New chamber president eyes ways to improve town’s business climate
By Karen Brainard
With the start of a new year and a new role, incoming Ramona Chamber of Commerce President Bob Murray is taking a hard look at business in Ramona and sees a huge concern.
Many storefront businesses and restaurants have closed in the past couple of years.
“I want to make this a good year. We need to start thinking outside the box to get people up here,” said Murray, who
owns Java Hut on San Vicente Road in San Diego Country Estates. “We have to make Ramona more enticing, that’s for sure,” he said. “We need something more eye-catching.”
One idea that has been proposed to make the downtown more appealing is to add an arched landmark sign over Main Street, similar to what El Cajon has in its commercial district, said Murray. Such a sign is scheduled to be discussed at the Ramona Community Planning Group meeting Thursday evening in the Ramona Community Center.
Murray said he intends to address the business climate at the chamber board’s retreat on Jan. 16, when the board will plan out the entire year of events, and he hopes to gather statistics on the number of businesses that have closed in Ramona or left the chamber in recent years.
Among businesses that have shut their doors in the past couple of years are Just ‘N Time deli, Nan’s Place, Southern California Wine Co., Kenrix Sushi, All About Africa, Sandy’s Shoppe, Wrangler Dan’s, 20-20 Eyesite and, most recently, All About Yogurt. Some storefronts, such as Stallion Cigar and Ramona Interiors, have become Internet-based.
At the same time, several businesses have opened in town, and Murray said he wants to talk to those business owners to see how they are doing and discuss their outlook for the future.
Murray noted that many new businesses that have joined the chamber are Internet-based. He said regulatory fees have been roadblocks for some entrepreneurs hoping to set up shop downtown.
County Transportation Impact Fees (TIF) and Ramona Municipal Water District’s sewer mitigation and connection fees have been cost-prohibitive for some potential business owners, he said.
“We know that TIF fees were lowered, which will probably help a lot,” he said.
In October 2013, the county supervisors lowered TIF rates by as much as 80 percent for commercial structures.
Murray said he hopes to have discussions with the water board to see what can be done to lower fees and make the community more business friendly.
- Chamber accepts nominations for citizen, business of year
- Chamber accepts nominations for citizen, business, lifetime awards
- Best Decorated Business
- Eight candidates seek five seats on chamber board
- Chamber accepts board nominations for October election
Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=20313