Oldtown Salinas Gets a New Name

SALINAS, Calif. —

There are a lot of new things happening in Oldtown Salinas; new businesses, a new vibe and a new name.

Oldtown is now called Salinas City Center.

Everything new about it was on display at the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting Tuesday night.

“I’ve seen it grow over the years — new merchants, new businesses, new staff, new employees. I mean, every day, there’s something new,” said Donna Boyster, an events coordinator at Georgio’s restaurant.

In just over a year, Cal State Monterey Bay has opened a satellite campus in City Center and Taylor Farms moved its headquarters into a new building.

The building is called the Taylor building and offers retail shopping on the ground floor.

Donna Bruhn moved her giftshop “Gifts on the Go” there nine months ago.

“There’s a lot going on, a lot going on. The restaurants are happening and people are downtown. They’re going to the movies, they’re going to the Steinbeck Center, they’re doing business and they’re coming into my store, so I feel pretty lucky to be here,” Bruhn said.

Bruhn can expect more business. First Capital Bank is moving its staff from a Ryan Ranch office to the Taylor building, bringing 35 employees who will shop and eat in City Center.

“I have seen a change myself the new businesses. Everything else, it’s adding a new flare to Salinas that’s drawing a lot more people in,” Salinas resident and Oldtown visitor Allan Blake said.

City leaders are also doing their part to help businesses thrive. The City Council just months ago gave the green light to outdoor dining.

“You know, the new people they brought on board with the city, they’re very positive about building businesses as a business. It goes a long way,” said Jeff Lamb, who owns the Farm Fresh Deli & Café, next door to the Maya cinemas.

Tuesday’s tree lighting ceremony is one of several events planned for City Center this week.

Saturday is “Forget the mall and shop small” day, an event that encourages shoppers to support local small independent merchants. There will be carolers, games and special deals for shoppers to enjoy. That will be followed Sunday with a Christmas light parade down Main Street, which kicks off at 6 p.m.

“Come down here and see what it’s all about. Visit your merchants. Give them your local business. I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more than you realize you will. It’s a beautiful atmosphere. It’s a beautiful town,” Boyster said.

Watch video posted at KSBW here.