SUMMIT, NJ - Summit Downtown, Incorporated (SDI) presented a Mini-Town Hall Talk on Wednesday morning at Winberie's.
 
The theme of the discussion was “Your Voice, Your Future.” Business neighbors met to share ideas, concerns and suggestions about Summit’s downtown.   
 
 
More than 30 business people and town officials were able to discuss important issues and enjoy the light refreshments that were served. Kevin Smallwood, from the firm Smallwood Financial, is the Chairman of SDI Board of Trustees. He welcomed the group and moderated the meeting.
 
Marin Mixon, executive director of Summit Downtown, emphasized that the organization can be well used as a marketing tool for local businesses because they have a very informative website. Mixon also let the group know SDI can provide welcome packets with coupons, offers, and information about local businesses to corporations and organizations moving into the area. Susan Petrow of SDI also encouraged all of the businesses to post their events on the Facebook page that she maintains to increase their visibility. 

 
There were many suggestions by the attendees. Andy Jaffey of The Luggage Center suggested that employees of Summit businesses be given “discount days” where they can take advantage of exclusive discounts. Other business persons attending advocated for Saturday Sidewalk Sales every Saturday in the summer to encourage customers to town. Several of the business people suggested entertainment on Thursday nights in the Summit downtown area to encourage persons to come out, listen to music, and patronize local stores and restaurants.
 
In the future, the Farmers' Market is being located to Bank Street in July and August to bring customers closer to downtown.  In addition, a Green Market will be held on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Beechwood Road. It is hoped that these popular markets will bring more customers to local businesses. Robert Steelman, of 4a Realty mentioned that Summit has a unique opportunity to better use the Bank Street Parking Lot because of its centralized location for events to encourage downtown patronage.
 
One of the major points of discussion on Wednesday morning was the parking problems in Summit. Many expressed their concern that the parking costs and lack of availability limit the desire for customers to come to town for goods and services.  While this is not a new problem, there were suggestions for new solutions. A number of business people hoped that there would be times that parking fees could be suspended and that customers could obtain parking passes directly from merchants. 
 
Also, employees of local businesses should always use designated employee lots. SDI hopes to present some suggestions to the Summit Town Council on how parking can be improved and parking problems can be resolved. Robert Weakley, a property owner who serves on SDI’s Board of Trustees, emphasized that a real plan beyond suggestions should developed for the problem.
 
Additional Mini-Town Hall Talks by Summit Downtown, Incorporated will be held at the Elks Club on March 21 and Aril 2 at 8:30 a.m. and also at Overlook Downtown on April 4 at 8:30 a.m. The events are free and you can RSVP by calling (908) 277-6100. People who have suggestions for improving the Summit downtown area are also encouraged to e-mail Marin Mixon at office@summitdowntown.org.  For more information on Summit Downtown Incorporated, please visit their website at www.summitdowntown.org.