7 Hills connects with residents local needs
Commerce was going strong on a recent weekend in the 7 Hills Business District of Nevada City, a section of town locals consider the place to go for errands such as laundry, groceries and a tire change as well as the best beer around.
At the Zion Street juice bar Fudenjuice, Tony Craegle visited with his daughter, Nicholle, and infant granddaughter, Lillian, sipping peach milkshakes while their dog Ren rested in a basket hooked to his restored “boneshaker,” a replica of an early Penny Farthing bicycle.
It’s a stop the family plans to make a regular one.
In 1991, local merchants worked with the Chamber of Commerce to change what was known by locals as “the stores behind SPD” to establish the identity of the area as the 7 Hills Business District, named after the seven hills the town is built upon.
Including Zion Street to Gold Flat Road, Argall Way, Searls Avenue, Lower Grass Valley Road and the area across the freeway including Prospector’s Nursery, 7 Hills merchants often miss the glamour and spotlight the historic downtown district receives.
“We’ve always been a step-child,” explained Jim Minasian, owner of Nevada City Furniture and Mattresses, a 7 Hills business owner who just celebrated his store’s 13th anniversary.
Located for 10 years in the warehouses tucked behind the Nevada City Frame Shop, Minasian is enjoying higher visibility in his location of 21 months on Argall Way near the new pub, Ol’ Republic.
Offering everything from birdcages to barbecues outside his shop, he has noticed an increase in foot traffic at his store since the brewery opened five months ago.
A 13-year member of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Minasian feels merchants in the 7 Hills Business District are often not included with other downtown promotional materials.
“It seems like we don’t get recognized. All the efforts go to downtown,” he said.
Nevertheless, locals frequent the district, even if it’s not on most tourists’ radar.
Besides two grocery stores, several auto shops and hair salons, there’s everything from Kuk Sool Won, yoga and dance studios to a community cooking school at In The Kitchen and independent films and organic popcorn at the Magic Theatre.
“We’re more of the staples for the town, I think,” Minasian said.
Next door to Minasian’s eclectic shop, Nevada City residents Bill and Laura Pappani were taking a break from running errands, drinking beer outside in the cool shade of Ol’ Republic Brewery.
“If you’re going to do any errands in Nevada City, this is the place to be,” said Bill Pappani, who used to get his haircut at a favorite barber shop in the area while his wife likes to check out MeadowFarm Yarn Studio. They also like the pizza at Miner Moe’s and have considered joining the gym at the South Yuba Club.
Inside, brewery owners Jim Harte and Simon Olney poured beer for a steady stream of customers.
Word of mouth is working to bring in locals from area neighborhoods, many within walking distance. They come in for a cold beer while having tires changed at Plaza Tires, their chainsaw fixed at the SPD Saw Shop or after washing the week’s laundry.
Menus from area eating establishments like nearby P.J.’s deli, SPD, Jernigan’s grill, California Organics and others are carried in the brewery for customers who want a bite to eat while enjoying their beverage, a tactic that provides support for neighboring merchants rather than competition.
“It’s been a great synergy with the brewery being here,” said Harte.
Contact reporter Laura Brown at email@example.com or 401-4877.