They’ve spent almost a year gaining momentum, and now they want you to know who they are.
The Lowest Greenville Collective is a business association, but those involved insist it’s more than that.
“The old associations were more focused on how to get more people down here,” says Sammy Mandell, owner of Greenville Avenue Pizza Company. “This is more focused on community engagement and relationship building.”
Jessica Burnham, who has played a huge part in creating the collective, says it “exists to capture the unified voice of the businesses on Lowest Greenville from Belmont to Ross and to open up communication from the businesses to the surrounding neighborhoods and with the city at large.”
The mission sometimes catches people off guard, Burnham says, because some neighbors believe the collective was created as a way for the businesses to band together against the neighborhoods. But Burnham insists the businesses on Lowest Greenville consider themselves to be a part of the neighborhood.
“That’s the goal, and that has always been the goal since the first meeting,” Burnham says.
Burnham began talking with business owners on Lowest Greenville a couple of years ago, after the street had undergone a major renovation. They began by nailing down the main objectives — cleanliness, traffic, safety and business collaboration.
“I think it was easy to point out things that could be done that would be more easily done as a group,” explains Lindsay Dyer of Blind Butcher.
After team building from within, the collective began reaching out. In 2014, Greenville Avenue Pizza Company hosted Slices for Supplies to raise money and supplies for Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary, and HG Sply Co. partnered with East Dallas-based nonprofit Interfaith Housing Coalition to create a garden. The Truck Yard hosted a day of community-wide trash pickup.
The collective hosted a fall festival in November, and Burnham is working to organize a 52 Weeks of Giving initiative or 12 Months of Giving — whichever happens first.
“What I see for this year is something that people are going to take note of,” says Elias Pope, the owner of HG Sply Co. and Social Mechanics. “This is how businesses — especially in a neighborhood setting — should interact.”
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