Sometimes It’s The Simple Things

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by Gynae Davalos

A refreshing, warm shower is sometimes the only thing one wants to recharge, rejuvenate, and relieve the body, mind, and spirit. For those in our community with no home in which to shower, Downtown Stockton Alliance provides a free Portable Bathroom Shower Unit (PBSU) right behind St. John’s Episcopal Church on El Dorado Street.

A simple shower can make a huge difference

Monday through Friday starting at 8:30am, anyone needing a bathroom or warm shower can sign up, reserve a time slot, and freshen up. Through generous donations, food, beverages, and clothing are often also available, as well as access to a washing machine and dryer.

SJ Public Health is also on site once a week providing free COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, in addition to other health services.

The PBSU shuts down at 4pm.

“I’m disabled and it has a shower for the disabled,” said Jesse Tora who frequents the PBSU.

DSA staff member Shirley Griffith and her team manage and maintain the unit, providing not only an essential need to the unsheltered community, but social support as well.

“A lot of them are appreciative; they’ll thank us over and over,” Shirley explained.

Music by S.T.A.T.I.K.

“The people are always so nice and respectful – love the fact we have longer time and they don’t play favoritism. They treat everyone the same,” commented Lisa Yoder.

In 2021, the PBSU served 887 individuals who took about 7,444 showers. The unit is funded through a combination of ESG-CV and CDBG grants obtained from the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County. Since 2020, over $350,000 total grant dollars have been secured and devoted to PBSU operation.

“It’s available 5 days a week and it’s convenient for afternoon showering. They feed you and they make sure everyone gets in the shower,” said Yujmon Charles.

It’s easy to take the simple things in life for granted, until they are no longer easily accessible. The Portable Bathroom Shower Unit is just one action Downtown Stockton Alliance takes to support and uplift everyone in our community. Do you have ideas to help make Downtown Stockton the best it can be for everybody?

Best. Job. Ever

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by Gynae Davalos

Getting paid to do what you enjoy is a lifelong goal for many. But what happens when you actually DO reach that goal? Well, I just got this job and I’m freaking out.

What’s this place? Who owns this building? What was this before? Is it for lease? So many questions. . . .

I have to show and tell how awesome Downtown Stockton (and subsequently the whole city) is. I have to give reasons why everyone should come downtown more often. I have to encourage entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses to open or expand their companies downtown. I have to reassure the public that downtown is safe. I have to shine some light on businesses and services that may be on the brink of going out in hopes of possibly saving them. I have to inspire and motivate ideas to fill all the empty buildings and spaces speckled throughout downtown. I have to harness enough energy through my adventures to help revitalize all of downtown as soon as humanly possible.

But I only get 5 hours a day.

Good thing I’m on skates.

My trusty Riedell R3s

I’ll do the best I can do Downtown Stockton, but let’s help each other out! Events, meetings, celebrations, announcements, specials – I need to hear about ALL of it. PLEASE send me an email, a direct message, call me at the office, hand a DSA Safety Ambassador a flyer to give to me – however digitally or physically I can retrieve info, the sooner I can share and let everyone know about all the cool happenings downtown and continue to show and tell how awesome downtown is and is becoming.

I was born in Stockton and I’ve spent the majority of my life here. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Everything we need to grow and flourish is right here.  And I hope everyone rolls right along with me to help Downtown Stockton and the rest of our fine city continue to blossom and thrive. Because this is the best job ever and I love it here!

The Waterfront. From here, you can go anywhere.

Meet Dejon, DSA Safety Ambassador

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The DSA’s Safety Ambassador Team serve as “eyes and ears” in the downtown area. Although they are not downtown security, they are here to make the community feel safer. Back in February, we introduced the Safety Ambassador program in a blog article. Now, we’d like to give you an update on the program by featuring an interview with one of our safety ambassadors: Dejon Underdue! His enthusiasm and positive energy throughout the interview was infectious, and his passion for the downtown community shone through his words. We’re proud to have him on our team. 

