Dagsboro: Community unity goal of proposed business alliance

Dagsboro Days coffee shop on Main Street is one of the newer businesses in the town of Dagsboro.

DAGSBORO — Growth in Dagsboro is everybody’s business.

So say facilitators in a movement to establish a business alliance.

As proposed, the Dagsboro Business Alliance won’t be cast from the traditional chamber of commerce mold. It will instill efforts for businesses to work together in concert with town government and the community.

“It’s getting businesses in Dagsboro to support one another. There is a lot of businesses in Dagsboro,” said Lisa Blanchette, co-owner of A-LERT Motivations. “We’re not going to be a chamber.”

“I think what is also exciting about that is that not being a chamber … we’re open to having community partners,” said Audrey Miller of Dagsboro Days coffee shop. “It doesn’t have to be businesses. It doesn’t have to be a store-front business on Main Street. I mean I am lucky I am that, but a lot of people are not and don’t get to mingle with others the same way.”

Art Blanchette, Ms. Blanchette’s husband, has done a lot of footwork in connecting with area businesses.

“One of things we want to keep good about it is that I think in a lot of chambers you almost have an adversarial thing, with the chamber and government,” said Mr. Blanchette. “We’re trying to make sure it doesn’t do that. Right now, we are in that friendly term.”

The seed for business alliance discussion was planted several months ago when the Dagsboro Mayor Brian Baull called a meeting of local business owners to discuss things such as businesses working more with the town.

“We just decided that there was no reason for us to meet and kind of introduce ourselves to each for the first time and get riled up about things and then drop it and not talk about it anymore,” said Ms. Miller. “We wanted to also be able to push past the things that maybe were challengers as businesses but then really be able to embrace one another and create good things out the things that we were experiencing.”

Dana Miller, Audrey’s mother and co-owner of Dagsboro Days, urged businesses to keep the conversation going.

“So, we started having monthly business association meetings,” said Audrey Miller. “Then we actually opened it up to not just Dagsboro town limits but anyone in 19939 zip-code. Well, really, why not? We figured we are all Dagsboro, and we’re all a part of this town whether we are in town limits or not. We talked about three or four points. One of those was community events.”

The business community has spearheaded the movement for Dagsboro’s first National Night Out event, set for Tuesday, Aug. 7.

“I think the discussion was to have a community event and Art came up with the idea because we had been in other communities,” said Ms. Blanchette. “We had seen this event in other communities. We thought that would be a good one to tie into because it’s an existing event and just use that as a kickoff event for the business owners to be sponsors of.”

In a couple months, the business alliance could be a reality.

“We’re going to try and get a group going,” said Ms. Blanchette. “We’re going to meet in September to see about formally organizing.”

Some businesses have already taken an active role in the community. First Choice Services, a damage restoration business, sponsored an Easter Egg Hunt and a popular Trunk or Treat Halloween event.

Alliance organizers note Dagsboro seems poised to rid its reputation as a small-town crossroads for tourists traveling SR. 20 and SR 26 to and from south coastal beach vacation destinations such as Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island.

Social media looms as a strong alliance ally.

Click Shop Dagsboro for information on Night Out and businesses.

There is a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shopdagsboro/.

“That was one of our goals with DBA. We figured that the way the world is today, social media can do a whole lot for you, especially in a business — especially like we were saying making Dagsboro more of a pass-thru town,” said Audrey Miller. “Tourists are very social media savvy. They are looking for what they want to do before they plan their trip.”

“The town is starting to grow so much. We’ve got the Botanic Gardens coming in. There are new businesses coming into town. The mayor wanted to really get the businesses to work more with the town and have Dagsboro seem more business-friendly and try to make Dagsboro more than just a pass-thru town, but a place where people come here to shop and dine,” said Ms. Blanchette. “It’s never going to boom. It’s always going to stay a nice small town but there is a lot of nice things, with the Clayton Theatre, the historic features like Prince George’s Chapel. It’s starting to develop its own little personality as a very unique, small town.”

“It feels like people have just been waiting for this. It takes a few people to make it happen,” said Audrey Miller. “You have to take a little more initiative in the beginning but now that it is happening everybody is embracing it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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