Tue, June 25

Mitch Levy new president of Old Town Association

Mitch Levy

Mitch Levy

COTTONWOOD -- Mitch Levy of Burning Tree Cellars is the new president of the Old Town Association.

He wants people to know that he is always available, to the point that he has widely distributed his cell phone number to his fellow merchants in Old Town.

"I am here 99 percent of the time, so people can call me or stop in and see me."

Levy gives his predecessor a lot of credit for the strength of the organization. But, he noted, Lindsey Higginson is based out of Scottsdale and travels to Maine frequently and was not always as accessible as people wanted.

"She did a great job as president and took us to a whole new level," Levy said of Higginson. "Hopefully I can continue in the same path. Now people can have a little more input and know that someone is here. I have been on the board two years now and we have come a long way since then. I think we are very smart in how we advertise in the Phoenix market and the Phoenix Magazine, focusing on upscale zip codes. People don't realize how much matching funds we get from the Arizona Office of Tourism and the city and the help we get from people like Kimber Lanning and Arizona First."

Levy wants to maximize the impact of the association's advertising efforts.

He would like to see more of the "non-wine businesses" come together and join the association's advertising campaign.

"I know what they are complaining about. Last year when we had the annual meeting, saying that it is always the wine people that are in the ads. I don't have an issue if all the antique people want to get together for the cost of the ad. They say, 'I don't have that kind of money.' Well, I don't always have that kind of money, either. We are just a small mom-and-pop shop, just like Fandanago's. I would like to see more merchants get together and do co-advertising."

Levy said Run for the Roses, which held its first running this year, will be back again along with Walking on Main and the Chocolate Walk, with perhaps some changes. He said the Bootlegger Ball the night before Run for the Roses was not as popular as hoped.

"We are probably going to tweak a few things this year. We will probably keep it to a one-day event and put music on the street after the horse races are over."

Levy said the sawhorse races were a great attraction. "People lined both sides of the street two and three deep. It really brought together the merchants with a lot of fun. We had a conflict with the fair going on, but it was fun We are going to do that again. Cyndi (Batisti) did a great job spearheading events.

"I just want us to keep rolling and take it to the next level. Membership is really a good deal for a $60 a year. Now with the web site and Facebook, we stand behind what the city is doing with its branding."