FW Vocab: SoCal = South Calhoun

SoCal Fort Wayne

A Bit Of A Stretch?

A nickname to designate a long time up and coming corridor in the city, this gets me excited.  It starts with a nickname, it may end in a truly distinct neighborhood.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that area businesses and residents alike have dubbed this stretch of Calhoun “SoCal”, but while reading the following article (and looking at the pictures) I learned that 816 P&S as well as Dash-In are included in the “SoCal” district.  Call me crazy, but 816 and the Dash are wonderful places with a fabulous surrounding, it’s called downtown.  So I propose we keep the term “SoCal” but lets give it to the guys that deserve it, the business flourishing on South Calhoun….south of downtown (rail overpass).  Any objectors?

On another note, in comparison to East State Village and the Wells St Corridor, I think “SoCal” may be overall less developed but has a lot of potential that isn’t duplicated in any other urban city neighborhood.  With the large number of city bus lines running down the street (soon to be 4) as well as a large public health center currently undergoing an expansion (including a new 4 level parking facility), plus close proximity to the new Citilink Transfer Station & Parkview Field…there is already a large amount of traffic at the front doors.  Maybe the city could promote free parking in this new garage after hours. All of this, along with the fact that half of these blocks are currently street level parking lots (which provide plenty of cheap room for future developments) and did I mention the current businesses are doing very well…we’ve got quite a nice pile of clay in our hands Fort Wayne.  Need I say small scale condo or rental buildings with street level retail and walkability to downtown offices? Let’s start shaping.

Conspiracy (left) – Studio 13 Tattoos (right)

Heading Down To SoCal

Nickname appeals to merchants on South Calhoun looking for buzz

If New York can have a SoHo district, Fort Wayne can have a SoCal district.

Merchants along South Calhoun Street near downtown have begun using the marketing moniker in hopes of creating buzz – and bucks.

“We wanted a name with a big-city feel to it and something that would stick in people’s heads,” said Morrison Agen, owner of Neat Neat Neat Records, 1836 S. Calhoun St. “People are beginning to use it, especially on social media.”

The effort seeks to bring the type of attention to Calhoun Street that areas like the Wells Street Corridor and East State Village area have enjoyed. But unlike those neighborhoods, SoCal doesn’t have signs touting itself.

“We do some cross-advertising of things, but we haven’t got anything saying ‘SoCal.’ So that is something we’ll be working on,” said Jake Farris, who came up with the name.

Farris owns Studio 13 tattoo parlor, 1932 S. Calhoun St., and Conspiracy men’s boutique, 1934 S. Calhoun St.

“I do use ‘SoCal’ as my address on the door at the clothing store, though,” he said.

At present, the SoCal district encompasses mostly businesses along the street. Organizational meetings are pretty informal and held at various locations.

Advertising experts say direct marketing might help if boosters in the business district decide to get more aggressive in their campaign.

“We’ve found that to be a more affordable way to market ourselves at the local level,” said Amanda Borshoff, board president of the Indianapolis chapter of the American Marketing Association. “It works.”

The emergence of TiVo, satellite radio and other media allows people to bypass commercials, which mean ads for companies’ products are being ignored, she said.

The SoCal district can’t afford to throw away marketing money.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, businesses will spend $168.5 billion to reach consumers this year, accounting for 52.7 percent of all U.S. ad expenditures.

This year, the group expects direct marketing to account for 8.7 percent of the gross domestic product.

Those numbers are impressive, but Oyster Bar owner Steve Gard believes the area already has a few things working in its favor even without the SoCal brand. For example, it’s close to downtown events such as this month’s Democratic Party state convention, which drew about 3,000 people, according to at least one estimate.

Fort Wayne was tapped as host city for the gathering three months after the grand opening of the Courtyard by Marriott in September 2010. That is no coincidence; downtown developments help increase customer traffic, said Gard, who has run his restaurant at 1830 S. Calhoun St. for 25 years.

“With the new hotel, the Grand Wayne Center is able to have more conventions and really be utilized the way it was meant to be,” he said. “My sales have been increasing for the last few years.”

Another traffic magnet is Neighborhood Health Clinics Inc., 1717 S. Calhoun St., which attracts hundreds of patients to the thoroughfare each week. With a renovation and new parking garage planned for the medical operation, “it will only increase the people in the area,” Gard said.

Still, Calhoun Street Soup, Salads & Spirits owner Donna Kessler said being known by a nickname can be fun and an instant way for customers to connect with the area.

Her restaurant is at 1915 S. Calhoun St.

“It’s something that I think is catching on,” she said. “It takes time.”

-Journal Gazette

Original article can be found HERE

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Categories: SoCal (South Calhoun)

2 Comments on “FW Vocab: SoCal = South Calhoun”

  1. AJ
    July 3, 2012 at 12:06 PM #

    sounds like a term realtors could use.. if the area became a regional destination.

    • July 11, 2012 at 10:32 AM #

      AJ,

      I personally enjoy spending time in the area, CS3 is a personal favorite of mine. I wouldn’t argue against additional entertainment in the district though, it’s always fun to hop around with groups of friends.

      -mj

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