DABA reboots with new meeting time, location

ARLINGTON — The first evening meeting of the Downtown Arlington Business Association on Wednesday, Feb. 5, included changes far broader than just the new meeting time and location, but DABA President Mike Britt sees that as a good first step.

Downtown Arlington Business Association Secretary Nikki Hardy and Mike Britt open the group’s first evening meeting on Feb. 5.

ARLINGTON — The first evening meeting of the Downtown Arlington Business Association on Wednesday, Feb. 5, included changes far broader than just the new meeting time and location, but DABA President Mike Britt sees that as a good first step.

“There are more people here at this meeting than I’ve ever seen at DABA,” Britt said in the Stillaguamish Conference Room of the city of Arlington Utilities offices that night. “That tells me we’re headed in the right direction.”

After weeks of serving as the group’s interim secretary, Nikki Hardy was officially approved as the new DABA secretary during the Feb. 5 meeting, during which she was afforded an opportunity to introduce herself.

“I’ve lived here 14 years, and I’m the mother of two very active boys,” Hardy said. “I was in nursing for 20 years, and for the past six months, I’ve been working for AFLAC, helping to guide people through health care reform. I know lot of people in the community, so I was invited on board DABA.”

Hardy and Britt weren’t the only attendees who had their say, since Britt opened the floor to any guest speakers, specifically to solicit a greater degree of input from the community. Arlington Relay For Life Survivor co-chair Mary Andersen reminded local business owners that they can support “Paint the Town Purple” on March 22 by decorating their storefronts to match, while Arlington American Legion Post 76 Vice Cmdr. Brian Boyce asked community members to keep military members serving overseas in mind, as the Arlington and Marysville chapters of the Legion team up to collect for “Operation Desert Comfort.”

“When you’re deployed, baby-wipes are awesome,” Boyce said. “It’s like a shower in a box. And Tabasco, even if it’s in those little bottles, makes MREs taste so much better.”

Boyce thanked the banking community of Arlington and Smokey Point for stepping up to help continue the Arlington Legion’s program of providing Christmas toys to children in need this past December, before Chris Jones, husband of Arlington United Church Pastor Deena Jones, inquired if any businesses might be interested in a threefold education, awareness and prevention program about the area’s problems of  homelessness, drug problems and how businesses can help keep each other safe.

“There are simple things that you can do to make yourself a less appealing target,” Arlington Police Officer Mike Gilbert agreed. “Trim your bushes. A dark business is an inviting business for thieves. The businesses who are higher up on the hill can help prevent other businesses from falling prey to crime, because their higher elevation allows them to see more.”

Britt introduced a new vision — “To create a business culture where full participation and economic equality is achievable” — and a new mission statement — “The Downtown Arlington Business Association strives to unite and empower the Downtown Arlington Businesses toward business development and the delivery of quality merchant services and products to our patrons” — in part because he could find no evidence of any of DABA’s previous vision or mission statements.

“I couldn’t find anything that was voted on, approved or filed with the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce,” Britt said. “Since there seemed to be no process in place, I wanted us to approve a new one. I want DABA to have a strategic plan that its future officers can work toward.”

DABA has tentatively scheduled a study session for Thursday, Feb. 20, from 6-7:30 p.m. For more information, log onto http://arlingtonwa.org.

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