Recipients: CityCenter Danbury, City of Danbury
Partners: Get Downtown Danbury. Greater Danbury Chapter of Young CT Professionals
Opportunities & Challenges
Motivated to change the negative perceptions ingrained in many people’s minds about downtown Danbury, a few young professionals who started the downtown-focused group Get Downtown Danbury came together to put on a weekly food truck event through CityCenter Danbury, the downtown business improvement district, and the City of Danbury. The thought behind creating the Downtown Chow-Down was to increase foot traffic and promote noticeable, family-friendly activity, which could then spur economic interest and growth in the area.
The Downtown Chow-Down features local food trucks, musicians, and small businesses every Thursday, in the summer, during lunchtime at Kennedy Park, right off Main Street in downtown Danbury. The City of Danbury and CityCenter Danbury thought it was important to highlight the diverse array of talents and cultures that reside within the city. Food trucks such as Rice and Beans, Green Grunion, DrewbaQ, Firehouse Grill, Fork in the Road, and Cinnamon Churros were the mainstays throughout the 2017 season. Weekly live music performers were brought together in collaboration with Western Connecticut State University. Small businesses from the downtown area, such as Workspace Collective and Julissa Designs, were invited to set up pop-up tables to show lunchtime customers what their shops are all about.
Outcome & Impact
Downtown Danbury witnessed immediate increases in the number of people walking around during Thursday lunch times, with 300-400 people each week: a mix of downtown workers, food truck followers, WSCU students, and local residents. As a recurring event, Downtown Chow-Down captured the community’s attention over the course of the summer season. This boost also helped familiarize people with the newly opened cafés downtown – Mothership on Main and Pour Me – who saw increase in business during other days of the week.
This popular event came together with minimal public funding.
2018 will see an expansion of Downtown Chow-Down, with more weekly options and the occasional Saturday night.
Eventually, the City of Danbury and CityCenter Danbury hope to garner enough interest to help the food trucks look for larger, bricks & mortar locations. In the meantime, they hope to entice people to come from all over to downtown Danbury to experience something new and trendy – in the hopes that they will return repeatedly to embrace the ethnically and culturally diverse culinary life in Downtown.