Ask anyone who’s been around, and they’ll tell you that downtown Dunedin is the pearl of Pinellas County! And it’s no question why that is – the people that live here are full of zeal for their community, and never stop working to improve it. Today the community is winning all sorts of awards, earning national recognition for its amenities, and is full of positive momentum.
But our coastal community hasn’t always basked in the sort of glory it enjoys today. No, the friendly, quaint, delightful Dunedin we know today was once boarded up, shut down, and very nearly abandoned. It’s taken the commitment of folks who love this place to turn it into a place that anybody can love and call home.
From Potholes to Prosperity
When Bon Appétit Restaurant opened on Dunedin’s coastline, it wasn’t Dunedin’s only waterfront restaurant – it was Dunedin’s only restaurant, period!
“When we got here there were broken windows, tumbleweeds blowing down the street, and parking meters – with no parked cars,” explains Peter Kreuziger, co-owner of the Bon Appétit Group. “The next closest restaurant was in Countryside. Things have certainly come a long way. We started the [Downtown Dunedin Merchants’ Association] and Visit Dunedin. We worked with many of the wonderful City staff over ten administrations. Now look, no parking meters and plenty of parked cars!” And foot traffic everywhere.
Dunedin’s success didn’t happen overnight. Some of the community’s biggest gains have occurred under the leadership of the City’s current administration, led by Mayor Julie Ward-Bujalski. This includes the temporary relocation of the Toronto Blue Jays during the Coronavirus pandemic, which led to a community-wide surge in tourism foot traffic. The administration’s accomplishments also include the introduction of AVA, an autonomous, electric trolley, and overseeing the revival and redevelopment of the Grand Lady of Dunedin – today known as the Fenway Hotel.
Perhaps the factor that is most responsible for the town’s success is the collaboration that occurs between the various community organizations. Dunedin is fortunate to have an active chamber of commerce, a destination marketing organization in Visit Dunedin, and a thriving merchants’ association. While these entities do great work individually, like offering a collective voice for downtown businesses or launching innovative programs, their impact is multiplied exponentially through their collaborative projects. This new promotional video may be the best example yet.
Dunedin’s Marketing Alliance Presents a New Promotional Video
Are you a self-proclaimed yogi? Or perhaps a novice history buff? Whether you’re a family looking for all-ages fun, or a foodie on the hunt for Tampa Bay’s best brunch spot, Dunedin has something to offer everyone. Not only is Dunedin an all-inclusive destination, boasting miles of pedestrian trails, award-winning businesses, and picturesque shorelines, it’s also an inclusive downtown where all are welcome.
Today, there are more than a hundred businesses occupying the downtown district with offerings for families, couples, seniors, and everyone in between! Home to the irrefutably popular Pinellas Trail, pedestrian-oriented infrastructure, and a variety of award-winning businesses, downtown Dunedin’s success is undeniable.
What we love about the video is that it paints Dunedin as a people-first community. Beyond the many amenities, shops, and events located downtown, this video focuses on shared values like micro-mobility, preservation of greenspace, health and wellness, and inclusivity. It’s important that potential visitors have an opportunity to see themselves and their experiences reflected in all tourism marketing – and this video accomplished just that.
Congratulations to our friends at the City of Dunedin, Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, and Visit Dunedin on a job well done!
About the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce
From their website:
The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, established in 1926, is a vibrant, active organization with a diverse range of benefits and services, both for its members and the community. The Chamber is committed to ensuring businesses survive and thrive and offers services like networking opportunities, tourism promotion and services, education, and marketing opportunities. The Chamber partners with many other organizations in the community to help ensure the area continues to grow in the best manner possible for residents and visitors.
About the Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association
From their website:
We are the Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association. Nestled in delightful downtown Dunedin on Clearwater Bay, the DDMA is a non-profit organization that was developed to promote awareness of the local merchants in the business community. We do this by organizing and implementing downtown events, advertising through local publications and online media outlets, and networking with like minded business organizations. The Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association (DDMA) works together to enhance the experience of Dunedin. We partner with businesses to focus on promotion and sustainable growth for the continuity of community. Our diversity allows us to foster exceptional relationships, making Dunedin a premier Florida destination.
From their website:
In 2008 several local business volunteers organized under the banner Dunedin Destination Marketing Organization (Dunedin DMO). The purpose of the organization was to locate monies through grants and private business donations to enhance tourism for Dunedin as a whole through a marketing program that included print and TV media. In 2010 we adopted the name Visit Dunedin to mirror the efforts of two other important tourism marketing entities – Visit Florida for our State and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater for our County. Today, Visit Dunedin, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)(6). We are Board driven and advised by a committee that meets monthly. Our mission is simple: to promote the City of Dunedin as a tourist destination through monies acquired through partner contributions and pooling these resources for a greater marketing impact. We do not focus on any one business in our marketing nor allow contributions to be ear-marked towards any one business or project. We focus on Dunedin as a tourist destination.