Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love about downtown. We often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures, places, and things that make us smile, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
For more than a year, Jim McPherson, a committed downtown Phoenix advocate, volunteer President of the Arizona Preservation Foundation, and one of downtown’s key connectors, has been quietly sharing his keen eye for the small but important details of our mundane world: the tangible nuts and bolts of our surroundings that can be easily overlooked, yet color how we experience our “specifically Phoenix” urban core. These are spaces we pass by, or step into, over and over, day after day but don’t really look at very carefully: parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, and storefronts.
We can become blind to the spaces we move through every day, but old familiar spaces are made new when we take a minute to stop and look at them with discerning eyes. And that’s what McPherson has done in his delightful storefront snapshot series, “Storefronts I Like,” (which he shares in an album on Facebook).
Here is how he describes Thai Basil’s storefront:
“Clutter-free, clean windows. An awning, which was rolled up when this photo was taken despite the fact the restaurant was open. Pots with live plants. Circular sign that ties-in with window graphics. Nice touches of Thai flag at corner and sculpture greeting you at door.”
McPherson captures inviting entryways of downtown businesses and with each post provides short, but enlightening commentary on why they work and what makes them soothe, entice, and welcome us to step across their thresholds and become a part of what lies beyond their doors. In addition to posting the fun photos and evaluating why he likes what he sees, Jim has made it easy to for us to play along by providing a handy “Storefronts Checklist” we can use to evaluate what we like about the storefronts that appeal to us.
Sometimes he even adds helpful suggestions for small improvements and the conversations these postings inspire demonstrate how much people actually do notice and appreciate the thought and care that goes into making these small business gateways inviting.
If you are as inspired as I am by this project, you might find yourself a little more tuned in to the world you move through at street level each and every day. So, why not stop and snap your favorite storefronts to share with all of us who love downtown? Here’s my first contribution:
Alterations & Creations
This small dry cleaner and tailoring business on Roosevelt just east of 3rd Avenue has a clean-swept sidewalk, with nice shade from trees and shrubs, a well-placed street light, a bright yellow awning and uncluttered, but informative windows. The extra winning touch is the simple welcoming bench in front.
How to Participate
Take a moment or two to really notice the buildings you pass by in downtown each day.
When you see a storefront or entryway you like, take a minute to snap a photo.
Ask yourself what you like about it and share your image and thoughts with us. If you post on Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag your photos with #dphxj #StorefrontsILike and #DowntownPHXDetails.
Want to share your love? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what YOU like.