Under the leadership of Esperanza’s Junior Corridor Manager Tempest Carter and Robin Kohles of the Community Design Collaborative’s rStore program, 6 businesses will have the opportunity of a lifetime. The Community Design Collaborative pairs businesses with architects looking to do pro bono work. Esperanza has garnered this partnership with the Community Design Collaborative through a competitive grant process. Businesses ranging from a day care center to a chocolate factory will receive a design consultation, architectural renderings, and cost break down at no cost to the business owners.
After gathering vital information about the participating business, Tempest Carter will establish a date for an rStore Design Day. Prior to this day, the architects will be informed about the types of business served and the neighborhood aesthetic. During the Design Day, architects will meet with owners and discuss the needs and taste of the owner. The architects will counsel owners on design trends and how to incorporate color and materials into a design that will not only be visually pleasing but drive business. After the design day, Architects will work on the renderings and present the designs and costs breakdowns to their clients.
Robin Kohles serves as a manager during this period and advises architects on the best designs. The estimated costs of services rendered are over $20, 000. The consultations and renderings offer business owners invaluable guidance on how design improves their bottom line. They can then take the renderings to apply for the Commerce Department Storefront Improvement Program. This program matches city funds with money put up from the business owner. They will match as much as $14,000 dollars for corner properties that participate in the program. Business owners also can use the renderings to garner outside investments from banks and other sources. Past participants in the Community Design Collaborative include Indios Auto Shop. Not only did business nearly double but they were able to add two new staff positions. Programs like rStore not only improve the economic vitality of our commercial corridors, but also improve the quality of life for Hunting Park residents. Non-profits like Esperanza are essential connectors bridging small businesses with such services that they would not be able to afford otherwise.