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Downtown area associations join annual challenge to encourage people to visit Ann Arbor in January

Group calls on visitors to support local businesses during winter

ANN ARBOR – Downtown area associations have joined an annual campaign to encourage visitors to continue shopping and dining in the city throughout the month of January.

Typically a slow time of year for business, the pandemic has only exacerbated the lack of customers at local establishments.

The Main Street Area Association, State Street District, Kerrytown District Association, and South University Area Association have partnered with the getDowntown Program for “Conquer the Cold - Pandemic Edition.”

The annual challenge by getDowntown -- in partnership with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide), the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority and the City of Ann Arbor -- is designed to encourage and educate commuters to use alternative modes of transportation during the cold winter months.

Through fun challenges and outreach, the campaign hopes to help commuters cross barriers of commuting in colder weather.

This year, the campaign encourages alternative commuting methods, which include visits to downtown shops and restaurants. Many restaurants will be participating in the Comfort Food Challenge, and users can get prizes for dining outdoors, ordering curbside and shopping downtown.

“The Downtown Districts are excited to be partnering with GetDowntown for Conquer the Cold this year,” Sandra Andrade, executive director of the Main Street Area Association said in a statement. “The event will make coming downtown and supporting our businesses, community, and local economy fun.”

“We know that with most commuters working from home that many downtown businesses have had a very tough year,” Chris Simmons, Program Director for the getDowntown Program said in a statement.

“We wanted to help our downtown businesses to connect with the commuter community in ways that are little unique, engaging, and hopefully an incentive for commuters to help support the establishments they are used to patronizing when they are able to return to their offices and regular schedules.”

The campaign launches January 1, 2021.

Here is the schedule for the Comfort Food Challenge:

  • Jan. 1-3: Mac & Cheese Trek
  • Jan. 8-10: Chili Slow Roll
  • Jan. 15-17: Soup Hop & Hops (beer)
  • Jan. 22-24: Pot Pie Pile On
  • Jan. 29-31: Chef’s Best Winter Dish
  • Jan. 31: Last day for eligible trips
  • Feb. 4: Last day for trips to be logged to be eligible for prizes

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.