As a downtown restaurant owner, Ramiro Galvan wants to attract people throughout the CSRA to his eatery on Walton Way, which is why he was excited to participate in a creative project that allows him to build connections with potential customers in a unique way.
Galvan, owner of The Munchies Lab, is one of nearly 30 local business owners featured in the new Downtown Augusta Coloring Book, a fundraiser created by a non-profit organization called Beautify Augusta that will use the proceeds from the book’s sales to fund new murals in downtown Augusta. They sell for $10 each.
The book features illustrations of business owners and their storefronts, as well as facts about those owners. Besides Munchies Lab, the businesses include Grantski Records, Joe’s Underground, