Downtown Parker has more than 50 shops, services, and restaurants in the downtown footprint. With more than a million residents within a 30-minute drive of downtown Parker, the concentration and diversity of options puts Parker on the same level as other regional shopping districts in communities like Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Aurora, and Centennial.
"In 2015, I had a vision of a strong merchant networking system in Downtown Parker to collaborate with all the businesses and create a vibrant downtown,” says DBA Founder and Board Member Shelli Mango. “I asked Town Councilmember Josh Rivero and the Chamber Director at the time for their assistance. We created a flyer, hit the streets, and invited all the businesses to attend a networking meeting. Approximately 50 attendees spent two hours brainstorming ideas of what we would like to accomplish together.”
A significant milestone—the acquisition of 501 C6 status in 2016, provides the alliance with valuable opportunities to further the mission of enhancing the downtown area's economic vitality.
Five board members—Omar Castillo, Ashley Nagy, Brandi Wilks, Christina Guertin, and Denise Haack—share their thoughts and vision for this passionate group of business owneers.
“The DBA is a collective voice of our business and building owners in downtown,” says Board Chair Omar Castillo. “It’s important that this group have its own representation to make sure the group as a whole is equally represented at all levels.”
Vice Chair Ashley Nagy agrees. “We serve as the voice of our downtown businesses. As business owners and managers, we understand the needs of those businesses better than anyone else. Whether it is a proposed change or an event occurring within our boundaries, we are able to offer a unique perspective that ensures the continued success of downtown businesses.”
Member at Large Christina Guertin joined after seeing how the COVID-19 shutdown hurt locally owned businesses. “After Covid, I was compelled to do whatever I could to help our resilient small business owners in the downtown area, as well as bring back some normalcy to the town,” she says. “It has been an amazing place to raise my family and I wanted to be part of ensuring that all residents—old and new—would also be able to experience what makes Parker special.”
“I was drawn to the DBA because they offered not only a sense of community, but I saw an opportunity with my specific skills to help the DBA grow and be even more successful,” adds Former Vice Chair Brandi Wilks. “I own a local business and I wanted to be more involved in my community and help support my fellow local business owners.”
Two of the DBA’s big accomplishments were bringing back two big events that perished in the wake of the pandemic: the Trick or Treat off Mainstreet and the Christmas Parade. “These events have been beloved traditions in our town for years,” says Member at Large Christina Guertin. “As our town has grown, so have the scope of both events. The Parade used to be solely a horse carriage parade. Considering our history is heavily steeped in the equine community, it was important for us to keep this aspect as a nod to our original tradition, but we expanded it to include businesses, nonprofits and high school marching bands to allow more community involvement.
For Member at Large Denise Haack, bringing back traditions like the parade was a big reason for her involvement. “I wanted to join the DBA to help protect our town’s heritage. I feel that the hometown Christmas Parade needed to be resurrected. It is such a huge part of our community, and celebrating all the different people and groups that make the Town of Parker feel like home is so important.”
The Downtown Business Alliance is funded through membership dues and its annual golf tournament. “The golf tournament is our only fundraiser for the year, and the proceeds from this event go directly to fund the Trunk or Treat off Mainstreet and the Christmas Parade,” explains Brandi.
To learn more about the Downtown Business Alliance or become a member, visit downtownparker.com.