The Belmont Shore Business Association has a new executive director: Jessie Artigue, a content marketer, entrepreneur and podcast host.
Artigue will take over at a fraught time for business across the city, including the popular shopping and dining district centered around Second Street.
The 36-year-old Artigue recently moved back to Long Beach after spending time in cities spanning from New York to Kansas City to San Diego before settling in Belmont Shore about six years ago. What used to be her winter home will now be the realm of her advocacy work for businesses in the Shore.
Artigue said she’d been eying the roll of executive director of the business association since Dede Rossi announced last January that she’d be stepping down as the “caretaker” of Second Street after over a decade of service.
She will step into the roll next month as the city continues its recovery from the pandemic-fueled shutdowns of businesses, some for good. Second Street has seen its share of closures in recent years with vacant storefronts dotting the business corridor in Belmont Shore. But Artigue said she sees 2020 as an opportunity to grow.
“The best time to revamp, rethink and reinspect the way things were being done is when it’s less operational,” Artigue said in in interview Tuesday.
Artigue began designing a new website for the district last spring, which she hopes can serve as a supplement to the existing association homepage. She said she’s hopeful the site can inject a fresh new facelift for the area and serve as a customer-facing tool with blogs, tourism and neighborhood tips, while the association website can continue to function as a resource for businesses.
The site already includes preliminary plans for a spring garden tour, a “brunch-a-thon” in the fall and a classic rock Christmas sing-a-long in the winter of 2021. A business directory on the site relays visitors to restaurant and boutiques’ Instagram pages and a blog, currently written by Artigue, gives suggestions for how to enjoy the area during the pandemic and explainers like why there are so many kite-surfers.
Artigue said her goals include getting tourists and residents to the area, but also businesses. The latter could include an approach of trying to attract businesses from out of town, but also retaining existing businesses and even encouraging businesses located elsewhere in the city to consider a relocation to Belmont Shore.
“I care so deeply about this neighborhood and I really do see gobs of potential,” Artigue said.
The prospects of major events returning this year after being cancelled by the pandemic last year, like the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, could help boost Artigue’s efforts in her first year as director. With the city’s vaccine rollout continuing and case rates declining across the county, large gatherings could be a possibility by the end of the year.