MEET DEJON

Born and raised in Stockton, Dejon pridefully shares, “I like doing things for people any way I can- especially for the community.” Along with his current role as DSA Safety Ambassador, Dejon also operates the Baby Bottoms Diaper Bank, an organization that supplies free diapers for babies and infants for families in need. In the past, Dejon also worked with his family to run and operate a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. When he isn’t helping others, Dejon spends his time making music. In fact, he’s a three-time Grammy nominated musician and producer! Whether he’s patrolling downtown areas, lending a helping hand to others, or even working on producing music, one thing is clear- Dejon is passionate about giving back to the community.

WHY HE BECAME A SAFETY AMBASSADOR 

Dejon first heard about the Safety Ambassador program earlier this year from his mother, and landed the position in early February. After completing his first training during a shift, he reflects, “I loved it.” Dejon expresses that the role can be challenging at times, yet fulfilling, as he’s, “always down for things that make me [him] think; things that require judgment calls.” 

Communicating with those in the community is another reason Dejon is so passionate about his role, as he enjoys, “dealing with different people.” He explains that Safety Ambassadors work to connect individuals in need to various resources, such as shelters or food banks. They also help in other ways, including but not limited to helping fix flat tires or escorting people to their cars at night. The assistance they offer, “takes a lot of stress off of people…makes life easier for people.”

IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY

From when the Safety Ambassador Program was first implemented in February to now, Dejon shares that the difference is like “night and day. Now, people are coming up to us all the time saying, ‘we can actually walk around at night now!’” He’s happy that the Safety Ambassadors are making a difference, and wants everyone in downtown to know, “I’m here to assist and I’ll be here every single shift.”

In addition to helping community members feel safe, Safety Ambassadors also work closely with the Stockton Police Department. Officers are grateful to have their help, as the ambassadors can take care of smaller matters (loitering, escorting, etc.) and can also quickly alert and inform the police when a situation arises.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE

When asked what he’s most excited to see in the future, Dejon answers that he wants to see a decline in loitering and hopes to continue, “guiding people in the right direction.” In regards to the program, he says there is, “so much we have planned and so many ideas for the future. I’m excited for the future.”

So the next time you’re downtown, you may see Dejon during one of his shifts, or you might catch him grabbing a bite at Port City Sports Bar & Grill (after all, he says, “I find myself spending half my paycheck there!”). If you do run into him, don’t be afraid to say hello!

COVID-19 Resources

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Courtney Wood, our Economic Development Director, participated in a webinar addressing the resources available for small businesses during this public health crisis. The information has been condensed into the following list!

Disaster Relief

Resources to consider during this COVID-19 emergency (organizations who specifically have offerings to deal with this particular crisis/or crises in general): 

Capital Resources

Here are additional loan programs/funding programs which are available (not specifically handling the COVID-19 scenario, but offering potential capital resources during this difficult time):


Additional Resources

For other COVID-19 related information, please visit StocktonStrong.org.

Update: 3/27/20

DSA has launched a COVID-19 Disaster resource page, where we will continue to add new resources as we learn about them.

Attention

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By DSA Staff

On Thursday, March 12th, the City of Stockton released a Public Health Emergency notice informing the public that the city is adopting the State Mass Gathering policy, which states:

  • Postponing or cancelling large gatherings that include 250 people or more;
  • Social distancing of six feet per person for smaller gatherings; and
  • Limiting gatherings of individuals at higher risk for severe illness from coronavirus to no more than 10 people.

Venues such as the Stockton Arena, the Bob Hope Theatre, and Banner Island Ballpark have suspended and/or postponed all events for the time being. Visit the Stockton Live website for more information. http://www.stocktonlive.com/tickets-events/event-updates

If you won tickets for either a Stockton Heat game or Stockton Kings game via our social media accounts, please contact us directly at [email protected].

Doing our part

The health & safety of our downtown visitors, businesses, and property owners are our top priority. We are continuing our maintenance efforts by pressure washing at a heat between 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Currently, our CEO, our Operations & Office Manager, and our Safety Ambassador Supervisors are the only staff in the office. Our other office staff are currently working remotely, or have been furloughed for the time being.

