Brandy Marts, president of the North Beach Chamber of Commerce, is intent on breathing increased vitality into the neighborhood. She’s been in the elective position for three years, and things have been happening fast.
As marketing director for the restaurant group that includes North Beach’s Calzone’s and The Stinking Rose, Marts and fellow chamber members are taking the 24-year-old nonprofit organization to a new level.
The prime focus of her administration is the 57-year-old North Beach Festival, set for the weekend of June 18–19. It’s the oldest free outdoor festival in the country.
“We’re committed to the fiscal concept that festival income will provide all types of neighborhood services,” Marts says. Already it’s doing just that.
The chamber’s most visible recent project was “Light the Night” – lights along Columbus Avenue and Vallejo Street to celebrate the holiday season.
Marts and her crew have more improvement projects planned: hanging flower baskets; decorative lighting across upper Grant Avenue and Green Street between Grant and Columbus; sidewalk steam-cleaning; holiday lighting in Washington Square; and a Visitor’s Center on Columbus Avenue with neighborhood maps and a business directory showing public parking.
Currently the chamber has about 100 members. “But,” Marts adds, “with festival income, I have plans to provide free membership for all neighborhood merchants.”
– E. Beyl