When Kerry Yanasak was named the new interim executive director of the Puyallup Main Street Association in Febuary, he identified some key goals he wanted to pursue.
One of them is to give the association, an organization meant to enrich the downtown business district, more of a presence.
“What we don’t have for some reason is a presence downtown on the street,” Yanasak said. “People don’t know who we are or haven’t seen anybody for a long time — but they are now.”
And who they’re seeing is Yanasak.
“My big thing is going up and down the street talking to people. I want a face associated with Main Street and that’s what I need to do,” Yanasak said.
This isn’t the first time Yanasak, a 35-year Puyallup resident, held a leadership position with the association. He’s a past president of the board.
“My time here was good,” he said. “When I was president here we started the hanging baskets, we started the Art and Wine Walk.”
He worked in the mortgage business for 30 years and is a past president of the Kiwanis Club.
“I’ve never not been downtown and I love downtown,” Yanasak said. “I was involved in lots of different things in the community.”
“I remember the time that he was (the association) president and the organization was growing and thriving,” added Arla Gustafson, owner of Newell Hunt Furniture and Puyallup Main Street Association member. “I’m so excited for them to charge into economic development and the continuation of growing a more prosperous downtown.”
In recent years, the association struggled. Along from losing some board members, it lost its national certification as a Main Street. Puyallup Main Street Association earned its designation from the Washington State Main Street Program and its national certification several years ago.
Yanasak wants the association to gain that national certification back.
“To do that we have to have everything in place that Main Street does, which is organization, promotion, design and economic development,” Yanasak said. “Those are the four areas that a certified Main Street or a designated Main Street program does.”
The association has a committee for each area, and is reaching out to attract more board members.
“We want some people who’ve been around for a while, some new energetic people, somebody from the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, retail industry, community members — all different facets of the downtown area,” Yanasak said.
The association is also seeking more memberships. Right now, it has approximately 50 memberships — less than it used to be, Yanasak said.
Association Board President Chris Kucklick was glad that Yanasak could take the position — even if it’s not permanent.
“It was much needed, and he fills that spot really well,” Kucklick said. “He’s used to walking downtown and talking to people. He’s got a great personality for that position and that’s what we need right now.”
But Yanasak is, as of right now, only there for the short term.
“Right now we’re not in quite a rush to get somebody to fill that spot,” Kucklick added. “We want to be really careful and thoughtful on who we select (as executive director).”
Puyallup Main Street Association is now readying for the upcoming Meeker Days June 15-17 and the Puyallup Farmers Market, which Yanasak said brings thousands of people to the area every year.
Anyone interested is welcome to stop by the association’s new office at 118 W. Main St. to meet the staff, who moved into the new location in February and are happy to be directly on Main Street now, Yanasak said.
Kucklick feels positive about the improvement of the association moving forward.
“We really want Main Street to raise the bar all the way around and really step up,” he said. “Puyallup deserves to have an awesome Main Street and that’s what we’re going to do.”
For information, visit puyallupmainstreet.com.