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Council’s Economic, Development, and Technology Committee to Consider Legacy Business Program

Longtime local companies could be recognized

Published on Monday, October 19, 2020 | 1:00 am

Longtime commercial enterprises that continue contributing to the community could soon be recognized as legacy businesses.

The Economic, Development, and Technology (EDTech) Committee will consider a business legacy recognition program at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

“The variety of businesses in a downtown or along primary commercial streets represent a significant part of what defines a city and creates a local character,” city Economic Development Manager Eric Duyshart said in a staff report.

“As national retailers and online shopping continue to lure a larger portion of consumer spending, it is increasingly important to recognize elements of local commerce that help set our community apart from other cities,” the report states.

Long Beach and San Francisco have already started similar programs, according to Duyshart, who said honoring these businesses is particularly relevant as the negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic continue to threaten small businesses.

The program would create a process in which storefronts, restaurants, and other local companies that have existed for up to 50 years can be acknowledged and celebrated. Pasadena is home to a variety of businesses that have been contributing to the community’s culture for more than a half-century.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has a similar program that recognizes businesses that have been members of the organization for long periods of time.

Among the businesses included in the EDTech Committee report are Pashgian Brothers, Fishbecks Patio Center, Mijares Mexican Restaurant, Anderson Business Technology, and Vroman’s Bookstore as examples of local businesses that have been around for more than 50 years.

In a letter to the community last month, Vroman’s Chairman Joel Sheldon said sales at the venerable Pasadena bookstore are down 40 percent from prior years, “A level which cannot sustain our business,” according to Sheldon.

According to its website, Vroman’s is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California.

“Presenting these businesses with a plaque and window decal to celebrate contributions to the community is a great way to honor them. Such a program can also provide the city with a structured mechanism to recognize and help promote these retailers and restaurants that are unique to Pasadena,” the staff report states.

The EDTech Committee will discuss criteria options for the business, including the minimum business age for eligible businesses, whether only storefront businesses should be eligible, and if changes to business name and ownership should be a factor.

Staff is prepared to craft a version of the program if the committee supports the project. The project would return to EDTech and, if it is approved, presented to the City Council.

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