Friday, September 10, 2010

Eat ★ Shop ★ Live : Anacostia

Today was reSPIN Public Relations, ARCH Development, and DHCD's Big Reveal of Historic Anacostia's new "Eat ★ Shop ★ Live : ANACOSTIA" marketing campaign. Meant to bring new legitimacy, branding, and connectivity to Anacostia's somewhat scattered but very lively group of main street businesses, the campaign has been heralded as "the biggest thing to happen in Anacostia since the Big Chair". And that's big.

The brainchild of Nikki Peele, a Ward 8 entrepreneur who also runs the blog Congress Heights on the Rise and has been a force in recent years towards a renewed image and perception of communities east of the Anacostia River, ESL:A is is the first major event for Peele's firm reSPIN PR, a company she began earlier this year to help outside companies and agencies market their visions, plans, and wares in the typically misunderstood River East half of DC.

ESL:A is similar to a Business Improvement District in that local businesses pay to participate, but is free rather than there being any sort of levied tax on the owners. Businesses are given marketing and inclusion into the membership program designed to build their customer base. Window decals and flags mark the participating local shops and eateries, and customers are able to flash keytags to receive discounts.

I think this is a great idea. It has a clean brand, it brings a fresh life and unity to Anacostia businesses, and it enables increased patronage from people who might typically pass these places by.

On a somewhat unrelated note - two of Anacostia's newest spots were advertised at the event: The Hive, a shared office & creative work space (post coming soon); and Blank Space, a new "permanent pop-up gallery" that will be rentable for privately sponsored shows.

Come on out and Eat ★ Shop ★ Live : ANACOSTIA. Seriously.

For more, check out TBD's article on the Big Reveal - with some more background and interviews.


TheAdvoc8te said...

Thanks David for the shoutout. Glad that you liked it.

One small correction. The ESLA program is FREE! No membership fee. :)

Fairlawnlady said...

Perhaps I am missing something...$200,000 grant for this program? Horse before cart people! I am concerned that there is not one clearly articulated goal for what Anacostia's business district should look like - I have lived here for 7 years and a Subway and Yes! Market does not a community make. Are we afraid to study the politically savvy H street makeover? What models are planners looking at...historically valuable neighborhoods that can support and maintain their rich culture while encouraging growth and economic stimulus? How about an Anacostia shuttle? They are out there! If i am missing something...please fill me in.

David Garber said...

this is funded with PART of the $200,000 grant. This did not cost anywhere near $200,000. :)

Nikki said...

To echo that we did not receive anywhere NEAR 200k to create and execute ESLA. Just a lot of blood, sweat, and creativity by the ESLA team including excellent interns from Thurgood Marshall Academy, The Academies at Anacostia and the United Planning Organization. The local shops and businesses really should be applauded for keeping the secret for so long and working so hard to make the Big Reveal event such a success. They should be commended and it was such a pleasure working with them to get ready for yesterday.

There are so many great things in Anacostia and coming to Anacostia but by far the best are the people. They are such an inspiring lot.

Some really great things are coming down the pike for Anacostia,more information to come.

Anonymous said...

So the big reveal was .... a PR stunt?

How incredibly lame is THAT?!

David Garber said...

I wouldn't call it a PR stunt. It's a branding idea for the neighborhood that is connecting businesses with media and customers. Not a bad move for a neighborhood that needs the help.

But yes, there was a lot of hype. Hopefully this big reveal will help lead to many more reveals in the near future.

Anonymous said...

This event was underwhelming and the approach needs to be re-evaluated. I think the goal is great but I saw very little in the way of businesses.

Instead of promoting the businesses they should of used the efforts to organize or prepare businesses for this campaign and launched it 6-8 months later...

Anacostiaque said...

I left work early to attend this and my expectations were higher. I'm sorry, as I support the spirit and new things that are going on. Not trying to be negative, but was hopeful for something ahead of the campaign. (Progressive) people already know about Anacostia.

Anonymous said...

Some Progressive people don't know about Anacostia and what it has to offer. I recently moved to the area and saw the signs regarding ELSA. The signs made me google "the movement" and now I have found several resources online with information I would have never known about my new neighborhood. Since then I have planned to visit the Frederick Douglas house and I patronized the local Big Chair coffee and grill to show support. As new people move in from all over the country and world they will need to be enlightened about the rich history and destined future East of the River has to offer.