Since this is my first entry for the Albany Buzz blog, and what might be your first impression of me, I thought I might start it off by talking about first impressions. Needless to say, first impressions will set the tone for a relationship whether it is professional or social and we can apply similar principles to businesses, districts, neighborhoods, and even our homes. For first time visitors to Lark Street as well as repeat guests, the impressions of Lark Street overwhelmingly seem to focus on both the beautiful historical buildings and brownstones and the overall vibe of the district as being reminiscent of Greenwich Village or SOHO in New York City.
Along with being clean and safe, a friendly and welcoming atmosphere is imperative in bringing visitors back to a business or business district. Center Square is a neighborhood where folks know most, if not all of their neighbors, familiar faces are greeted by locals, and where anyone can feel welcome. This past LarkFEST in September, a representative from a major sponsor came to the area and spent about a week in the Center Square Neighborhood in support of the event. At the end of her stay she expressed her excitement that after less than a week she was treated like a "VIP" at every Lark Street establishment she visited; not because of her position as a LarkFEST Sponsor, but because she was a new and prominent face in the neighborhood, walking to the local coffee shop every morning and enjoying a variety of our fabulous restaurants each evening. She had in just a short week, become 'one of us.' My earliest impressions of Lark Street were just that; welcoming and friendly, and accessible to anyone.
A main street or downtown area that is flush with businesses, both new and long-standing, lend to the impression of a thriving business community which in turn encourages additional commercial activity. A quick stroll or drive down Lark Street will show how much growth is currently happening in the neighborhood. In just the past year, the Lark Street Business District has seen the opening of several new businesses including Caffe Vero, Subway, NOHO Pizza, Jewel of India, OEN Services, Kinnarree, Lifestyles Vegetarian Juice Bar, Madison Corner Deli, Shocker Tattoo, and several more. Additionally, late 2011 and early 2012 are anticipating the opening of Shogun Sushi, Alacrity Frameworks, and two other retail spaces. I invite you to visit our beloved street, in the Heart of Albany, and discover something new. We hope to make a good impression.