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Park Avenue District Opens Social Club for Resident Investors

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Park Avenue District is launching a new program aimed at fostering the involvement and appreciation of the neighbors who support local businesses.

Club 1882, named for the year Winter Park’s railroad depot and first general store were built, is a resident-only social club that offers exclusive perks and private events in partnership with the downtown business community.

“The program was inspired by our involvement in Main Street Florida,” Park Avenue District Board President Sarah Grafton told the32789. Part of our job is to strengthen the community of residents, businesses, and organizations; to connect with them and get their feedback on what they want and how to improve relationships.”

On Nov. 30, the Park Avenue District was approved by the state as an apprentice in the Florida Main Street program, which provides technical assistance in the revitalization and economic development of historic downtowns. Over the next three years, Park Avenue District will receive assistance in the following areas:

  • Economic vitality
  • Marketing
  • Leadership
  • Education
  • Beautification

In April, the district brought in Carina Sexton as executive director to oversee operations and help facilitate program benefits that range from access to grant funding and technical assistance to small business resources and event promotions. Club 1882 will offer special promotions for members joining with annual contributions in one of seven district investment levels. Residents can join for $250 per year with additional contribution options for corporate investors.

“We might have a coffee social at Barnie’s or New General,” said Grafton. “Or a cocktail hour where residents can mingle and get to know the host business.”

Ricci Culver, Park Avenue District founding member and owner of Through the Looking Glass, says a range of opportunities exist for retail promotions.

“Probably most of it will be in the form of a discount,” she told the32789. “But there are times when we would offer a gift with purchase, especially around the holidays.”

Grafton adds that the number of inaugural year memberships will be limited to 250 in order for retailers to properly facilitate special offers.

“We didn’t know what the interest level would be,” she said. “If a store offers special gifts or a restaurant offers a special menu item, they need to prepare for that.”

Special seasonal events are also under consideration with the yearly Trick or Treat on Park Avenue as the first event where special offers can play a role.

“Most residents want something that make them feel valued,” said Grafton. “We want residents to know we value their partnership and support in making our community all it can be.”

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