Our Maintenance techs are continuing their daily routes, but are not allowed to drive two to a vehicle to comply with social distancing.

We are closely monitoring those who are coming in to work for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Additionally, we have updated our events calendar to reflect cancellations and postponements.


For the latest info on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), sign up for text updates. Text Covid19 to 211211 to receive updated information provided by Public Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Placemaking Award Program

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By Jessica Nguyen

Need Funds for a Downtown Project? Apply For Our New Placemaking Award Program!

If you want to bring a Downtown Stockton project to life but are a little short on funds, consider applying for our Placemaking Award Program! Discussions took place between the DSA Board of Directors last year about potentially creating a grant program, and this year, it’s going live! Courtney Wood, DSA’s Economic Development Director, shares that this program was created because, “businesses and events might need a little extra help to get going.” Examples of projects include (but are not limited to) organizing an educational and fun cultural event downtown, adding a small but charming outdoor patio to your restaurant, putting on rewarding workshops or seminars, and adding vivid art installations downtown.

How to Apply

Applications for the Placemaking Awards will be available on the DSA website starting February 1st, and the deadline to turn them in will be April 1st at 4pm. The applications are open rather than restrictive, because we want you to get creative! What would you like to bring to downtown that will attract more visitors? Pop up stores? Musical performances? A butterfly garden? A statue of Danny DeVito? (Okay, probably not that last one).

Criteria

Along with the requirement that the project must take place in Downtown Stockton, there are several other criteria the Board of Directors will consider to determine whether or not you are eligible for a grant:

  1. Does your application demonstrate that you have a clear vision for your project?
  2. Does it seem like you will be able to complete the project within a certain timeframe?
  3. How much will the proposed program or project benefit the downtown community?
  4. How much revenue will the proposed program or project bring to downtown?
  5. How much enthusiasm do you have for your proposed project?

After review by the Board of Directors, final funding discussions will take place in May. On the 1st of June, the DSA will announce the grant recipients. Recipients will receive 50% of the funds upfront, while the other 50% will be in the form of a reimbursement, provided once the project has reached completion. Overall, you can apply for up to $10,000. The Placemaking Award Program has $20,000 of available funds in total.

Excitement for the Future

Courtney, who helped DSA Board Member Jared Rusten design the program, shared, “I’m looking forward to seeing all the creative ideas that people can bring downtown and seeing the DSA having a role in making this happen through the grant.” In addition, she’s excited to see how the community will respond to the implementation of new projects and the economic growth the projects will bring to downtown.

Don’t forget, you can start the application for the grant on February 1st! Start thinking of those ideas, we can’t wait to see them!

Safety Ambassador Program

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By Jessica Nguyen

Imagine you’re in Downtown Stockton. After seeing a movie and relaxing in those reclining seats, you walk to your car and notice that you have a flat tire. You think to yourself, “how inconvenient! It’s late and I just wanted to get home!” Now picture this next scenario ⁠— you just finished your nighttime shift but your car is parked a few blocks away. You feel a little nervous about walking all that way on your own. Well here’s some good news ⁠— these are just a couple situations that Downtown Stockton’s new Safety Ambassador Program can assist you with! Whether you need help pumping a flat tire, having someone safely escort you to your car, finding a building, or something else along those lines, the Safety Ambassador on duty can be there to help. If they cannot directly assist you, they will find someone who can!

What do Safety Ambassadors do?

Michael Huber, the Downtown Stockton Alliance’s Executive Director, explains that Safety Ambassadors do not serve as downtown security. Instead, they are better described as “social service agents,” as their duties include engaging and lending a helping hand to those in the Downtown Stockton area. This new program, set to officially begin at the start of February, will offer a 22 hour patrol, 7 days a week (excluding the time between 3pm-5pm). Along with receiving training to help strengthen skills such as engaging the public and contacting the appropriate services, the new Safety Ambassadors will also be certified in pepper spray and CPR.

You can call the Ambassadors’ direct line when you need them at 209.451.7775, but you may also run into them in Downtown Stockton while they are patrolling the areas. Ambassadors will be wearing tactical vests over blue shirts with the orange and black DSA Safety Ambassador patch adorning their left shoulders.

