DOWNTOWNTOWN RACINE- During Downtown Racine Corporation’s Annual State of the Downtown and Achievement Award Presentation on Thurs., Feb. 25 more than 50 people gathered via Zoom to celebrate the silver linings from 2020, recognize those who made a difference, and look ahead to 2021. 

“We are extremely proud of our accomplishments this year and the way we were able to pivot amid the COVID challenges, while still inviting people downtown in a safe manner.”  said Kelly Kruse, Executive Director.

Kruse shared Some highlights from 2020 in the areas of business development, marketing events and COVID response:

Some highlights included:

  • 10 new businesses opened in 2020 (24 in 2019 and 23 in 2018)
  • The DRC now has a social media following of over 17,000 people.
  • Downtown was marketed in a multitude of platforms which included 269,278 digital impressions, 30+ print ads, 12 radio interviews, and 6 TV segments.
  • DRC hosted 54 days of events in 2020. One notable new event was a sold out Beer and Bacon Walk.

She also noted that new attractions for 2021 include an online Valentine’s gift guide, Chili Ice Walk, and Sunday Socials on the Square. 

“This was our opportunity to share downtown’s challenges and silver linings in 2020 and celebrate the people and organizations that have made a difference. We are extremely proud of the way we were able to pivot amid the COVID challenges, while still inviting people downtown in a safe manner.”  Said Kelly Kruse, Executive Director.

Chosen from a record-breaking 60 nominations received, the winners of this year’s Downtown Achievement Awards to recognize individuals and organizations that helped excel Downtown Racine throughout 2020 were:

Downtown Showcase Award: An exciting event, person or organization that has helped attract visitors and/or residents and helped to improve the overall image of downtown as an exciting, dynamic, happening place.

Winner: Yoga Roots Racine for facilitating Bend and Brew with the DRC. In 2020 it moved it to the Marina and had on average 30 attendees per session, with as many as 60.

Corporate Citizenship Award: An individual who has been a catalyst in improving downtown; has provided service to the downtown community and has worked tirelessly to promote downtown. 

Winner: Stan and Mary Anderson, who started the Venmo Challenge Racine which helped raise $23,600 to date for locally owned downtown restaurants.

Best New Small Business Award: A new retail shop, gallery or restaurant that has captured the attention of the marketplace and helped enhance downtown. 

Winner: Taeja Vu’s on Main, owned by Tasia White and serves sultry seafood and soul.

Downtown Champion Award: A business or organization that is the ultimate citizen, supporting downtown through employment, facilities and sponsorship. 

Winner: Festival Foods, whose faithful support has made the holiday tree possible for the last several years as well as their dedication to other events such as Saturday Sounds on the Square and Racine Post Prom.

CPR Award: The redevelopment or activation of a downtown building or property that has helped enhance the overall downtown neighborhood and revitalize the area.

Winner: Smoke’d on the Water, owned by Caleb Robinson who created a relaxing destination with live music and refreshments at the boat launch all summer long.

“With so much happening and growing in Downtown Racine it is always exciting to celebrate the accomplishments of this great community,” DRC board chairman MT Boyle said. 

Those interested in viewing the event can find it on the DRC’s website, racinedowntown.com.


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