The idea was a sparked from the industry roundtables conducted by the Chamber of Commerce in April 2020. As business owners gathered to explore reopening strategies, this was one of the many ideas discussed. Then the Chamber, Travel Paso, Paso Robles Wine Alliance and Main Street Association began collaborating with the City of Paso Robles. A proposal was taken to city council on May 19 to look at a variety of options:
- Dining in the Park
- Street Closures
At that meeting the City Council approved the dining in the park proposal, then later parklets and street closures.
We hired a dedicated vendor team who came together to create the space. All About Events donated the furniture and lighting. We worked with the Fence Factory for the fencing around the perimeter. Red Oak security supported us and Criu Hospitality ran the day-to-day operations with a concierge and sanitizing team to ensure a safe, clean space for the community to dine out and enjoy.
The program was fully funded through private donations + marketing dollars from Travel Paso. The sponsorship dollars are going towards operations.
The goal was to encourage locals, SLOcals and those returning visitors to come to our downtown, enjoy the community of Paso and feel safe doing it. Creating a downtown dining space provided a way for restaurants who had to cut capacity by more than 50% to keep their take out business going strong. The program ran 4 nights a week - Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday - and was staffed beginning at 5:30 pm. Guests could book a table (for free) using Yelp. This secured their spot.
We accommodated nearly 500 guests each weekend. The 2020 July 4th holiday weekend was a record at nearly 600. The dining space kicked off on June 18, 2020 and ended on October 31, 2020.
#PasoStrong was created as a multiplatform emergency campaign for Paso Robles during the COVID-19 pandemic. It included a website hub for all things related to the Coronavirus outbreak and the impacts on the Paso community, support programs and related social media accounts.
The website contained resources and functions for both business owners and residents looking to help local businesses.
- Purchase e-gift cards to help your favorite local business stay afloat
- Create your own e-gift card options for your small business
- Delivery and take out services available from local restaurants
- Information on Small Business Association Disaster Loans
It also featured an exclusive deal with ‘Giftup!’, an easy to use online gift card service.
Since creation, #PasoStrong programs have included: E-gift Cards, Feed Those in Need (partnering restaurants with charity organizations), Open Local Business List, County Self-Certified Business List, and Donated Mask Distribution (distributing 2,500 masks to local businesses).
Once the community had embraced the campaign with an overwhelmingly positive response, the City included the slogan "Together we are #PasoStrong" in their messaging as well.
To continue this campaign, we have decided to keep the url and transfer PasoStrong.org into our new, native Chamber website as an emergency site with the capabilities of being reactivated whenever there is any form of threat to our Paso Robles community.
Calling all brewery owners and brewmasters!
Paso has long been known as a premier wine destination, but a number of breweries and distilleries have opened in the last few years causing the City to respond in a positive way by improving the conditions for aspiring entrepreneurs to open a microbrewery, distillery, or winery.
Here are our Top 10 reasons why opening a brewery in Paso is a good idea:
1. According to the California Craft Breweries Association, the craft brew industry still has room to grow. Recent changes to regulations now allow craft breweries to produce up to 6,000,000 barrels annually vs. 40,000 annually previously and still be considered “craft.” This change allows scalability while remaining true to the desire to offer “craft” brews.
2. A recent update to zoning (TC-2) in downtown Paso allows for micro-breweries, which was previously prohibited. Further, there are an abundance of potential locations within the TC-2 zone.
3. City staff has indicated that the provision of micro-breweries in downtown “tend to be compatible with surrounding restaurants and entertainment uses and add to a vibrant downtown atmosphere.” Therefore, there is staff support.
4. Unique to Paso Robles, the typical upfront costs for pretreatment wastewater systems can be avoided. In other words, craft breweries can pour wastewater directly down the drain upon receipt of a discharge permit. This is a huge cost savings!
5. Breweries smaller than 10,000 square feet can be approved administratively. New construction or significant exterior remodels only require site plan approval by the Development Review Committee (DRC). No Planning Commission, no Conditional Use Permit (CUP) = fast track approval.
6. Entrepreneurs looking for locations outside of downtown (TC-2) are permitted in a variety of city zoning districts including: Industrial (M), Planned Industrial (PM), Riverside Corridor (RSC), and Commercial/Light Industry (C3).
7. The City has a diverse water portfolio, ensuring an adequate supply through General Plan build-out.
8. Existing breweries encourage a healthy number of visitors and include:
Firestone Walker, Barrelhouse Brewing Co., Torro Creek Brewing Company, Earth and Fire Brewing Company, Silva Brewing, Santa Maria Brewing Co., Kilokilo Brewing Company, Hog Canyon Brewing Co., California Coast Brewing Co., Tin City Cider, See Canyon Hard Cider
9. The established brewery scene is popular with locals and tourists who are looking for causal places to bring families and pets.
10. A dedicated brew ambassador is available to help you get started!
Thinking about opening up shop?
