SEASIDE — Tita Montero, has plenty to say about her new job, her mission, and the people she works with, but it all comes down to comes down to one thing: “My job is to get people into the stores.”
She’s the new executive director of the Seaside Downtown Development Association after working for seven years as the business and community liaison at the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. She takes over for Laurie Mespelt who will be staying on part time as special events coordinator.
She aims to build membership in the SDDA by increasing the benefits.
“People are more likely to belong if they perceive a higher value,” she said.
That includes adding new programs and tweaking existing programs. She’s not ready to discuss the new programs until the plans have been discussed with the SDDA board in more detail.
She wants to tweak some existing programs and events. For example, the SDDA’s popular wine walks feature door prizes. Montero wants make sure the prizes encourage the winners to return to Seaside. So prizes in the future may include tickets to the next wine walk and gift certificates from local merchants.
“I told Laurie my middle name’s going to become ‘bounce back,’ over the next,” Montero said.
The SDDA sponsors two wine walks each year. The most recent one, in the fall, attracted 750 participants with 21 shops sponsoring wineries.
Montero admits wine walk participants may not purchase merchandise at each shop. She used to sponsor a winery as co-owner of Montero Sisters Fabrics. Not many people purchased fabric, but they became aware of the business and what it had to offer, she said. It gave them a reason to return the shop, she said.
She also plans to survey members to find out what they want from the organization.
Montero is reworking the SDDA’s infrastructure as well. She has moved payroll in-house and is reassessing phone and Internet vendors to ensure the organization is getting the most economical service.
She plans to renovate the organization’s website and Facebook page to increase traffic. It will dovetail with efforts to boost branding and marketing. That will include updating the SDDA newsletter. She wants to make sure every time a board member or merchant is mentioned in newsletters or other material that their business name is also mentioned.
At the SDDA meeting on Feb. 19, she asked member merchants to submit magnets printed with their business name or logo. The magnets will be used to post notices on SDDA notice boards at pocket park kiosk. It gives them extra exposure, she said, another benefit of membership.
“All it takes is the magnets you already have on hand.”
Montero enjoyed her work at Tongue Point, but she likes her new commute. It’s gone from 40 miles a day to less than a mile, and she can walk the prom to work on nice days.