Members Blog. This is the place where members of DMBA share information. Non-members are welcome to read. Our Dot Com site will be open soon.
is not affiliated with or a part of any other organization. We are an independent group of business owners who have come together to make a difference in our businesses and in our community.
Be a part of DMBA. Join in the conversation. Join in the fun.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Questions regarding insurance.

To Andy Walker:
We did a lot of events with Make It Meadville. Do you know if those events needed to be covered by a private insurance policy?

The question of insurance has come up in regards to the things that DMBA is doing. Like the Quarter program that Tom implemented. And the Zombie Walk. This would have been no different than Johnny's Drive-In. Did Make It Meadville get private insurance for that?

From Viki Allin

To Viki Allin
Good morning, Viki.
Make It Meadville did NOT have private insurance.  Any insurance guy or lawyer will tell you that you should.  The challenge, of course, is that Make It Meadville or now DMBA was never developed to a formal  organization with bylaws, officers, or legal status (501 c3, for example).
For Johnny’s Drive-In, one might argue that any liability claims that might have arises would have become the responsibility of the Market Grille (which they wouldn’t like) or the City (which pays for liability insurance there because they own it).  If an insurance company wanted to fight a claim, they would certainly look toward the policies of other responsible parties.
I don’t see any liability in the Meter Feeder program, but the Zombie Walk could be a different story.  Again, if there was a liability claim against any one participating business or the City, most likely their insurance company would attempt to deflect the claim.
I’m not sure it should be a deal breaker, but worthy of conversation.  I’ll be curious to learn what you hear back from the law and insurance guys.
From, Andy Walker
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk
City of Meadville
894 Diamond Park
Meadville, PA  16335

Ph: (814) 724-6000

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dot Com

I contacted Andy Walker who then contacted Jill Groves about the availability of the name, Make It Meadville.  They both said we could that name for our Dot Com site if we want.
So I am putting it out there.
According to Andy's email:
"I see no reason why the “Make It Meadville” name cannot be used as part of or in place of the Downtown Meadville Business Alliance.  Historically (mid-to-late 80’s), it was the name of the Main Street Program effort when Meadville was first funded by the Commonwealth of PA to employ a Main Street Manager."
This name has a history and it's associated with efforts to improve the downtown.
I just wanted to put this out there as an option. Tim is working on the design and content of our Dot Com web site. I am finding this all very exciting.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Map And Web Site Of Meadville!!!

Great news! Tim Kirk who owns Meadville Fine Art, has volunteered to create an inclusive map of downtown Meadville, for DMBA. AND, OUR DOT COM WEB SITE!!! Thank you so much! Having a map with all that Meadville has to offer will be a great tool for every business. And the web site is icing on the cake.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Zombie Walk - October 19th 2013

Why a Zombie Walk? People like to dress up! They are no longer allowed to go Trick or Treating. CosPlay is held in far off cities and it costs a lot of money to go to one of those conventions. And, it's just plain fun. Whole families get involved in it.

Once we get all those people into the downtown, we want to get them into our establishments. Each theater needs to have something to offer all these people. Stores can have discounts or pass out candy.

Each business can have something totally unique to offer.

This is the First Annual Zombie Walk so there will be a bit of a learning curve and that's ok. It won't be perfect! But it's a start for the DMBA. To get people INSIDE our businesses. 

And who ever is in charge of weather, needs to make it a beautiful autumn day!

And remember, this is also a fund raiser. Each Zombies need to bring canned goods for the Food Bank. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

12 Hour Meters On The 6th Level Of The Market Square Ramp

This morning I went up to the 6th level of the parking structure, where I occasionally park when I know my husband is going to be working longer than 5 hours. He and I share a rented space and I usually put quarters into a 5 hour meter on the 4th level.

Because of our vacation, he has had to work much longer and I have been using the 12 hour meters on the 6th level. At the meeting I discussed the fact that the Meter Men were putting letters in my car wiper blades telling me to rent a space and move my car out of the metered areas to allow parking for customers to park.

There are several part time employees that use these 12 hour meters.

After calling the city and asking why they had removed the 12 hour meters and replaced them with 3 hour meters, I received this response.

Good afternoon, Viki.

I followed up with Joe Chriest (copied here) and Charlie Cervone from our Public Works Department to review the recent meter changes.  Four of the five 12-hour meters that were on the top deck of the Market Square Ramp were moved to South Main Street (near its intersection with Arch Street) to create longer term parking options there, the need for which was identified by the parking survey.  One 12-hour meter remains on the top deck at this time.  At the time these meters were moved, nine new 5-hour meters were installed on the top deck of the Market Square ramp to accommodate longer term parking needs.  Charlie Cervone reports that twelve new 12-hour meters have been ordered and are expected to arrive within the next two weeks.  When these arrive, several of them will be re- installed on the top deck of the Market Square garage. Recognizing that several part-timers rely on the longer-than-5-hour meters, we will ask our parking enforcement officers not to enforce meter feeders on the top deck until the new 12-hour meters are installed.


On a side note, I did receive an inquiry from Beth Huchert (sp?) at Tattered Corners regarding the whereabouts of the 12-hour meters.  I will let her know that four have been relocated to South Main Street.

Andy Walker
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk

City of Meadville
894 Diamond Park
Meadville, PA  16335

Ph: (814) 724-6000

“Meadville starts with ME!” Be the positive change you want to see in our City.


My Reply:
Thank you for your reply.

(Charlie Cervone reports that twelve new 12-hour meters have been ordered and are expected to arrive within the next two weeks.  When these arrive, several of them will be re- installed on the top deck of the Market Square garage)

Personally, I do not understand the logic of taking away meters that are being used by one group of people to give it to another group of people. If the employees on South Main have never had 12 hour meters, surly 'they' could have waited the two weeks for the arrival of the new meters.


And Andy replyed:
It is my understanding that the new 5-hour meters that were installed were initially thought to be 12-hour meters. When it was figured out that they were only 5-hour meters, the plan to locate 12-hour meters on South Main Street had already been communicated to City Council and was blessed by them…in an honest attempt  to create additional longer term parking options in that part of town.  Since the decision had already been made to locate 12-hour meters on South Main Street, four 12-hour meters from the top deck of the Market Square parking garage were “borrowed” to make that happen.  As referenced in my earlier email,  12 more 12-hour meters are on their way, several of which will be located on the top deck of the Market Square parking garage. 

I just hung up from Beth Huchert a few minutes ago.  She requested that we consider placing a few 12-hour meters on lower decks so that those spaces will still be available in the winter months when snow or snow piles prevent top deck spaces from being available. Joe and I will consider that request as well. 

Andy Walker
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk

City of Meadville
894 Diamond Park
Meadville, PA  16335

“Meadville starts with ME!” Be the positive change you want to see in our City.

Zombie Walk & Dot Com

Hello DMBA members,
I would like to start working on our NEW Business Directory website. I would like you to look again at the websites we that we reviewed during our meeting.
Think Shadyside -
Nevada City Chamber -
(Ours will not be that elaborate, because we will be using a FREE host with limited templates.)
This Dot Com will be an 'inclusive' site with ALL of the businesses in Meadville's Downtown listed. Member listings will have hotlinks to either their Dot Com or to a social media site of their choosing. Member listings will also include street addresses and phone numbers.
We need a name!
My Meadville
Our Town Meadville
______________ Meadville
Our next meeting will be the second Thursday in September at 6:00 pm. Please bring your ideas to the meeting.

Zombie Walk
This will be a fund raiser for the local food bank. Participants will dress up like Zombies and walk the streets of Meadville. Zombies will bring cans of food with them and drop them off at the starting point of the walk.
If you go to our blog you will see a post that describes the Zombie Walk and what is required. The path will need to be discussed. Maybe starting at the Mall, walking up Center to Walnut, up Walnut to the Diamond. Down Chestnut to Park. This is where it gets tricky. We want them to walk in front of the Movie Theater and in front of @ the bank then back down Chestnut to in front of Tattered Corners then down Market so it goes in front of the Whole Darn Thing and then back up Market to walk in front of Confections Of A Cake Lover. In front of the Market House, back down Chestnut, and back to the Mall.
That was a big run-on sentence! We will need to discuss it with a map at the next meeting.
I also want to bring back 'Drop & Shop'. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we want people to come to Downtown Meadville to start their Christmas Shopping before Black Friday. The Drop aspect of 'Drop & Shop' is that people would drop of coats and canned goods to go to the Center For Family Services.
I think you are seeing the pattern. We promote our businesses and at the same time, we are supporting the local 'Non-Profits'.
One more thing. Everyone on this list needs to recruit new members. Have any new members send an email to

On the topic of parking. Two ideas were brought to me this morning.
1)  Businesses like the Pampered Palette and Hagen's Business Supplies have a need for a 'Vendor Parking Pass'. These businesses would have to meet certain requirements and there would need to be a form for them to fill out with the city. The idea is a reasonable one and much needed by those businesses the make frequent deliveries in the downtown.
2) Participating businesses would offer their customers a reimbursement for the meter. 25 cents. This would work for certain businesses that are not high volume. Many businesses already do this and it would be a great idea to have that in participating store fronts with the DMBA logo incorporated into the design of the flyer.
Please print this email out and hand it out to any potential new member. It will show them what this organization is all about.
Viki Allin
Creative Crust Bakery

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zombie Walk Handbook

Zombie Walk Handbook

What is a Zombie Walk?
zombie walk is an organized public gathering of two or more people who dress up in zombie costumes and make up. Usually taking place in an urban centre, the participants make their way around the city streets and through shopping malls in a somewhat orderly fashion and often limping and gnawing their way towards a local cemetery (or movie theater).
During the event participants are encouraged to remain in character as zombies and to communicate only in a manner consistent with zombies (such as grunts, groans and slurred moans calling for “brains”.)
The main objectives of your zombie walk are to 1) give the participants a fun, safe event and 2) to collect food for your local food bank.