Great! We’re here to help. Contact one of our BrewPaso ambassadors to start the conversation. They will help you to understand the key criteria for locations and operations. Common questions include permitted locations, sewer capacity, parking requirements, hours of operation, tasting room size, and outdoor patios. We’ll work through all your questions or you can read about them in Chapter 14.10.250 of the Zoning Code and the Uptown and Town Center Specific Plan.
You Will Strengthen Our Economy
Taxable purchases made in Paso Robles contribute to the general fund for city-provided services like police, fire, library, senior services, and parks. In addition, money spent at local businesses is kept in our community because owners often purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms; thereby creating a cycle of local support.
You Will Create Jobs
Shopping in Paso Robles creates local jobs. Many of our businesses use local printers, accountants, media, farms, attorneys, artists, and others, thereby expanding opportunities for local employment.
You Will Enjoy Our Community Character
Our independent businesses, especially in the Downtown, help to give Paso Robles its distinct personality. This unique character is a significant factor in the quality-of-life enjoyed by our residents and visitors.
You Will Strengthen Our Community
Paso Robles businesses are operated by people who live here, go to our churches, donate to non-profits, and coach soccer teams. When you spend money in their stores, you support neighbors.
You Will Feel Festive
Shopping and dining with family and friends is a holiday tradition that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
You’ll Find Unique Items in Unique Stores
View the seasonal window displays and discover a business you may not have been to before. When shopping at our independently owned stores, you can find unique products that aren’t available online leading to “where did you get that” moments.
You Can Try Before You Buy
Shopping in Paso Robles enables you to try on and try out items before you buy thereby saving you time and money.
You’ll Enjoy Local Cuisine
We’re lucky to have an amazing restaurant scene! Dine on dishes that you can’t find anywhere else.
You Won’t Be Thirsty
Shopping got you thirsty? We don’t know of many other communities that offer 20 downtown wineries and 4 breweries to taste from, along with world-class craft cocktails made from locally distilled spirits. Alternatively, drop your significant other off while you continue your shopping marathon!
In early 2018, the City of Paso Robles contracted with the Chamber of Commerce to offer Economic Development services. While the Chamber has offered economic development programs in the past, it was time to start fresh and chart a multiyear vision focused on the creation of head-of-household jobs. With this in mind, the Shaping Our Future initiative was conceived to highlight the Chamber’s desire to engage with businesses, residents, and stakeholders in Paso Robles, thereby ensuring community buy-in.
Representatives of Travel Paso and the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce met in a joint session on April 12, 2018 to prepare for each of their respective strategic planning processes by:
• Identifying the opportunities at hand for tourism and economic development
• Identifying challenges/constraints for tourism and economic development in Paso Robles
• Considering these opportunities and constraints, generate ideas for creative and appropriate actions to be taken by each organization
• Agreeing to “Decision Criteria” for ongoing collaborative work and decision-making
The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) hosted business leaders at Adelaida Winery on May 31, 2018 to discuss the vision for economic development in the City of Paso Robles. A diverse number of industries were represented such as hospitality, tourism, retail, tech, real estate, wine, professional services, construction/development, and manufacturing.
A wealth of information was collected at the business Leader Summit through a variety of engaging exercises. This information will be instrumental when creating the Economic Development Strategic Plan Update later this year. Specifically, information will be used to craft goals, objectives, and action items.
The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce hosted two public open houses on October 23 and October 24 with the purpose of providing residents, employees, and investors with the resources, tools, and programs to help them thrive. This included information regarding the Business and Entrepreneurial Success Team (BEST), business quick start guides, business start-up guide, a relocation guide, workforce solutions, and a new economic development microsite.
Staff and volunteers from the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee and Workforce Development Board were available to answer questions. Residents and business owners were also given an opportunity to complete a survey regarding their impressions of the Paso Robles economy. Information gathered at the open house was used to update the Chamber’s Economic Development Strategic Plan.
On November 8, 2018, the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) conducted its inaugural Business Walk. The PRCC, along with a group of 70 volunteers, attempted to visit 422 businesses with the purpose of discussing the state of business. Being respectful of business owner’s time, volunteers asked just a few questions to help the Chamber and the City of Paso Robles understand the state of their business and what our community needs to improve the economy. Business owners also had the option of completing the survey online if they were unable to do so at the time of the Business Walk. The results of the walk were presented at the November 28, 2018 PRCC Wake Up Paso monthly breakfast meeting to a group of around 75 attendees and are summarized below. For the full summary click here.
Volunteers were equipped with maps, a list of 10 businesses, surveys, follow-up collateral, and water bottles. They were then sent to various commercial and industrial areas within the City limits to conduct their walk. Business owners and managers were asked three questions:
1. How would you rate the current state of your business?
2. What resources do you need to improve your business?
3. Which areas do you feel require the most emphasis?
70 Business Walk Volunteers
422 Businesses Attempted To Visit
145 Business Surveys Collected In Person
15 Business Surveys Collected Digitally
40% Survey Response Rate
Finally, we welcome you to stop by our Visitor Center on 1225 Park Street to equip your family and friends with free magazines, maps, brochures, and cards that include information about Paso Robles businesses, wineries, breweries, and community events.