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Chris Aitken

By Chris Aitken

As we enter the New Year, the Downtown Business Association (SCDBA) is as committed as ever to supporting our local small businesses. A thriving downtown is the beating heart of our community, and we invite all residents to play an active role by supporting local shops, services, and restaurants.

We, at the SCDBA, will continue to work to provide various initiatives to assist local businesses and advocate for programs and legislation important to them in our ongoing focus on enhancing the downtown experience.

First, the Downtown Business Association has been very active in listening to its business sectors as they navigate through these challenging times. We have been proud to lead the effort, with support from the city, to bringing outdoor dining to San Clemente—a very well-received addition to the charm of our town. 

In December, the SCDBA held a restaurant sector forum outdoors at Sonny’s Pizza so the businesses could be heard by the city. We were grateful for the attendance of Councilmembers Chris Duncan and Gene James. As a result, an ordinance was passed by the city allowing greater flexibility for dining and drinking in certain public spaces to encourage take-out and helping restaurants during this challenging time.

Second, the Downtown Business Association, with gratitude to the city, was able to temporarily, and successfully, bring back the Village Art Faire to our community. While presently on hold for health and safety reasons, we are grateful to our city and community to bringing this beloved faire back full-time in 2021.

Third, believing strongly that “We’re in this together,” the Downtown Business Association has initiated an “Ambassador” program to promote stronger connection among businesses in the interest of advocating for common interests and helping to offer support for common challenges. 

If you would like to support your downtown, and you are interested in being a volunteer “ambassador,” committee member, or board member for the DBA, we invite you to contact us at to learn more. 

Finally, we continue to support our local businesses through hosting various virtual “Think Tanks” among the various business sectors. These virtual discussions have been very well-received by our retail, restaurant, professional and nonprofit sectors. 

If you have interest in connecting with your local business community counterparts to share strategies, challenges, and co-marketing opportunities, feel free to reach out to us.

On behalf of the San Clemente Downtown Business Association, we wish you and your families the very best for 2021. San Clemente, we continue to ask for you to “shop and dine local” and look forward to seeing you downtown.

Chris Aitken is the chairman of the Board of the San Clemente Downtown Business Association. Chris is also involved with two businesses in the downtown area, including being the co-owner of H.H. Cotton’s restaurant and a partner of the personal injury law firm Aitken Aitken Cohn.

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