If you would like to organize a zombie walk in your area, here are some guidelines*

Recruit Volunteers
Herding large groups of zombies is not a one-person job.  Network with like-minded volunteers in your area who can be trusted to take your event seriously. The promoter/organizer of the event will be ultimately responsible for any misconduct or damaged property.

Select Location/Route
Decide on where and when you want your zombie walk to start and end because you're going to need permission regardless of whether its publicly or privately owned property.  A zombie walk needs a safe route with as few street-crossings and obstacles as possible.  Public parks have good potential for zombie walks. Other venues include parking lots, malls, and low-traffic business districts.  It is safest to hold a zombie walk before dusk.  Make sure your participants know what time to arrive and when the walk actually begins.  In most cases, participating zombies should be able to drop off non-perishable food items at a designated site before the walk begins.

Get Permission
For private property (ex. a mall or shopping center), you'll probably have to enter into a contract with the owner.  For public property, a permit will most likely be needed.  In either case, it is strongly recommended that the event is insured.  Many companies insure events, here's one with pretty good rates: .  Notify your local food bank and see what kind of help they can offer (as your event should benefit them). Also, talk to your local police department: they can direct you through the right channels to obtain a permit and will be appreciative that you've alerted to them of your intentions.  They should be especially helpful knowing that your event will benefit local food banks..

Find Sponsors
You will need money for promotion, insurance, incidentals, etc.  This is where you'll have to get creative!  Go to local businesses- preferably places with a single owner who you can interact with on a personal level.  Sell your potential sponsor by reminding them that this a charity event that attracts a lot of participants and often gets attention from local media.  Decide on what you're going to give your sponsor in exchange for their patronage.  Suggested deliverables can include signage at the event, special mention in print, radio, web or television ads, complimentary exhibit space (ie. a booth at the event), name & logo included on any event merchandise, etc.  Once again, get CREATIVE and ask your potential sponsor what you can do for them.

The simplest way to promote an event is word of mouth.  Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are great tools to plug your zombie walk.  Using these sites can help you recruit volunteers to form a street team.  Put together a flashy poster and have your street team cover the area with it.  The flier artwork can also be your "eye-catching" picture on your social media event site- make the flier accessible to be printed via the web and encourage people to print and flier.  You can always use some of your sponsor funds to pay for advertising as well.  If possible, seek out a local tv personality (ie. a newscaster or even better, horror host!) and try to get them involved with the event.  This would likely get you plenty of on-air mentions and a local celebrity to officiate your zombie walk.

Day of Event
Have your volunteers rallied and organized at least an hour before you expect your first zombie.  There are many jobs for volunteers!  These can include: food collection, registration table (we suggest printing out our registration form if you intend to count your participants and submitting the numbers to Guinness), crowd control, and clean-up following the event.  You'll need somebody to "lead" the zombies, whether this is yourself or a local celebrity.  We strongly suggest purchasing a bullhorn- use this or any other public address system to read the Zombie Rules of Conduct to your participants before the start of your walk. 

The Walk
It's a good idea to have your "leader" coach your zombies in the arts of shambling, moaning, and crying for brains before departing.  Let them know that staying in character rather than laughing and taking pictures makes the event a more realistic reenactment of their favorite zombie films.  Stress that they should be on their best behavior- this is a charity event and the local media is watching.  During the walk, have volunteers monitoring zombie behavior.  If a zombie is becoming too rowdy, use the bullhorn to keep them in check. When you reach your destination, have everyone pose for a photo, thank them, and politely tell them to disperse. Congratulations, you just organized a successful charity zombie walk!

The Aftermath
Zombie walks can be messy. This is where your volunteers will show you how devoted to the cause they are: the clean up. Even if you don't plan on organizing another zombie walk, please clean up any fake blood, body parts, and miscellaneous debris left behind. Once again, you might save yourself some aggravation by reminding the zombies not to litter before you start the walk.

Thank everyone who volunteered, thank your sponsors in writing and let then know you will need them again next year. Thank everyone who helped. And thank you!

*Disclaimer: These are only guidelines. Local organizers are solely responsible for their events.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

08-08-13 Meeting Minutes.

