MSAA General Membership Meeting, Thursday, November 3rd, 8am at annarbor.com, corner of E. Liberty and Fifth

MAIN STREET AREA ASSOCIATION MINUTES
November 3, 2011

Those present: Nancy Shore, Get Down Town; Caroline King, Conor O’Neills; Chris DeRuyver, Affinity Wealth Solutions; Carl Ent, Bank of Ann Arbor; Pippa Creffield, Abracadabra; Elmo Morales, Elmo’s; Ken Magee, Ann Arbor Magic Shop; Nina, Acme Mercantile; Matt Rogers and Bobby Mitchell, The Onion; Niki Tracy, Relax Station; Jen DeGregorio, Ann Arbor.com, Marianne James, The Ark; Veronique Liem, Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge; Sydney Hawkins, Ann Arbor CVB; Kim Birkle, Wireless Zone; Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.

Board Treasurer, Chris DeRuyver: Starts Meeting with Introductions

Ann Arbor.com, Matt Kraner: Update and Open Forum
Annarbor.com is going strong and still growing. They have a growing number of comments and conversations around their articles. Matt introduces some Annarbor.com employees and opens the floor for questions and comments from business owners regarding the news source.
-“When will you be going mobile?” There is lots of discussion regarding this issue. Currently, they are considering a number of options. By 2012 we should see some Annarbor.com mobile application.
-“Is there discussion about improving the comments forum, there seems to be a lot of negativity and some people don’t feel comfortable to comment because they will be attacked.” Annarbor.com doesn’t know what they are going to do yet regarding this issue. They do have someone hired to just monitor comments. Some other things they are thinking about is expanding the number of commenter’s to dilute the problem commenter’s. Also, they would like to have their authors engaged more to keep the news story on track. Another thought is to connect Facebook to their comment portion or link user accounts so people couldn’t be as easily anonymous. Currently, if one feels the comments are negatively affecting ones business you would have to get a subpoena to find out the commenter’s name and to sue them. There are a lot of laws surrounding Freedom of Press and Privacy.
-“It seems content is aimed to get comments rather than to inform people, why not aim for more news?” Annarbor.com is writing what people are reading, they know this by the number of “clicks” each article gets. They know what is engaging their readers and they move in those directions.

City Engineer, Homayoon Pirooz: Street, Bridge, and Sidewalk Repair Millages
Our City Engineer came to discuss two millages up for election on Nov. 8th. Proposal 1: the Street and Bridge Resurfacing and Reconstruction Millage. If this millage passes it allows the City to receive grants from the government they would not otherwise be eligible for. In the last few years they received 46 million from the previous millage passing and 27 million in grants, made possible from that millage. Regarding Proposal 2, the Sidewalk Repair Millage; money received from this passing would be specifically for sidewalks already in place, not constructing new ones.

I Spy Magazine, Tim Adkins: Events Calendar

I Spy is an events and entertainment monthly magazine for Washtenaw County aimed at people in their 20s and 30s. Additionally, they are advocates and financial backers to big shows coming to our area. If you have any events or promotions that would attract their demographic please send information to Tim to put into their events calendar. tim@pakmode.com

Announcements:
Get Downtown, Nancy Shore; Get Downtown is your winter commuting experts. Go to their website to find out more information on their Winter Bike Commuting Workshops and their Essay Contest, How Will You Conquer the Cold? http://getdowntown.org/

Acme Mercantile, Nina Jergens; Acme will be celebrating 9 years of business on November 15th!

Ron Stevens, Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center; Nov. 26th is Small Business Saturday, brought to you by American Express. This is an event developed to promote small businesses and American Express. If shoppers use their American Express cards at participating businesses American Express will credit their account $25. Go to their Facebook Page for more information and promotional materials. www.facebook.com/shopsmall

Ann Arbor Thrift Shop; They are located on Washtenaw Ave. across from the Arborland Mall. They have been in business for 80 years and has no paid staff, all their profit goes to area charities. Last year they were able to put $190,000 back into the community. If you have anything to donate from your business (furniture, clothes, electronics…) please bring it to the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop.

Abracadabra; They are having an Open House tomorrow night.

MSAA, 12 Days of Giving; Main Street Area Association businesses have partnered with 12 local non profits to help support local charities and to encourage shopping local this holiday season. Shop at participating stores from Dec. 12th – 23rd. Businesses will be donating a percentage of sales, a dollar amount per sale or will be collecting customer donations benefiting one of the participating non profits on each of the 12 days. If you would like to be involved in this please email Maura. maura@mainstreetannarbor.org

Next MSAA Meeting; December 1st will be our holiday breakfast. Please bring a gift to pass. It will be at Conor O’Neills at 8am.

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