By Sarah Shurge – It can be beneficial with the start of a new year to reflect on significant moments from the year that just passed. Throughout the year, the City of Wayne Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has partnered with many businesses and sponsored many events for the City of Wayne.
As a new year begins, it’s time to bring their involvement into the spotlight and give them the recognition they truly deserve.
The DDA Administration and Board of Directors consist of: Chairman: James Demmer with Jack Demmer Ford; Vice-Chair: Kim White-Jenkins with Helium Studio; Secretary/Treasurer: Scott Gocaj with US-12 Bar and Grill; John Rhaesa the City of Wayne Mayor; Resident: Piere-La‘Shaye Walker; David Steinhauer with Professional Insurance; Vince Law with Law Auto Sales; and Tiffany Walker with Moonlit Mystic. The Administration is: Lori B. Gouin the DDA Director and Lisa Kubany the Director of Marketing and Events.
The DDA has many purposes, some of which are to correct and prevent deterioration of business districts, promote economic growth and revitalization, and to encourage historic preservation. The goal is to bring business into the City of Wayne and do it in a fun and exciting way for the public.
In 2021, the DDA hired Lisa Kubany to serve as the Marketing and Events Director.
“Having Lisa here has given us [the DDA] the ability to provide more community events to bring people into the downtown,” said Gouin.
Many new events were added in 2022 such as Food Trucks in the Park, an Egg-Cellent Adventure, and Christmas in July. In October, there was Rocktober Fest, a partnership with the Rotary Club of Wayne, and Rocktober Fest Cornhole tournament sponsored by Michigan’s Finest and US-12.
Another new event was Family Movie Night in the Park with a backpack giveaway. Backpacks were donated by State Representative Kevin Coleman and the Michigan Railroads Association. Supplies for 100 backpacks were donated by Wayne resident Chris Miller, and Wayne-Westland Schools delivered 100 additional backpacks at the event.
State Wayne and the DDA donated popcorn for the event and Smoke House Fire Trailer was on site offering fire safety and training.
“That’s the mission of the DDA, to create reasons for people to come to the downtown area. With the new events, we fulfilled that goal. Lisa has allowed us to create those events,” said Gouin.
Kubany plays a huge role in one of the annual events the City of Wayne always looks forward to: Cruisin’ US12.
The 16th annual US12 Car Cruise added Pit Stops throughout Downtown Wayne for the second year in a row. The pit stops included food trucks, activities, and entertainment. The DDA served as a partner with the businesses to help with the organization of all the extra activities.
“The cruise was successful this year and we’re looking forward to making even more positive changes next year,” said Gouin.
Something you have to experience in Downtown Wayne are the Concerts in Goudy Park. The free summer concerts are made possible through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Wayne.
“The concerts are always a huge success. They get bigger every year,” said Gouin.
The DDA was able to create a relationship with the Knights of Columbus Notre Dame Council 3021 in 2021. The Knights have hosted the Open-Air Christmas Market event for the past two years and the DDA has proudly sponsored this event each year.
Another huge event the DDA was involved with was the Downtown Wayne “Makers Market” that opened in 2021.
“The whole idea behind this was giving an opportunity for makers in Wayne to grow their business. We [the DDA] hope they can make enough connections to create a customer-base and be able to open up their own business in the city,” said Gouin.
The purpose of the Market is to support small business, while also providing a unique shopping experience that draws shoppers into the Downtown.
“Big changes are coming to the market that will be announced at the end of January,” said Gouin. “Be on the lookout for new and exciting information on that.”
The Makers Market proved to be successful and cultivated a new store-front business in 2022, Moonlit Mystic owned by Tiffany Walker, new business owner and 2022 Emerging Business of the Year Award winner.
“The whole purpose of the market is to cultivate, and we did achieve that goal. That was a huge success,” said Gouin.
A “Small Business Saturday” event was introduced in 2021 and hosted by the DDA at the Makers Market. This continued in 2022.
The DDA also hosted the Gold Box giveaway, the Passport Program, VIP Shopping Experience, and the Holiday Market Campaign $100 Gift Away.
The City of Wayne welcomed 26 new businesses in 2022 that submitted zoning applications: Henrys Service Center (New Owner), Discount Auto Complete (New Owner), Wing Stop, Wayne Westland PT, Moonlit Mystic LLCX, Taste the Smoke, Tiny Stepping Stones Childcare, China Garden (New Owner), Chic Dreams Events Planning & Design Studio, TBI Behavioral & Residential Consultants, Emmanuel Faith Outreach, Weddings by Lama, Dan’s Steam Cleaning, Prime One Urgent Care, Tsolorry Auto (wholesaler), Sunshine Construction, Tire Stop Storage Facility, Destiny’s Children, Snazzy (ice cream shop), PBA Performance, Wayne Truck Stop (BP), Tuckerville, LLC (Clinic), Main Auto Deal, Chemistry Banquet Hall, New Life Church Metro Detroit, Inc., and U&A Auto Sales.
“We also had a record this year with seven site plans total (redevelopment of site or reconstruction). Since I joined in January 2017, we normally have three or four in a normal year,” said Gouin. “People are seeking out the City of Wayne to start their business which is what we are striving for. It’s exciting.”
The DDA also continues to collaborate with the Wayne Historical Society and sponsored the annual Holiday Night at the Museum. The event has become much more than just a tree lighting and seeing Santa.
“That event was huge. Our attendance was significantly higher this year than it was last year,” said Gouin. “We had a new twist; Hillcrest Church surprised everyone with fireworks at the same time we lit the tree.”
The Facade Improvement Grant was used again in 2022 and 10 businesses took advantage of the grant for a new awning.
“We [the DDA] just had a meeting and put the plan together for this upcoming year. We met all of the goals for last year and we’re looking forward to a better year this year,” said Gouin.
If you are interested in more information about the Markers Market or any other event the DDA has sponsored or hosted, please contact Lori Gouin, City of Wayne DDA Director, at (734)722-2002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.