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Brewing Connections at The Dirty Tea

June 5 Owner Happy Hour Recap
June 11, 2024
Local business owners gather to hear district updates from VHDA

Virginia Highland District Associated (VHDA) hosted its second Owner Happy Hour of the year on June 5 at The Dirty Tea in Atkins Park. The afternoon brought together over 30 local businesses and community leaders to foster business neighbor connections and discuss important district updates.

Attending Businesses

Representatives from numerous businesses participated, including Bequest, Threadz, The Dirty Tea, Atkins Park, Highland Woodworking, Church of our Saviour, Callanwolde, Yakitori Kona, The Green Flamingo, Contour Pilates, Neighbor’s Pub, Dark Horse, Marco’s Pizza, Osteria 832, Doc Chey’s, Localist, Moe’s & Joe’s, YWCA, Farm Burger, VHDA, Mayor’s Office of the Constituents, and others.

DISTRICT UPDATES

Porchfest Highlights

Following introductions, VHDA Executive Director and Co-Founder Katie Voelpel kicked off discussions with a recap of Porchfest, which was celebrated as the most successful and well-managed year yet. With an estimated $93,000 in net profit, this music and community centric event significantly contributed to covering VHDA's operating costs for the year. Local businesses shared their feedback via a survey, noting record-breaking revenues for several restaurants and bars, although retail reported a noticeable dip. There was a consensus that placing live bands in the corridor saw a positive impact.

Safety Improvements

The topic of safety has been a major discussion this year facing challenges with the unhoused population in Virginia Highland. Increased security measures have led to a noticeable improvement in the main Virginia-Highland intersection, and there's now a pressing need to expand coverage to include the Atkins Park node. Additionally, Leonard Thomas, the newly appointed District 6 social worker, has started his work in the area, promising dedicated support for the community. 

Beautification Efforts

VHDA is gearing up to launch a campaign aimed at transforming North Highland Ave from Morningside Village to Atkins Park into a beautiful and charming sidewalk experience for all. This 10-year investment in the district is set with the ultimate goal to be featured on the cover of Southern Living magazine and to earn the title of the best neighborhood in the South! The North Highland Beautification project is expected to boost tourism, keep residents and visitors in the area longer, and create an elevated experience for all.

Upcoming Events

Food Truck Fridays: June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20

Next Owner Happy Hour: August 7

VHDA Annual Meeting: September 18

Wine Walk: October 19 

Localist Presentation

Localist App Co-Founder Jeff Meets Local Business Owners

Co-Founders Jeff Reine and Rohit Agarwal presented on the Localist App, a platform designed to connect neighbors and visitors with local highlights and maximize their neighborhood experience.

Launched in December 2023, Localist operates under the motto "live like a local." It currently promotes mid-week discounts and shares weekly specials and events in the business district to encourage community engagement.

CONCLUSION

Owner Happy Hours are an important part of VHDA’s mission to uplift the community’s vibrancy and foster connections among local business owners. 

Katie Voelpel, VHDA Co-Founder and Executive Director

“It is so important that our business owners know each other and can advocate for their livelihood and community as a group versus individual. We have hosted about eight of these networking events and every time I’m excited by the energy of a new connection made!” - Katie Voelpel, Co-Founder and Executive Director 

With exciting projects and events on the horizon, the neighborhood is poised for continued growth in the competitive Atlanta market.