This was a true round table discussion about the topics that affect our businesses and our town.

Downtown Meadville Business Alliance
Attendance for the meeting held on 08-0813

Tom Collard / Tom's Train Terminal
Rich Thomas / TechBox
Brian Byers / TechBox
Dan Hunter / Cobblestone
Sandy Cheropovich / Sandy's Art Works
Nick Cheropovich / Sandy's Sign Works
Sarah Chapp / Confections Of A Cake Lover
Viki Allin / Creative Crust
Tim Kirk / Meadville Fine Art
Mary Kirk / Meadville Fine Art

• Facebook, Blog site, Web site.
-  Everyone is going to work on a name for the public web site.
-  Everyone is going to LIKE the Facebook page to get more people to LIKE the Facebook page.

-  All agreed that we need more members and everyone is going to work on making it bigger.

After a lengthy round table discussion the members that were present, came up with these solutions to the downtown businesses. These solutions will insure a vital and vibrant downtown commercial district.
• A ‘Customer Parking Only’ zone that is in the heart of the business district. (The meters in these areas would be painted a different color.) *
• Long term, 12 hour meters to accommodate part time employees.
• A tier system for tickets. Violating the ‘Customer Parking Only’ zone would be higher ($30.00) than customers. Regular expired meter would be $7.00.
• Changing the hours that the meters are enforced from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. to 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
• A clear and concise definition for validating customers tickets.
• Business owners that need to park near their businesses for Loading And Unloading, need to get a uniform yearly pass to display in their window during times of Loading And Unloading.
• A clear definition of the rules of conduct for the Meter Men.

*All agreed that the 'Customer Parking Only' zone would run along Chestnut from Main to Water.
Along Park Avenue from W. Center to Arch. Along Market from W. Center to Arch.
Along Water from Walnut to Arch.

** We were unclear as to how the ‘Business Sponsored’ 15 minute spaces would work as far as enforcement goes. We need to look into this a bit more.

We also talked about the business owners that allow their employees to park in prime customer parking spaces.
What 'IS' the current policy of validating the parking tickets.
The conduct of the meter men.
The state of the Market Square parking ramp. It being well lit and having cameras in it.

Other Topics Discussed.
• How different cities handle their parking issues.
-  Franklin was brought up. We talked about the hand held devices their meter men had at their disposal to ticket meter feeders.

• Maps.
-  We talked about having a PDF map that anyone can print out and having a place mat map with advertising. Along with that discussion was the fact that all of us end up pointing out where everything is to customers that are visiting downtown. And, city council probably doesn't realize how much retail there is in this town.

• Advertising.
-  We talked about the cost of advertising and the different venues that help each of our businesses.

• More retail businesses.
-  The cost of the store fronts versus the low customer base was a big issue.

• The heavy handed way in which the City Of Meadville is dealing with all of us.
-  Meeting with Hovis with the cities lawyer there.
-  Not replying to questions from businesses owners or potential new business people.
-  Doing what they want regardless of what the business owners and citizens want and need.
-  Business owners that were afraid to come to the DMBA meeting for fear of retribution. This was a recurring theme and several business owners were mentioned.

• We discussed how we would approach sending our needs to city officials. The consensus was that ALL members would personally sign every letter that went to the city.

• We talked about getting a lot of media involved. (TV and Radio) to get any message we want out there.

• Several businesses want to participate but are afraid of retribution from some aspect of the city. This needs to be discussed further!

• The next meeting will be on the second Thursday of September and there will be Facebook, blog and email correspondence between now and then to determine the location.

After meeting chit chat:
DMBA will be holding 2 events. This is very exciting!

1)  There will be a Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition. It will have 2 categories, amateur and professional. We want to have it in the Gallery at Council On The Arts. The date is yet to be determined. Either October 24th or November 2nd.

2)  A Zombie Walk! On November 2nd, the DMBA will be sponsoring the 1st Annual Zombie Walk. We will lay out a course through Meadville. If someone comes into a business, dressed up like a Zombie, that is participating in the Zombie Walk, that person will get a token gift or 10% off their purchase. Each business will decide how they want to participate.

This could be an all day event where Zombies walk when they want to or it could have a designated time frame. To be discussed.

Members List as of 8-10-13

DMBA Members List:

Creative Crust
Sandy's Artworks
Sandy's Signworks
Tech box
Tattered Corners
Miller's Brothers Staffing
Confections Of A Cake Lover
Save Room For Dessert
Whole Darn Thing
Cobblestone Cottage And Gifts
Tom's Train Terminal
Meadville Fine Art
Bill Lawrence Studio
Meadville Council On The Arts
Market House Grille
Park Avenue Cinema