Sleepy downtown Atascadero is no longer sleepy. The area has been reinvigorated in 2018 with empty storefronts being filled in with new businesses.
“There’s a lot [going on],” Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO Derek Kirk said. “One of the most exciting things is Anna & Mom is celebrating its one year in business on August 17.”
Kirk said that the reason the one-year celebration is so exciting is that many businesses don’t make it a year.
Beginning their first year in business, new arrivals LaDonna’s Bar & Grill and Fossil Wine Bar both at the end of Entrada Avenue at El Camino Real.
Additional businesses slated to open in the next few months include Colony Market & Deli, which will open in the old gas station on the corner of Traffic Way and El Camino Real; and Central Coast Distillery in the El Paseo center on Traffic Way at Palma Avenue.
Kirk added that Wildfield Brewery will open next to the Chamber’s new location at 6907 El Camino Real, Ste. A in Colony Square next to the pedestrian bridge connecting the center with downtown.
“I get input from our hotel guests all the time,” Carlton Hotel General Manager Deana Alexander said. “The other day, a couple said they want to come back because there’s a lot happening.”
In the four years since businesses on Traffic Way formed the group Traffic Way Collaborators, the group has morphed into the Atascadero Colony District Committee, of which Alexander is the chair.
Alexander said the committee recently found out that there had been an assessment for business development that had been abandoned in 2009. The committee took a proposal to the city council that has since been approved and will be reinstated in January 2019.
Businesses within the downtown district will pay two times the business license fee. The fee is currently $50 — as of Jan. 1, 2019, downtown businesses will pay $100.
“It’s a large area,” Alexander said.
The downtown district encompasses businesses located south and north between Morro Road and Rosario Avenue respectively and west and east between Highway 101 and Olmeda Avenue respectively.
Since the committee will not receive the assessment funds until February 2019, the city gave the group $8,000 to get started. That money has been used to fund Summer Sizzle, the first on July 11, which brought in a couple of bands and a bounce house.
The group also plans to buy Christmas lights and offer to all the businesses in the downtown district in December. Additionally, Alexander said the group is working on a map of downtown businesses for the downtown kiosks.