Two weeks ago, we hosted a small group of members at The Northman on the Riverwalk for our first in-person networking event since the winter. I will admit, I was concerned our ability to connect would be hampered by the restrictions we put in place to help keep us safe, but we elbow bumped and smiled wide under our masks. Put simply, it was good to be together.
Unfortunately, it seems being together is going to be increasingly more difficult as the number of COVID-19 cases spike and new health restrictions take effect. We know that many of you are deeply negatively impacted. We are committed to find ways to work with other industry organizations and allies to advocate for sensible regulations that mitigate the spread of the virus without destroying our businesses in the process.
Despite these disappointing events, there are signs of life in the district:
- There are lines at many retailers and weekend foot traffic is up on North Michigan Avenue.
- We have welcomed two new retail members in the past month, Spirits & Spice and The RealReal, while the pop-up FRIENDS Experience is driving record engagement on com.
- There is an uptick in hotel occupancy and room reservations for the holiday season.
- In partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Art on theMART will resume projections on Thursday, November 12 with a new program featuring Monet and Chicago at the Art Institute.
Our togetherness gives me hope. In a few weeks, the tree lights will turn on for The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. We will shine as brightly as we can through the holiday season and through the new year.
We are welcoming major cultural and community partners home to The Mag Mile for the holidays for the first time. Be on the lookout for festive window displays in vacant storefronts, including by Association Board members Tony Abruscato (Get Growing Foundation) and Tony Karman (EXPO Chicago).
We want to know what is happening at your business this holiday season; and we will be hosting a demonstration via Zoom so you can add to our calendar of events and keep people coming to the Avenue and our magnificent district.
The Magnificent Mile Association is working every day to make sure our community is safe and welcoming for all, and our work is far from over. I promise you that we will continue to do everything we can to support you, bolster your business with resources and tools, and connect you with other members who are eager to build back stronger than before.
President & CEO