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A word from the Prez
One of the top priorities at the BDA is for downtown Bellevue to be the top destination in the region for "all of the above." At our May Breakfast Meeting we dug into the third leg of our new strategic plan: ensuring a healthy retail sector. When we say retail, we mean shopping, for sure - but also dining, live music, nightlife, events and gatherings - all those things we do outside of home and work.
So what’s new in the retail sector? A ton!
At our May meeting, we also announced the Haute Picks - the "People’s Choice" for the best of downtown Bellevue. Also in May, the Bellevue Farmers Market opened for the season. Earlier this year, new nightlife options, Piano Bash and Munchbar opened.
On Sunday June 5th, we closed out the 4th annual Bellevue Jazz Festival, with over 50 live musical performances over five days occurring all over downtown. The festival continues to garner critical acclaim and happy music fans. We are blessed to have a solid core of downtown restaurants, bars and hotels who stepped up this year to program over 45 free music events, with some great results. Here’s Steve Walker from BDA member Grand Cru Mixologie Lounge:
“We were essentially at SRO during the time of the performances at Grand Cru. Wednesday’s volume was up 358% over a normal Wednesday. Our average headcount per night for the week was the highest total in our short history. Overall, another fantastic Festival for us and we would love to see our participation be an annual event for many years to come.”
On June 7th, an exciting new effort launched to market Bellevue to leisure visitors, called Visit Bellevue Washington. Kudos to Stacy Graven and Sharon Linton at the Meydenbauer Center for advancing the cause of attracting leisure visitors to Bellevue.
All of that in just 14 days!
And all before we head into the big summer event season! What ties those events together? Attracting customers. Consistently delivering high-quality experiences. Our collective work is getting people to come here. What do they come for? Clearly a lot of that has to do with the quality and breadth of the offering. Whether its great dining, stimulating arts and cultural offerings, a full range of hotel options, and fun entertaining pastimes, downtown Bellevue keeps them coming back again and again. Between the Bellevue Collection and The Bravern, we have nearly 2 million square feet of some of the most impressive retail offered anywhere. And at this moment, there are over 150 dining establishments in BellevueLocalTable.com, our guide to food and dining in downtown Bellevue [see more on the Bellevue Local Table DINE TO WIN summer restaurant promotion in this issue.]
Yet even with all of that on offer, we still hear from some customers that Bellevue lacks character, that there is no “there” here.
Perhaps we need to tell a better story about the experience we can promise here in downtown Bellevue. Is it merely a branding problem? Or do we need to think harder about what’s not here yet? What do you think is missing here? We’d like to know.
Think about that as you enjoy the summer, which kicks off with the patriotic Symetra Bellevue Family 4th. Sadly, that also will be the final performance of the Bellevue Philharmoni Orchestra, which closes its doors this year after 43 years of contributing to Bellevue’s cultural mix. Don’t miss the 3rd annual Pour on the Plaza, El Gaucho’s outdoor wine event on June 25th. After that come Live at Lunch outdoor concerts, the three big art fairs, and much more. The only missing ingredient? The sun!