'A week's worth of beer in 2 hours': Block party in downtown SJ boosts business

Lauren Martinez Image
Friday, May 19, 2023
'A week's worth of beer in 2 hours': Block party in SJ boosts business
Community members and local owners were happy to see downtown San Jose alive during a community block party that featured live music, art, and more than 100 businesses.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Downtown San Jose came alive on Thursday night during a community block party.

Live music, art, and more than 100 local businesses were brought together by the non-profit Urban Vibrancy Institute. UVI worked with other community organizations aimed at rejuvenating downtown.

Alexander Stettinski, CEO of the San Jose Downtown Association, said this kind of activation is what downtown needs.

"This is all put together by stakeholders, this is a complete volunteer event and I think this is amazing," Stettinski said.

Jerry Wang has lived in downtown San Jose for 10 years.

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The inaugural Friday night market will include South Asian music, dancing, and street food with the hopes of transforming downtown into an arts and culture destination.

"This is kind of the vibrancy that I'm talking about you know like you feel like something is happening right next to where you live and I think that's what urban living is about," Wang said. "I could've just chosen to live in the suburb but the reason I want chose downtown is I want to be close to business I want to be close to people and so it's great to see people coming out of their home and all gathered together."

New businesses downtown were welcoming the support. The head brewer at Fox Tale Fermentation Project said they sold a week's worth of beer in two hours.

"I'm always very concerned about how the growth of downtown is going I thought it was a ghost town - this proves me kind of wrong in a lot of ways. But I am very excited and I hope that this continues the support needs to be here," Felipe Bravo said.

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People from around the South Bay wanted to show support to what's been a struggling downtown.

Suki Nagra who currently lives in Gilroy is glad to see this momentum.

"I have a friend here down the street who owns a restaurant and he's been telling me it's been kind of dead it's not like it used to be before the pandemic. And I like that the city is making an effort like this bring everybody out together," Nagra said.

Todd Furgeson from Santa Clara commuted with a friend to the event.

"Well we're just checking things out we were looking for a place to find some good beer - some good food," Ferguson said.

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Downtown locals Sarah Scheurman and Robert Castellanos both felt a sense of community spirit.

"First off it motivates us to come out and interact with these businesses and possibly build connections and you know it helps them you know meet new potential clients," Castellanos said.

Businesses just starting out in San Jose, like Mini Bites of Heaven, were grateful for the opportunity.

Cinthya Reyes, owner of Mini Bites of Heaven, said this was important.

"We're getting noticed we're connecting with the community," Reyes said.

The next community event is scheduled for June 22 in the SoFa district.

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