First Call Program

The DSA will also be implementing a First Call Program. Many downtown business owners do not live near the downtown area, and are thus unable to quickly respond in the event that their business’s alarms are triggered. To help with this, the DSA can now be listed as “first call,” meaning they will be alerted as soon as alarms sound off. Although the ambassadors do not have the power to take anyone into custody, they can try to prevent robbers from taking any items.

Who will lead this new team?

Mike felt inspired to start the Safety Ambassador Program after attending a conference in Los Angeles and learning about other downtown locations that currently have the program in place. He decided to set the plan into action and recruited Ace, who will serve as the Safety Ambassador Supervisor. Ace, a Stockton resident since 1985, has multiple years of experience in security and has even served in the military. He explains that 90% of security isn’t the “security” part, but is “dealing with people.” Ace explains that these important interpersonal skills are acquired over years of experience, and that one must, “come up with a methodology for moving people.” Being able to do this will ultimately help you to better aid them.

Ace is excited to come on board as supervisor, and is looking forward to “making some type of change downtown.” In other words, he’d like downtown to blossom into an environment where visitors can come, have a good time, and positively experience all Stockton has to offer. He says it best when he exclaims, “this is a great area, but it can be even greater.” Well, the new Safety Ambassador Program will help us get there!

Ace

Meet Tina McCarty!

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By Jessica Nguyen

Meet Tina McCarty, downtown’s Parking and Venue Manager in the City of Stockton’s Economic Development Department! She is dedicated to the progress of the downtown community, passionate about Downtown Stockton, and is hopeful for what the future brings to the resilient community. As Parking and Venue Manager, Tina oversees parking operations for all five of downtown’s parking garages as well as street parking spaces. Her other duties include but are not limited to managing the operations and policies of the Downtown Marina, Bob Hope Theater, and other large downtown event venues. In addition to her role as Parking and Venue manager for the past four and a half years, Tina also currently serves as an active board member for the Downtown Stockton Alliance. This upcoming March will mark her one year anniversary at the DSA. Why does she do it? Tina enthusiastically shares, “I love it downtown!”

What changes have you seen in downtown over the years?

For the past couple years Tina has worked and spent in Downtown Stockton, there were a couple changes in the area that really stood out to her. For instance, she’s noticed more development in the downtown area and enjoys seeing the projects that rehabilitate and repurpose downtown’s historic structures while, “still maintaining the historic vibes of the buildings.” She notes the Medico-Dental building as an example, as it is being repurposed for future use as Downtown Stockton housing. Tina also mentions the recent changes in downtown’s streetscape — for instance, the change from traditional parking meters to the more effective and modern payment machines. These machines were fully implemented onto downtown’s streets in May of last year. In addition, Tina adds that the downtown schools, such as Stockton Collegiate International Schools and the TEAM Charter School, are great features of downtown Stockton, as it is, “very nice to see the liveliness of the kids.”

What are you most excited to see in downtown’s future?

Currently, Tina is excited about “so much change and development in our midst,” as she is proud of the current efforts to revitalize Downtown Stockton. In the future, she would love to witness the continued evolvement of downtown buildings and the addition of new retail businesses to the area that will help to draw more people and positive attention to the downtown area. One day (hopefully in the near future), she hopes Downtown Stockton will be a vibrant space and favored destination, even after 4 or 5pm! Downtown’s nightlife scene has definitely improved in recent times, as new businesses have worked to draw more business during later hours of the day.


Quick Three!

Where is your favorite spot to have lunch downtown? Favorite place to grab a coffee?

After some slight contemplation, Tina ultimately decided that she couldn’t pick just one go-to lunch destination (I mean, you can’t blame her- there are so many tasty eateries downtown!), so she revealed her top three: Cast Iron Trading Co., the Downtowner, and Nena’s Mexican Restaurant — yum! Have you been to all three yet?

