Where is this information going?

28 Jun

Its been a successful day. What does success mean in this context? Well, to begin, regardless of having slept in an hour past the time Chris and I wanted to be at the storefront we still seem be consistently pushing each of the three areas of our project forward.  We completed the invitation for the Speed Dating for Store Owners (downtown isn’t just a 3 minute romance) event taking place on July 8th. We also delivered 20 invitations to business along Chatam and Oullette, completed three customer interviews, and have a clearer understanding of the tip sheet for store owners we are working towards creating.

Chris interviews Brandon (left) and Jake (right) about how they use the downtown

An interview with Sherice, a local graphic designer, pedestrian, and new citizen of Windsor, about how she accesses and engages with the core.

I thought I had setup concrete plans to interview a downtown landlord and business owner. When we went to meet him he was busting his ass to prepare for a building inspection. The interview was rescheduled for next Wednesday. If Andrea was here she would smack her shoulder twice and then brush it off. He would have been an interesting gentleman to have spoken with. He owns several properties clustered together all relating to Windsor’s nightlife. He is renovating an old cafe into a another bar. Its a narrow space 30 meters deep, with the bar running the full length. Its going to be one of those dark wood and grey tile floor type spaces. I wonder if he already has his liquor license?

Handing out invitations to business owners we received mixed reactions. Of course there was the forty-five to fifty-five year old man (the archetype of resistance to change? Yes. As well as, the object of study in an upcoming project) who expressed a cynicism that amounted to a complete acceptance of Windsor downtown’s failure in all instances but the return of tourism from Michigan on par with twenty years ago. As well as, more positive responses. Of the actual owners I spoke with there seemed to be an honesty in their ‘I’ll try and be there’. Two lessons learned, first, include the day of the week the event is on in the invitation, and second, don’t forget to ask people to RSVP.

Some important questions came out of the days interactions. In describing the larger Storefront Success Stories project business owners were very curious in knowing what we are doing with the information; some even wondered if the Downtown BIA was not already performing this function. Its prompted us to approach our interviews with business owners differently. Rather than laying out set questions, we’ve defined categories we want the tip sheet to address. We hope this will allow us to have more fluid conversations.

A few contradictions seem to be emerging within the project.  I recently came across this quote from Deluze and Guattari: “Even socialist don’t believe capitalism with fail through attrition…nothing dies from contradiction.”

Tomorrow we’ll hand out another 40 invitation and complete two more interviews…


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