Why Columbia City Needed “Name Tag” Days

by Shelley Morrison and Karla Esquivel 

We like to think Columbia City feels like a small town in the midst of a big, growing city. One of the best things about our community is that we know each other, and we don’t want to lose that as we grow. There is something special about going into a neighborhood shop or restaurant and saying “Hi” to an owner or staff person and knowing them by name, and they knowing yours.  There’s a feeling of belonging.  

Columbia City is a designated Urban Village, which means we will continue to grow.  We have enjoyed welcoming folks from The GreenHouse, The Angeline and CityLine, who are now calling Columbia City their home.  We want to make sure our new residents get to enjoy the same feeling of belonging and being connected.  So, we decided to try to make it easier to get to know each other with Name Tag Days.   

  • From Mar. 30 to Apr. 2, the owners and staff at 42 participating Columbia City businesses will be wearing name tags with their first names.  
  • Customers stopping by any of these businesses will get their own name tag and an informational flyer.
  • The flyer details all the Name Tag specials and discounts available, when you wear your name tag over the four days.  

On Opening Night, Thurs. Mar 30th,  we are having a concert and dance at the Royal Room from 8pm – 10pm.  We’ll be mixin’ and minglin’ and rockin’ to the band, High Pulp, with our name tags bobbin’. We want to embrace that “small town” feeling!

Name Tag Days is a nutty idea, but it’s worth a try and we are calling this year’s event, the First Annual for a reason.  During a recent Columbia City Business Association member survey, Community Outreach and Owners Knowing and Supporting Owners were highlighted as key values.  Columbia City has many special attributes, but one thing that makes us different than many other business districts is that 88% of our businesses are locally-owned.   So, customers get to know the owners who are behind the counter, in the kitchen, making the drinks, changing the sheets, massaging the pain, trimming the bangs, or serving the meal.   

We hope everyone will come out and participate in Name Tag Days and newcomers will meet their neighbors, customers will meet owners and staff, new business owners meet old-timers …we will remember each other’s names and there will be an enhanced sense of welcome and belonging.  

Shelley Morrison has been a member of the CCBA for 16 years. She is the founder of SMA, a communications, and training company. She and her husband, Rob Mohn, are proprietors of the Shirley Marvin Extended-Stay Hotel.

Karla Esquivel is the Marketing Director of the CCBA and owner of the store Andaluz in Columbia City, which she opened over 13 years ago. She has also been a resident of the area for 17 years.

Featured image courtesy of Shelley Morrison: Owners and staff from Andaluz, Columbia City Ale House, Rainier Valley Senior Center, CC Gallery, Hasegawa Dentistry, Shirley Marvin Hotel, Windemere, Einstein Signs and Atlantic Street Center participate in a “name tag” work party.