Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Mystery, business mingle in downtown area

By the Advocate Editorial Board
March 16, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Updated March 15, 2013 at 10:16 p.m.

Downtown Victoria has made some major improvements over the past few years, and the community is beginning to notice. New businesses are opening, and several private investors are renovating historic buildings in the area.

We are excited to see downtown Victoria moving in this upward direction, and according to Sara Rodriguez, executive director of the Victoria Main Street Program, there is more to come.

Over the past few years, the Main Street Program has taken the lead in helping reshape the image of downtown Victoria and encouraging businesses and residents to take advantage of what could be our hometown gem. And this month will be no different. The program is holding three big events during the second half of March to encourage downtown businesses and visitors to enjoy the area.

On March 21, 22 and 23, downtown will be the setting for a murder mystery. Residents will have the chance to take part in a real-life version of the classic game "Clue," which has been tailored to Victoria, Rodriguez said. The Main Street Program is flying the game creators in Monday, when they will write the script. In this story, a member of the paparazzi in town for the second annual Independent Film Fest, is found murdered. Investigators will be given a T-shirt and case file and have from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. to investigate, and the mystery is solved at the end of each night on the steps of the Nave Museum. There is no deadline to register, but there is a $25 fee to participate.

For businesses, the program plans to hold two different events on the weekend featuring guest speaker Jon Schallert, who specializes in turning businesses into consumer destinations, Rodriguez said. On March 27, the Donor and Stakeholder Annual Dinner, in the University of Houston-Victoria Multi-Purpose Room, will give business owners a chance to hear Schallert speak about why Main Street matters and how it benefits the community while enjoying food prepared by Sean Fanelli, the chef for the soon-to-open Sendera Restaurant. Tickets for the dinner are $50 each, and attendees should RSVP by Thursday.

The next day, Schallert will lead a workshop in the Leo J Welder Center for the Performing Arts focused on helping businesses position for success by differentiating themselves from others. Schallert will explain his 14-step Destination Business process, which he developed after working for Hallmark for 10 years as well as starting his own consulting group, Rodriguez said. This training opportunity is open to anyone. Rodriguez said Luling is bringing in 24 people, and the city mayor and El Campo will also be sending a group.

"It's not just about Main Street," Rodriguez said. "Any small business will benefit from this."

Tickets for this event are $25 for Victoria County residents, $50 for others and $15 for Victoria College and UHV students. Lunch is included with the price of the ticket. Tickets can be purchased through the Welder Center box office.

These are all exciting opportunities for Victoria, and we hope residents will take advantage of these events. Residents can enjoy a chance to play detective or find ways to grow their own business, all through the efforts of the Victoria Main Street Program. We encourage community members to attend these events, and we applaud the Main Street Program for their hard work bringing these opportunities to Victoria. Thank you for being so invested in the growth of our community. We look forward to seeing these events in action.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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