In the past few weeks, the Aurora community has once again come together, and “Aurora Strong” has become a meaningful and appropriate tagline for our city.
Downtown business owners have bonded as they swept up glass and boarded up windows in unison. They struggled through the COVID-19 shutdown, and then the damage that resulted from the civil unrest on the evening of May 31.
The days that followed saw hundreds of community members helping to clean up, board up windows, and paint murals. The downtown became connected as perhaps never before.
The message of Black Lives Matter was embraced by downtown business owners. They stepped up to join in peace rallies, they worked with grassroots community groups, and they taped posters and signs to their storefronts supporting the movement.
Our resilient downtown is once again ready to welcome the community and engage in conversation. Businesses could shy away from taking a stand on social issues, yet our businesses paint their windows with rainbows and sell items that support missions beyond their own.
Endiro Coffee’s slogan is “Brew all the good you can.” Their vision is to end child vulnerability globally through coffee. They recently opened a roastery on River Street to further that vision.
Tredwell Coffee recently started working with Ally Legion, a local social justice group, to offer free groceries and books every Sunday.
Wyckwood House and The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange added black-owned companies to their list of vendors.
Charlie’s Creamery is participating in Food Industry Action, a nationwide fundraiser benefiting the NAACP legal defense fund, on June 27.
Mary Garcia, who owns My Daughter’s Dress at 221 E. Galena Blvd., had her newly replaced windows painted with a colorful rainbow by The Unruly Artist after her storefront was smashed on May 31.
Clara Diaz, owner of Balderas Beauty Salon at 25 N. Broadway, said that many business owners want to speak and be heard. “The brown people are part of the City of Aurora,” she said after sharing her desire to not be ignored.
Diaz said that she and her neighbors want their block of Broadway to begin to shine as it’s been neglected for too long.
Jose Hernandez, owner of Patron Boots at 18 N. Broadway, said he wants Broadway to be a welcoming stretch of downtown. He said that the recent murals greatly increased pedestrian foot traffic, which was appreciated especially after being closed for months.
Hernandez said that he wants people to continue to come downtown.
An inviting and welcoming downtown is what we all want. Inviting and welcoming to all.
Marissa Amoni is the manager of Aurora Downtown, a group of business and property owners within Special Service Area (SSA) #One. Learn more about downtown businesses every Saturday as Aurora Downtown celebrates Small Business Saturday every Saturday on their Facebook page with a small business profile. On Mondays, read about good news from the community.