an affiliate of SPAR
Springfield Area Merchants and Business Association (SAMBA) works to:
- Promote civic pride and awareness of Springfield’s assets, particularly those of the business community, through marketing, fundraising and cultural participation;
- Recruits professionals and business owners to open offices and retail establishments in our area to provide a greater range of goods and services and job opportunities;
- Collaborates with other neighborhood organizations and government agencies on projects designed to enhance the quality of life in our business district and surrounding neighborhoods; and
- Offers educational and networking opportunities to member businesses.
SAMBA ACCOMPLISHMENTS & GOALS
SAMBA has grown and flourished throughout Springfield’s Sesquicentennial year.
Since the inception of the Facade Grant program in 2017, over $15,000 in grants have been disbursed to twelve Springfield businesses.
SAMBA recently introduced the Quarterly Mini-Grant, which will assist neighborhood businesses in the planning and promotion of business-related events in Springfield.
In 2019, SAMBA formed an Advisory Committee, made up of SAMBA members, to help with the disbursement of SAMBA funds and with future projects. This committee was designed to represent business owners from each aspect of the community. Positions are designated as follows two in the food/beverage industry, one in retail, one in home-based business, and one property owner.
SAMBA continually works with local governmental agencies to provide beautification and pedestrian upgrades to the neighborhood; including improvements to crosswalks, plantings in tree wells and on Main Street medians, more trash cans on Main Street, electrical improvements on Main Street, and continuing conversations with FDOT to move forward with a road diet along Main Street.
We’ve had a lot of growth in the last 3 years. In 2017, we had an average of 12 attendees at our meetings, in 2018 we grew to an average of 24 attendees, and in 2019, we maintained our average of 25 attendees.
Membership has grown from no regular dues paying members in 2017 to 81 members as of 12/3/2019.
We had a wonderful collective of speakers at our 2019 SAMBA meetings, including:
- LISC Jacksonville, Devin Thompson – economic rejuvenation of Springfield and guide for small businesses through grant making and lender options
- Metro North board member and former SPAR Executive Director, Brenda Boydston – Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP)
- SPAR Executive Director, Kelly Rich – Main Street Conference
- Bonnie Upright, APR – social media and communications for businesses
- Social Grounds Coffee owner, Jason Kelloway - hiring Veterans and ways to support the community around you via nonprofit organizations
We have reached out to local publications that are willing to offer a group page for local Springfield businesses, and have had representatives from those publications at SAMBA meetings so businesses can have a one-on-one opportunity to discuss advertising options.
We created the “Have You Been to Springfield Lately?” poster campaign in 2019. These posters help to promote Springfield businesses outside of the neighborhood (i.e. Stadium District and Downtown) to draw on the attendance to concerts, football games, and other big events.
SAMBA works with Visit Jacksonville to keep the Springfield neighborhood page updated with new content on at least a quarterly basis. We also share additional opportunities through Visit Jacksonville with our members.
We coordinated a collaboration between Springfield breweries and Aardwolf Brewing Company and Intuition Ale works to create a special beer for the Sesquicentennial called Ses-Q Saison. Through our partnership with Champion Brands, we hosted pop-up events throughout Northeast Florida in 2019 for this beer. This gave the Springfield breweries significant additional exposure for their brands and built awareness of Springfield as a whole.
We are generally one of the first points of contact for businesses who are interested in opening in Springfield. From meeting with business owners to discuss neighborhood needs, logistics, and playing “match maker” with commercial property owners; we are a valued resource for new business owners. We also have ongoing discussions with developers about Springfield neighborhood needs; and have had multiple meetings about potential grocery stores and gas stations coming to the neighborhood. We are also a resource for established businesses, and have helped find sponsors, vendors, musicians, and volunteers for events hosted by Springfield businesses.
SAMBA has worked to coordinate meetings between our Councilman and city departments when businesses have had issues with opening.
SAMBA shares relevant posts on our social media pages.
Our goals for 2020 include working closely with the Advisory Committee to focus on positive marketing of our Commercial Corridor.
Connect with SAMBA
Click here for the SAMBA membership directory