Signs of life in the heart of the Valley

  • By: Vickie Goudreau, Fresno Chamber Ambassador Co-Chair and Owner, Innovation Commercial Flooring


At a March Mixer for PBID, now the Downtown Fresno Partnership, President and CEO Kate Borders asked me why I was interested in supporting Downtown.  I don’t live in Fresno, my business isn’t located in Downtown and she was legitimately curious.  I answered “I love the Central Valley,Fresno is the heart of the Valley and Downtown Fresno is the heart ofFresno”.  In a nutshell, that’s the reason my husband and I support Downtown Fresno.

We look for signs of life and possibilities in Fresno’s Downtown and see it especially as young professionals show genuine regard for Downtown Fresno.  They want friendship and a vibrant community, a growing place to build a life and family.  Kate Borders is among this group, spending her energies to make it happen and encouraging others to join her.  Mayor Ashley Swearengin is unapologetic about her passion to see Downtown Fresno thrive and become known as the happening place in Fresno.  They are among many who lead the cause for a vibrant Downtown.

Look at K-Jewel’sArtGallery, even their building renovation was influenced by a young professional.  The Grand, what a beautiful building!  Art Hop is an amazing celebration of creativity and community drawing hundreds of people every first Thursday of the month. Several new businesses have entered the scene like Fresno Brewing Company on the Fulton Mall while some older businesses have reinvented or reinvested in themselves to keep their contributions fresh and appealing like the Holiday Inn Downtown.  Chukchansi’s Park is home not only to the Grizzlies but also to a myriad of events including the Cornucopia in the Fall.  Really, the list is long and getting longer.  Check out and for a look at what is happening in the heart of Fresno.

Are there problems?  Yes, big problems.  Feeling safe at night, parking issues, being approached by beggars. But, I trust that these problems and challenges will be handled by capable people in positions beyond my scope. They certainly have their work cut out for them!

My focus is to contribute in the ways that I am able and not be paralyzed by being overwhelmed by what I can’t do.  So, I travel in a group at night, contribute to homeless services instead of giving money to beggars and I carry a bunch of quarters with me. Moreover, I attend downtown events with a festive attitude!

Our son-in-law, Michael Wrigley, also a young professional, has created several commemorative posters of Downtown Fresno, four of which are currently being displayed at City Hall.  He captures the beauty unique to our area with the desire to help others savor the place where we live.  What a worthy goal!  Savor where we live.  So my thought is, why not help make it happen for our community and savor where we live?


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