Downtown White Plains has undergone a startling transformation over the past 10 years and the White Plains Downtown Business Improvement District has played an integral part in its development. Focusing on streetscape improvements, marketing, events and business advocacy, the BID has been able to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the city every year.
Although the second half of 2008 and the first half of 2009 offered unique challenges in the retail marketplace, BID programs continued to attract shoppers into the downtown. “There is no doubt it’s been a struggle over the past year, but I’ve been amazed at the resiliency of the retail mix in the downtown,” said Rick Ammirato the BID’s Executive Director. “The small business owners in town are doing what they need to do to survive and grow, mainly; get creative.” The BID has created new programs to compliment the individual shop owner’s efforts to attract business. This spring they launched the “Shop White Plains” discount card program, which offers visitors and residents discounts at local businesses through out the district. “The consumer is looking for value right now and this is a great incentive for them to come visit our shops,” Ammirato said. “Participation is free to our member businesses and gives them another avenue to market themselves.” The BID also launched a new website this winter, wpbid.com. The new site focuses on marketing the downtown and communicating with all its different stakeholders. “It’s a great resource for visitors and a wonderful tool for us,” Ammirato said. “It allows us to grow the downtown brand.” The website was funded through a generous sponsorship by Entergy.
The BID increased the number of downtown events significantly this year. It hosted the first downtown block party. Dubbed CityFest 2009, the event included food, live music, kids’ rides and games and drew over 5,000 people to the downtown on a normally quiet Sunday this past May. “It was a great event,” Ammirato said. “There was a feeling of excitement in the air, people want to get out and do things again after a very long winter.” The BID also sponsored a business expo highlighting environmentally friendly building techniques and business practices. The new events compliment the BID’s existing programs including the New Year’s Eve Spectacular, the annual Downtown Food Festival and their Sidewalk Sides.
“It has been a challenging year, but we’re seeing signs of optimism in the downtown,” Ammirato said. “There is always more that can be done and we are committed to seeing the downtown continue to thrive.”
About the BID
Founded in 1998, the White Plains Downtown Business Improvement (BID) district is a non-profit, 501©3 corporation that offers supplemental services to the White Plains Central Business District to enhance its economic, social, and cultural landscape.
Our services include:
• Marketing and promotion of our member businesses and sponsored events
• Streetscape improvements and enhancements
• Sidewalk cleaning, sanitation and beautification
• Special Events
• Advocacy on behalf of its member businesses
The White Plains Downtown BID encompasses 145 properties with approximately 5.5 million square feet of office and retail space. Our membership includes small business owners, national retailers, Fortune 500 Companies, and industry leading commercial property owners.
The BID’s Board of Directors represents the diversity of business interests in the Central Business District and is committed to creating an environment conducive to economic development and business growth.