a first-come, first-served basis,” Rudick said of the relief fund, which provides grants, forgivable loans and low-interest loans for working capital.”
“We are all working together to understand the long-term ramifications of the pandemic and how our organizations can survive in order to help our local businesses stay in business and flourish after this is all over,” said Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association. “All the bids are sharing ideas and solutions so that our communities have the best possible outcome. I’m very grateful to have these dedicated individuals/organizations working so hard to offer hope and help to our members.”
Dating back to 1970, the City of San Diego's Business Improvement District (BID) program is the largest tenant-based program in the state, and is administered by the City's Economic Development Department. Since then, the small business community and the City of San Diego have created 18 active BID districts, with more than 11,000 small businesses participating in self-assessment districts, raising more than $1.3 million annually.
A BID provides business area merchants with the resources to develop marketing campaigns, increase awareness and enhance public improvement projects in partnership with the City.
The BID associations have developed a variety of successful marketing activities ranging from putting on special events, such as restaurant tours, block parties, weekly farmers markets, and holiday festivals, to developing public relations and marketing materials.
BID associations promote businesses through the internet, social media and cooperative advertising campaigns. They develop and distribute business directories, coupon books, and other district brochures.
Concerning the message the BID Alliance is getting out to its members' alliance president Lee said: “It’s kind of a tough situation for us to tell the bids how to prepare themselves, as we’re all going through it together. But each time we speak, we come up with new ways to support each other. We really don’t know how to navigate this on our own right now. But it’s our top priority to support those businesses, and to ensure that they come back strong once this crisis is over.”
RELIEF FUND FOR BUSINESSES
Continuing to take aggressive steps to protect the health and welfare of San Diegans, the City on March 25 enacted an eviction moratorium that provides relief to residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City Council also unanimously approved a multimillion-dollar Small Business Relief Fund proposed last week by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
The City will use it to make microloans available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance will range from $10,000 to $20,000 and will be allocated to eligible small businesses based on the availability of funds and program guidelines. To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements:
• Employ 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees;
• Have a City of San Diego business tax certificate;
• Provide documentation that shows the business has been operational for at least six months;
• Provide proof of economic hardship due to COVID-19;
• Not have engaged in any illegal activity per local, state or federal regulations.
For more information and to apply for assistance, visit sandiego.gov/economic-development/resources/relief.