As a consulting firm focused on the greater good, we are always thinking about ways to give back to our own community. We’ve participated in a number of volunteer projects (highlights over the years have included pulling weeds and painting fences), but have always felt we could better serve through utilizing our unique skills and expertise.
After moving to 11th Street in February of 2012, we began witnessing incredible growth of the independent business scene around our office. We felt the story of 11th Street (dubbed D.C.'s "hip strip" in the New York Times), and the independent businesses that make the neighborhood so unique, was just too exciting not to be told. From speaking with the individual business owners, there was also a desire to connect with each other to tackle mutual issues and work together on community projects.
Replicating what we’ve done in so many other destinations around the world, Solimar convened the business owners between Monroe and Kenyon Street and helped to form the 11th Street Business Alliance. Through a virtual connection and monthly meetings, the alliance is now providing advocacy and support to the local businesses while fostering a greater community dialogue within the neighborhood. We are currently discussing formalizing the organization as a non-profit in order to increase our impact by generating revenue and applying for grants.
As one of our first initiatives, the Alliance developed an 11th Street marketing campaign, website and social media presence. Through 11thStreetDC.com, there is a listing of all neighborhood businesses as well as a blog feature to keep DC residents updated with the latest happenings on 11th Street. The “Insider’s Guide” section of the website features exclusive information on what makes the neighborhood such a unique place to live, work and play—including guest posts from the people behind 11th Street’s thriving business scene. The “Upcoming Events” page includes details on upcoming events, festivals, menu specials and more. Just last weekend, hundreds of people came to celebrate the neighborhood's marquee event - Oktoberfest!