Published in the December 6 – 19, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life
Next December, in 2018, will mark 20 years for our restaurant in downtown Morgan Hill. I still remember my first impressions of this quaint little business district with colorful flowers at the tree bases that lined the street. My husband had his doubts about the viability of our restaurant in this sleepy downtown. It was true.
Most Morgan Hill residents dined in San Jose, Los Gatos or Monterey. But that was alright, we have been known to take a challenge.
I remember attending my first Morgan Hill Downtown Association meeting with full enthusiasm eager to officially meet our new business neighbors. It was surprising to me when the dialogue of the meeting turned negative. Complaints of slow business and the resulting use of A-frames on the sidewalks seemed to take over the conversation.
This really took me by surprise. Having come from running a restaurant for 14 years on Story Road in East San Jose, I couldn’t help but compare. I was used to a business district that was four-miles long, five heavy traffic lanes wide with graffiti and trash covering most commercial properties. Downtown Morgan Hill was a jewel in my eyes.
The walk-ability of a six-block district with healthy flowers and mature trees opened my eyes to what a downtown neighborhood could be like. I was amazed when I watched the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs work together to enthusiastically decorate the downtown for the holiday season. Parades and festivals would annually fill the streets. This downtown had good bones to work with, good people running businesses, good residents who have come forward as amazing stewards of the community.
From my window on Monterey Road, I have seen the sidewalks fill with diversity. Parents pushing strollers, couples holding hands, couples holding walkers, office workers lunching, travelers exploring local fare all have added to the health of our downtown.
Thinking back on that first MHDA meeting, I consider all the time business owners have contributed to our healthy downtown. It has finally moved toward a place where you can shop, dine, play and soon live. It has finally become the envy of other downtowns . . . but that was not our motivation. We just enjoy what we do and want others to experience what we have.
Rosy Bergin is the owner of Rosy’s at the Beach. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.