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focused on design, economic restructuring, promotion and organization. Our goal is to become a designated California Main Street Community by successfully completing CAMBA’s certification process.” Other cities whose ‘Main Street communities’ have been recognized include Livermore, Pleasanton, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. The program utilizes public-private partner- ships to help revitalize historic commercial districts. CAMBA advocates on behalf of Gilroy and other member cities, at state and national levels, in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the California Preservation Foundation and other organizations, tracking state legislation that affects cities and their businesses, as well as legislation regarding historic preservation. “The focus is really on economic impact through broad community engagement with tangible, measurable outcomes as the end goal,” Corona said. Learn more at camainstreet.org. Morgan Hill’s Holiday Magic The Morgan Hill Downtown Association states that dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on the community as dollars spent at national chains. The Association’s Board President, John McKay, said the Association collaborates with local businesses, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and the City of Morgan Hill as well as other local organizations. “Small business is the backbone of our community. Local merchants invest in and have a vested interest in Morgan Hill’s success. Our association focuses on awareness-building and fundraising. Our members actively promote events such as the Brew Crawl, Safe Trick or Treat, the Indie Market, and this fall’s new Moveable Feast series. Our winter season promises to be busy downtown. We kick off December with the Granada’s formal grand opening celebration, the Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Ladies Shopping Night Out.” 28 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN As John Horner pointed out, “Small and even micro businesses are a relevant business model now and in the future. They can create and test new ideas quickly and pivot more easily than large companies in times of disruption.” John is President of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and owner of Thinker Toys, located in the Vineyard Town Center. “Our local businesses proactively seek ways to connect with each other, forming an ecosystem. Within that ecosystem they invest in resources, management advisors, business loans, operating facilities, IT support, accounting services, marketing gurus, employment and training specialists and more. As commu- nity-minded citizens we nurture this system, we don’t starve it.” This conversation would not be complete without the voice of Edith Ramirez, Morgan Hill’s Economic Development Director and Chair of Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Economic Development Alliance. She has been praised for her work in building Morgan Hill’s brand through focused economic development and helping to make Morgan Hill more business- friendly. Her passion for local community-building is palpable. “People are looking for experiences, and that includes down- town and regional experiences,” Ramirez said. “Throughout South County, in Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy, we have so much to offer. Not only in terms of quality goods and services, but quality of life. “As we head into the holidays, it’s important for each of us to remember why we chose to make this place our home. We vote with our dollars when we shop and give locally. “It’s also important to remember why we are celebrating. We create community when we get out and do things together in our community, whether it involves cultural arts and entertainment, sports and fitness, social gatherings, education and leisure hobbies, or philanthropy and community service.” Ramirez expressed the hope that South County families would consider the many options to think and act locally during the holiday season. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 gmhtoday.com