By Eva Posner | SDUN Reporter
In 2011, a group of entrepreneurs in Bankers Hill decided it was time for the community to come into its own, so they came together, to form the Bankers Hill Business Group.
Sheryl Thompson, Hillcrest Optical co-owner said, “A lot of people don’t realize that Bankers Hill is its own community. They tend to clump us together with Hillcrest. The Business Group will give us a chance to separate from that and make Bankers Hill more recognizable.”
The group includes over 30 business owners and meets monthly at different locations throughout Bankers Hill. They discuss, debate, brainstorm and plan ways to get people in the community more involved with local businesses.
“Our business has been here since 1948 and we still have people who come through the door and say, ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I never knew you were here,’” Thompson said.
At the meetings, the Group discusses ways to increase safety, make the area more pedestrian friendly and getting a large-scale Bankers Hill neighborhood sign, like the ones that have become landmarks across the city. They are also working towards hosting a “Taste of Bankers Hill,” similar to the Hillcrest event.
Meetings are also used to relay beneficial information from the City to business owners. Recently, eligibility requirements for the San Diego Economic Development Division’s storefront improvement program, which provides design assistance and financial incentives to small business owners willing to revitalize their building’s façade, were discussed.
“We are continually reaching out to businesses in Bankers Hill to let them know we are here to help,” Jake Sutton, financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments, said. “We want to come together as a business community to benefit the neighborhood.”
In January, the Business Group hosted the first Bankers Hill Block Party. The Block Party, which had food, music and a raffle, served as a meet-and-greet for neighbors and to introduce business owners to the community.
The Bankers Hill Business Group is part of the City’s Micro District Program, which seeks to promote businesses in neighborhoods that may not have enough members to form a Business Improvement District (BID). A BID facilitates improvement projects within a business district and is funded by additional taxes. Micro District Programs allow businesses with a smaller population to experience similar benefits to a BID.
Bankers Hill is bordered by Mission Hills, Balboa Park and Downtown. Many of the homes in the area date to the late 19th century and some have been converted to business offices and inns. The area got its name because of its reputation as a home to the affluent.
The meetings are open to Bankers Hill businesses. For more information, including the location of the next meeting, visit bankershillbusinessgroup.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.