Downtown coalition hires director

Photo courtesy of Amy Tilley

The Downtown Brentwood Coalition recently hired resident Amy Tilley, seen here with her husband and two children, as its executive director.

New Downtown Brentwood Coalition Executive Director Amy Tilley says the downtown’s natural charm pulled her in to stay about six years ago when she and her family visited in search of a forever home.

So it’s only fitting that when a job arose with a duty to maintain that charm, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I love this city, I love downtown, I spend a ton of time here,” said Tilley, of Brentwood. “I bring my kids here for everything, try to attend every event that I can. It’s such a fun and special place. I just love it — why wouldn’t I want to support the businesses that are down here?”

Tilley, an accredited small-business consultant, was hired Dec. 1 as the organization’s first full-time director after the group had been run by volunteer business and property owners. She’ll have a number of duties, including:

  • supporting the organization’s current member businesses
  • serving as a liaison between current and future downtown businesses and the city
  • coordinating the organization’s various yearly community events
  • expanding the organization’s boundaries
  • increasing its membership base
  • creating synergy among the downtown businesses, the city and the coalition.

The Downtown Brentwood Coalition is an all-volunteer group of downtown property and business owners who strive to enhance economic growth of the downtown area by focusing on education, promotion and development of local businesses.

The Press takes the time to interview the new director for the Downtown Coalition of Downtown Brentwood, Amy Tilley. Tune in to see what she has to say!

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Prior to waiving all membership fees during the pandemic and including all businesses in its base, the organization included about 50 businesses, said Becky Bloomfield, chair of the Downtown Brentwood Coalition.

The City of Brentwood has agreed to contribute up to $190,000 total over the next three fiscal years to fund the position, believing that it will become self-sustaining, said Joshua Ewen, a City of Brentwood senior analyst.

The agreement stipulates that the coalition and its hired executive director will provide a wide variety of services to promote and support the downtown and the greater downtown business community in exchange for city financial support, Ewen said.

The coalition is being encouraged to focus on fundraising, events and growing its membership to cover its ongoing costs after June 30, 2024, Ewen said.

Bloomfield said she’s excited for the organization’s future. “She’s (Tilley) is a dynamo,” Bloomfield said. “She’s well-educated and familiar with the (downtown) area. We couldn’t have asked for a better person.”

For Tilley, the job is a natural fit, she said.

The married mother of two young girls has lived in Brentwood for about six years, previously serving as an independent small-business consultant who helped her clients reduce costs while refining their processes, procedures, strategies, marketing and training programs, she said.

Coming out of last year’s shelter-in-place restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she was anticipating that her business would soar, and then a number of her Facebook friends tagged her in a job posting for the coalition’s opening.

“Everyone was like, ‘Amy, you need to apply for this,’” she said. “I was like, ‘That is really nice,’ and then I read it and was like, ‘Oh, that is perfect! I can help a lot of small businesses at one time.’”

Tilley said she anticipates making the organization’s already successful fundraising even better, sponsorship and community event organization practices while reducing the workload on coalition’s volunteers, expanding its membership boundaries, strengthening the organization’s relationships with the city and enhancing awareness of the coalition and its offerings.

The DBC launched amid the 2008 recession with the intent of ensuring that the area maintains a family-fun atmosphere and welcoming attitude, according to the organization.

At the time, the area’s occupancy rate was around 50% and the organization’s Oktoberfest celebration — just one of at least seven yearly events the coalition now sponsors — consisted of two kegs of beer. Today the downtown area’s building occupancy rate is generally above 90%; and in 2019 the Oktoberfest celebration sold 72 kegs of beer, according to city and organization officials.

“The reason I am doing this job is not for lack of anyone within this coalition wanting to do it,” Tilley said. “They need to keep their own businesses afloat.”

Regarding business support, Tilley said she plans to revamp the organization’s membership offerings to ensure that the coalition serves as a business marketing, promotions, support and networking resource.

She envisions helping businesses bring in more shoppers and overcome the challenge of attracting business during off-peak times, along with other issues that routinely bog down businesses.

“I really respect the small-business owners and what they are going through,” Tilley said. “A lot of times they just need a little bit of support, a little bit of help. They have a special skill and a passion — that’s why they started their business. Sometimes you get in the weeds with that, and it’s hard to deal with what is going on over here.”

Tilley’s hiring is also a key requirement for the downtown to become an accredited national Main Street America community, which would open doors to a host of resources, including grants, incentives and operational assistance, Ewen said.

The Main Street America organization, made up of national small towns, mid-sized communities and urban commercial districts, is billed as the leading voice for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization across the country.

Other accredited Northern California agencies exist in Livermore, Pleasanton, Martinez, Benicia and Hollister.

Accredited agencies must meet 10 standards of performance that involve their operating budget; mission and vision statements; commercial district revitalization practices; training for its staff and volunteers; and having a paid, professional executive director.

Only about 800 nationwide communities meet the standards, Ewen said.

“Main Street America is the pinnacle of district identification, economic development and historic preservation for downtowns and other historic areas nationwide,” Ewen said.

Tilley said she’s excited to dig into the job.

“Nothing is off limits,” she said. “We can work with anyone. If it is going to benefit the downtown, then that is what we need to do.”

For more information on the coalition, visit