The MidCity Business Association (MCBA) announced that their Board of Directors decided to put the association into dormancy. In an email to members, Kamal Ali — owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl and MCBA President — said that dormancy means that the Association “will cease to accept annual dues, as well as cease all day-to-day operation; however, the Association will not be dissolved.”
Ali went on to say that the goal had always been to have a self-sustaining business association supported by member dues, but over time that model did not work due to lack of participation from the small business community in MidCity. MCBA had an executive director until late 2010 when the organization was no longer able to fund the position.
The MidCity BA was formed in 1998 to represent businesses along the commercial corridors along 14th Street NW from Florida Avenue to Thomas Circle and along U Street from 9th to 17th Streets. Their website lists dozens of business members, ranging from small independent shops such as Som Records and Rue 14, to landmark national retailers Room & Board and Whole Foods.
The MidCity BA had been the force behind the annual Dog Days Sidewalk Sale which has grown in popularity over the past 12 years. Ali said the board hopes to keep Dog Days alive through a partnership with Think Local First DC (TLFDC). During dormancy several MCBA board members will explore options and hopefully find and organizational plan to keep things afloat and continue to be an advocate for the business community.
TLFDC has been growing and active in DC, including the MidCity area, over the past two years. The organization has an executive director, Stacey Price, and a number of it members in the Borderstan area are also MCBA members. The organization is a member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which helps Think Local First organizations get established across the country. TLFDC was a driving force locally for the Think Outside the (Big) Box retail tour on Small Business Saturday, November 26.