There is no other city in Humboldt County or perhaps Northern California that has the positive attributes and resources of downtown Arcata.
In a similar footprint as the Bayshore Mall (seriously, the area between Wildberries Marketplace and Plaza Shoe Shop), Arcata has more diversity and walkability than any other community in Humboldt offers.
There are three-all service markets and one Mexican specialty market.
The Farmers’ Market outshines all others north of San Francisco.
There are two full-service pharmacies.
Cannabis distribution centers.
Two boo stores.
A packaging and mail center.
A record store.
Three movie theaters with wine, beer and food service.
A movie theatre with full bar and food service.
A large performance venue with bar and food service.
A brew pub.
Two fine furniture stores and mattress center.
Several fashion stores highlighting jewelry, vintage, dancewear and outdoor.
Three of the best shoe, sport and boot stores in the county.
Boot and shoe repair shop.
Two outdoor retailers with rentals for wild rivers, ocean and the Redwoods.
Manufacturer and retailer of body products.
Fine gift and décor stores.
Specialty stores (collectibles, bongs, minerals).
An art cooperative.
A toy store.
A bead shop.
A print shop and a swag printing resource.
A Tuxedo and fine fashion rental shop.
A full-service hardware store and paint center.
Bakeries that feature cupcakes, croissants, daily bread, bagels, donuts, sweet and savory pies. Homemade ice cream shop.
A yogurt shop.
Computer sales and service.
A stationery store.
Several coffee bars.
A jazz bar.
Open Door Clinic.
Mad River Union newspaper.
Nationally recognized bagel shop.
More than 40 restaurants featuring Mexican, Japanese, Italian, French, California (90-plus in Arcata).
Spas, hair, tattoo, nail salons.
Yoga centers, jiu jitsu, therapists, chiropractors and massage clinics.
A Post Office.
A fire station.
City Hall and Police Station.
Car charging stations.
Bars for every possible inclination.
There are more when you add the layers of invention and resourcefulness that Arcata represents and all those accounting, legal, design, architectural, cultural and technical resources on the second floors over retail shops.
Footnote: When the Bayshore Mall first opened, retailers throughout the county panicked. Arcata merchants joined together to assess our resources and focus on customer service. Arcata Main Street was born.
Two simple initial actions made a difference:
One was free. We agreed to stick to common open hours to give best service to customers.
One was cheap. We pooled our advertising money and bought the entire back page of the Union and North Coast Journal.
We gave up our business card sized-ads that get lost with all the other print and created strong images featuring the collective reasons to come to Arcata.
We each saved a lot of money and gained a greater impact.
Julie Fulkerson is a businessperson, musician, and former Arcata City Councilmember and mayor.