An enthusiastic group of businesspeople and shop owners gathered at Ramona Town Hall last week at the request of the Ramona Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee. By the end of the evening, they had all decided to go out and paint the town red — red, white and blue, actually.
Carol Fowler, committee chair, started the meeting by announcing its purpose: to stimulate business in town.
“It does no good for our committee to come up with ideas to stimulate the economy here, if the merchants aren’t involved and asked for their ideas and help,” she said.
The group agreed with concepts presented and many other ideas flourished for the next hour.
The main goals are to attract the attention of tourists who might otherwise zoom through town on their way to Julian and the desert without even noticing Ramona; to attract the attention of residents who should be encouraged to spend money in their own town rather than down the hill; and to work together when events are already planned in town, to make them bigger and better, to positively affect the entire town.
“We’re good at talking about ideas, but not very good at action, though,” commented one participant.
The Economic Development Committee and this group of merchants are ready to launch their plans immediately. They have come up with something that does not require an expensive investment, doesn’t require a tedious county permit, and makes a positive statement about what Ramona is and who Ramonans are. It is the group’s intent to dress up the town in red, white and blue with each business on the Main Street and side streets displaying the U.S. flag.
It is hoped drivers will slow down, and think, “Whoa, what’s going on here?”
The group wants Ramona to quickly develop a reputation as the most patriotic town in Southern California. Businesses are encouraged to start now, and to this end, Ransom Brothers True Value Hardware has sharpened its pencils, called its suppliers, and arranged for reasonably priced flags, poles and brackets.
Another key component to the plans being launched in the next month are to dress the town in themes to compliment other events that are going on. The first opportunity to put this into play is the week of April 20, when 250 members of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Squibob Chapter, a men’s fraternal organization, are scheduled to caravan into town for the week.
This group is dedicated, among other things, to honoring historic sites and will end their stay here with the Saturday, April 25, presentation of two plaques for Ramona Town Hall. One plaque will display town hall’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places, and the other plaque is being placed by the fraternity as part of its program.
The Economic Development Committee and merchants group will promote dressing up the town in an “Old Fashioned” theme for that week. Merchants will be encouraged to wear period dress, decorate their shops, sidewalks and windows to the appropriate period (1890s). An ice-cream social will be organized, restaurants will be encouraged to offer themed specials, and everyone should listen for barbershop quartets all around town.
Music will be a key component of the themed weeks in Ramona: Country Western music for Rodeo Week in addition to the western theme, dress and decor. A barbecue anyone? A potential Art and Antiques week would have jazz music accompanying wine tasting, art displays and classic cars. The opportunities are endless, those at the meeting agreed.
Ramona business owners wanting more details on how they can participate, or who want to attend the next meeting to learn more may contact the Ramona Chamber of Commerce at 789-1311 or call Carol Fowler at 522-1777.