Amy Martinez June 25, 2018

Community Spotlight: On Havana – A Leader in Community Transformation

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In 2008, the Havana Business Improvement came to Webolutions with an idea: improve their 4.3 mile stretch of Havana Street and make it a vibrant, safe, clean area with a lot of diversity. To kickstart this effort, we met with Havana Business Improvement District (BID) executive director Gayle Jetchick, BID members and community stakeholders to create an authentic brand that celebrated what was unique and authentic about the area. After the meeting, we outlined two different potential personas we needed to appeal to – potential shoppers and potential business owners.

Several themes emerged:

  • Unique experiences in dining, shopping and living
  • Working together to build a stronger community
  • Making your life more interesting

Through our interviews with residents and business owners, research and hours of conversations with community stakeholders, we came up with On Havana Street.

At the time, the area offered:

  • 4.3 mile very fast street, not very concentrated
  • No specific destination business in this area
  • 29 car dealers on the street
  • 65 restaurants (40 to 45 of them are privately-owned restaurants)
  • Average age within 3 miles of the mall is 32

On_Havana_Street

From there, we embarked on a marketing journey by creating a logo, website, a calendar of events, and an e-newsletter.

Over the years, the success of On Havana Street has been impressive.

Aurora City Sales Tax Revenues from the Havana BID businesses have increased from around $12 million in 2008 to more than $20 million in 2016.

We even spawned two more brands:

  • Havana Motor Mile – Highlighting all the dealerships and automotive services in the area
  • Art 2C On Havana – Annual Public Art Program

Some annual events include:

  • Cruzin’ Havana – this classic car show draws massive crowds
  • Grocery Cart Race – this great event raises funds for the Comitis Crisis Center in Aurora (the 2017 event raised $50,000)
  • Summer Concert Series – brings the community together through music
  • Frozen Treats Day – great way for residents to patronize local businesses and get delicious samples of frozen treats
  • Halloween Costume Contest – fun for parents, kids and pets

Quick Facts

  • Vacancy rate decreased from 8.2% in 2008 to 2.5% in 2017.
  • In 2009, there were 583 businesses and 388 new jobs created.
  • The district added 75 new businesses and 430 jobs in 2014.
  • In 2015, Gayle Jetchick was inducted into the Aurora Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
  • Gayle Jetchick was honored with title of Woman of the Year by the Aurora Chamber in 2018.

On Havana Street in 2018

This year, we congratulate On Havana for celebrating their 10 year anniversary! We thank them for their dedication to the community.

Gayle is planning on retiring one day and has hired Chance Horiuchi as the executive director in training to take over the role. Chance brings enthusiasm and new ideas to the district. She will gracefully carry on the torch for Gayle.

We are looking forward to seeing how the area continues to improve because of the work of Gayle, Chance, the Board, residents and business owners.

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