QUINCY -- The District hosted its first open house Wednesday night at Western Catholic Union Hall, an attempt to put a face on the organization.
The District's two employees and several board members spoke to the hundreds of downtown business owners and any other interested community members. The District spans 90 blocks, from the river to 12th Street and Broadway to State streets, encompassing over 400 business and more than 600 property owners. More than 8,000 people work in the District.
"It's always difficult to get out and talk to everyone," said Bruce Guthrie, the District's executive director. "As our organization continues to mature, we want to find more opportunities to meet our members."
Events such as the open house also can prove beneficial to the growth of the District's promotions such as Shop Local Saturday and Q-Fest, by recruiting volunteers.
"We're a volunteer-driven organization," Guthrie said. "All of these volunteers have jobs, but they're invested in the District."
Already this year, 850 District volunteers have donated 2,500 hours to planning, meetings, programs and events.
Last year, Lisa Crocker, owner of Potter & Vaughn and a District board member, was named Bob Mays Volunteer of the Year. A frequent volunteer for the organization, this marks her first year on the board.
She saw the open house as not only a means to promote the District's efforts but also as a networking opportunity for her as a business owner.
"Anytime we can get people together who share a common interest, it's a wonderful thing," she said. "People read about the District as this big area; It's easier for people to get behind something and to support it when they have a stake in it, when they know the people in it."
One of the largest employers in the District, Quincy Medical Group, also is one of the organization's biggest supporters. Keeping in line with its mission of benevolence, Quincy Medical Group is a consistent supplier of volunteers at District events.
Jenny Sousa, QMG events and community relations coordinator, said, "The biggest problem is always lack of communication. When we work together as a group, we can accomplish so much more. A lot of it is giving back where we actually work, to community members and people who choose to be our patients."