In terms of her preferred spot to grab a cup of joe, Tina explains that she isn’t much of a coffee drinker. However, she does love tea! She shares that luckily, there are also spots to pick up tea downtown. For instance, Trail Coffee makes great tea and is very conveniently located for her to make trips whenever she needs a refreshing cup!

What is downtown’s spirit animal?

“A tiger, because there is so much to be excited about and the rest of the area will hear Stockton roar!”

How would you describe Downtown in one word?

With no hesitation, Tina chooses,“Evolving.”


Sign over parking garage entrance that says, 'Park' in Downtown Stockton.

Join us for our Talk with Tina on where we will be sharing all things Parking in #DowntownStockton!

January 8th at 10 AM, Facebook live (click here)


All About DSELF

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By Courtney Wood

Did you know that the Downtown Stockton Alliance (DSA) administers loans from $25,000 – $65,000 for small businesses in the downtown area through the Downtown Stockton Enterprise Loan Fund (DSELF)? Read on to learn more about this useful economic development tool.

What is the DSELF?

The Downtown Stockton Enterprise Loan Fund (DSELF), a 501(c)3 existing under the umbrella of the DSA, is a “non-profit, multi-bank community development corporation created to facilitate economic development in Stockton’s economically under-served central city.”

This successful loan fund exists due to the 2006-2007 initial contributions of $172,000 from the following lending institutions:

  • Bank of Agriculture & Commerce         
  • Bank of Stockton          
  • Community Bank of San Joaquin
  • Guaranty Bank
  • Oak Valley Bank        
  • Wells Fargo Bank                      

Over the last 13 years, through the administration of loans to businesses like Juice it Up!, Chitiva’s, The Campus Downtown, J. Rusten Furniture Studio, and The Deliberation Room, the fund has grown to over $216,000!

How is the DSELF structured?

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, the DSELF is governed by a board of directors who provide policy oversight. The loan application process is guided by the DSELF Administrator, currently Courtney Wood of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, while the pre-approval scoring and loan recommendation is performed by the Business Loan Manager, currently Steve Lantsberger of the SJ Economic Development Department and Revolving Loan Fund.

Why is the DSELF important?

DSELF funds are used to provide much-needed capital to small and mid-size downtown businesses who typically “lack sufficient up-front equity and historic profits for conventional financing,” at an interest rate of prime + 2% (DSELF Mission).

Through the DSELF, businesses who may not meet a bank’s loan criteria still have the opportunity to access capital to open or grow their enterprises – and create jobs! – without being gauged by exorbitant interest rates that cut into their profits.

Since the DSELF isn’t a bank, is it easy to get a loan?

Although the DSELF is aimed at non-traditional borrowers, because the loans are considered “high-risk” there is still a detailed approval process which must be completed in order to approve a loan and protect the fund.

What is the application process like?

This year, the DSELF Board revamped the DSELF loan process and procedures. In addition to changing the loan range from $5,000 – $50,000 to $25,000 – $65,000, they decided to break the loan approval process into the four phases outline below:

  1. Pre-Qualification, which entails the initial application and non-refundable $200 fee, a credit score check, the submittal of an executive summary, and an interview with the DSELF Administrator
  2. Pre-Approval, which involves the submittal of 19 items outlined in the pre-approval checklist. These items include things like a business plan, financial statements, tax returns, description of collateral to be pledged, and resumes of the business partners, etc.
  3. DSELF Board Interview, which allows the board to ask an applicant questions regarding their application, business, loan request, etc.
  4. DSELF Board Vote, which makes the final decision regarding approval of a loan that has made it through the previous stages.

In Phases 1 & 2, a rubric is used to determine an applicant’s score and whether they proceed to the next stage in approval. In Phase 4, a majority vote is required to grant final approval.

The brevity of this process depends upon how quickly the applicant can submit all required documents to the DSELF administrator. It is recommended that applicants submit everything required within 90 days from the initial application date to ensure information being reviewed is up-to-date and accurate.

Who can apply?

The DSELF’s mission is to provide loans to businesses which fall within the Downtown Stockton Alliance PBID District. Apart from being located in downtown, to even be considered, applicants must be running or intending to run, completely legitimate operations.

