After years of making a future possible, the DBRC is starting to make physical changes to improve the borough’s downtown district
Any place that has history has a future.
That’s just one of the many beliefs that Cindy Williams, program director for the Downtown Berlin Revitalization Corp, has carried with her during the past nearly three years, as she and the rest of the committee begin to revive downtown Berlin.
To those in town, it is no surprise to hear the main street of Berlin Borough along the White Horse Pike can certainly be improved, in multiple ways.
However, plans have been in the works for years now to rebuild the once bustling district into its former glory. After having been able to work with the Berlin Borough Council and gain support through the passing of resolutions to enable the DBRC to have the power to make changes, tangible and physical differences are on the way.
“The stage is set. We’ve taken like two years to prepare this district,” said Williams.
“Our stage is set to prepare a new kind of an art district that’s not being done anywhere else in South Jersey.”
The project the DBRC has spearheaded is to recreate the area as a destination spot for residents from all over the state, and even country, due to the unique promise the area holds for the future. That includes the rebranding and redesign of current businesses, while attracting the right businesses for the area in the future and building up the preservation of the arts that are unique to Berlin, such as with The Vault, in the near future.
“We’re growing the managed organic regrowth of this community,” said Williams. “We like to say we are ‘Revitalizing. Again.’ Because history has repeated itself several times in this community.”
One of the many ways the organization is assisting businesses in growing is through the Downtown Façade Design, Signage Design and Businesses Building Program.
The program can assist businesses in essentially all aspects of branding, marketing and design, including exterior appearance, building design, sign creation, website design, menu and business card design and more.
The nonprofit organization’s first business to receive help was Maggie’s Bake Shop on South White Horse Pike, which included completely redoing the storefront, turning a previously cold, white, bleak business front into an inviting shop filled with color and liveliness.
The organizations’ Design Assistance Team creates dozens of digital options for business owners to review in the aforementioned categories of expertise, from which the business owner can then select and the DBRC can assist in making the dream a reality.
Such is how Maggie’s Bake Shop became a reality, which serves as the first example of hopefully many cases in what Williams envisions happening within Berlin.
“With our help, she had a promising start with this small business,” said Williams. “And her dream business was birthed as a result of this. That’s the type of business we love to invest in.”
The program is funded through partners within the community, sponsors and grants in partnership with the borough.
Currently, there are multiple projects ongoing through the DBRC that are yet to be announced, providing for an exciting future for the area, including new businesses and special events to take place around the borough.
“We have to get something in motion here, something that’s been stagnant for many years; it’s nothing new,” said Williams. “To kick-start that motion takes a lot of energy and synergy, quite frankly, even more so. And that’s where we’re at, we have it in motion.”