Twilight Cafe wins top award for attractive storefront

Juneau’s first storefront award has gone to Twilight Café on Willoughby Avenue. The Filipino-owned business won $500 for improving its entrance.

The Juneau Economic Development Council held the first Storefront Star competition this spring to encourage downtown business owners to invest in appearance.

Twilight Café co-owner Catherine Hill-Cristobal says she spent less than $1,000 on changes. She removed two parking barriers that blocked the front entrance, painted the window trim and other parts of the building, hung potted plants, added some landscaping and placed a small bear statue near the entrance.

“I just saw it in Fred Meyer and said, ‘Oh, that’s really nice.’ Because I was thinking more like a water buffalo because it’s more Filipino, but I can’t find it,” Hill-Cristobal says.

JEDC consultant Margo Waring was one of the judges for the contest. She says Twilight Café’s storefront is now more inviting.

“There’s been a significant change in the appearance of the building, its welcome-ness and also its accessibility to pedestrians. So they’ve really put in an enormous amount of work,” Waring says.

The Storefront Star Awards is part of JEDC’s ongoing downtown revitalization effort. Waring says a beautiful downtown will help Juneau remain the capital city.

Executive director Brian Holst says investing in a storefront means investing in the community.

“I think we all know that downtown Juneau is vital to our economy. It’s also a fun place to be and the more attention that we pay to how it looks, the better it will serve the whole community,” Holst says.

Bruce Abel won an award for the exterior redesign of the old Salvation Army building that now houses the Heritage Coffee Roasting Co. offices and plant. Goldstein Development Co. also won for improving the corner of Front and Seward. Annie Kaill’s owner Colleen Goldrich received a $100 prize for People’s Choice award.

JEDC is currently working on a project called Winter Windows encouraging seasonal businesses to think about storefronts even when they’re closed.

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