What can a DSELF loan be used for?

Fortunately, DSELF applicants can use their loans for a variety of business expenses, from space renovations/buildouts to marketing materials. A few of the most common eligible uses are listed below:

  • Inventory   
  • Working capital for rent, utilities, telephone, insurance, etc.  
  • Equipment                           
  • Production of sample lines
  • Product development 
  • Initial advertising/promotion campaigns
  • Office supplies
  • Building and leasehold improvements

Is DSELF taking applications for new borrowers at this time?

Yes! The DSELF is looking to lend out additional money within the next year. Apply!

Where can I go for more information?

If you or someone you know has a downtown business and you want to learn more about the DSELF, call 209.888.8630; email [email protected]; attend a DSELF board meeting – held the 2nd Tuesday of every month, at 12:00 PM in the DSA offices; click here to view the application; or click here to view the application guide.

This page has additional information about DSELF.

Take advantage of this amazing resource only available to downtown businesses!

Meet Kendra!

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By Nissi Guiao

Downtown Stockton is home to several event destinations that make life a little less boring. From concerts to ballgames, from comedy nights to fireworks shows, from hockey games to private theater performances—downtown has something for everyone to enjoy!

If you’ve ever had the privilege of attending one of these events in the area, the likely force behind it was entertainment company SMG.

In October, news broke out that “SMG, which manages Stockton’s five city-owned public venues, has merged with AEG Facilities to create a mega-company called ASM Global, a new, standalone global facility management and venue services company” (Bob Highfill, “SMG, Stockton Arena’s management firm, merges with AEG to form new mega-company,” Record.net, October 1, 2019, https://www.recordnet.com/news/20191001/smg-stockton-arenas-management-firm-merges-with-aeg-to-form-new-mega-company).

Behind the Scenes

With excitement brewing about this exciting change for the company (which may mean more big-name concerts and events for Downtown!), we were fortunate to have the chance to talk with Kendra Clark, General Manager of SMG, who also serves on the Downtown Stockton Alliance Board of Directors!

As a significant player on the team, she’s been a pillar behind the successful events our community is thankful to enjoy.

Not wasting any time after graduating, Clark dove right into the industry and began gaining hands-on experience. She shares, “I started right out of college as a Marketing Assistant at Save Mart Center at Fresno State as part of the grand opening team for the venue.” Eventually, she found her place within SMG. In her role as General Manager, she “oversees the Stockton Arena, Bob Hope Theatre, Stockton Ballpark, and Stockton Downtown Marina” (and even Oak Park Ice Rink).

Experience with Downtown Stockton’s Venues

Clark has seen SMG’s Stockton venues “evolve over the years,” noting: “We have seen tremendous growth in all the venues including steady increases in the number of events, increased programming. . .and now increased slip rentals at the Marina.” Evidence of this increase in programming was highly visible on the Marina this summer, with SMG cohosting a Marina Concert Series in addition to launching paddleboard and kayak rental right out of the Waterfront Warehouse!

She also shares that “these venues have really become a staple in the Stockton community and it’s amazing to see all the support and positive feedback from not only our local residents but from patrons visiting from out of town.”

As a backbone to the entertainment department for our city, Clark’s contribution to Stockton through her work with SMG makes “home” a better place for our community. The dedicated work she does adds to the overall Stockton experience and we’re excited for what’s to come through the new connections between companies. Purchase tickets for all the fun, upcoming events by visiting http://www.stocktonlive.com/events!


Kendra Clark

Kendra’s Fast 5 answers!

What’s your go-to Downtown lunch spot?

University Waterfront Hotel’s Bistro and Cast Iron.”

What’s your go-to Downtown coffee spot? 

Trail Coffee.”

What upcoming event are you most excited about? 

“All of them! Although the 3 sold out shows for Jo Koy have me pretty excited. Please check out www.stocktonlive.com for all the latest updates!” 

What is Downtown’s Spirit Animal? 

“A fish because of how unique we are to have a waterway come right up to Downtown.”

Describe Downtown in one word or phrase. 

“Endless possibilities.”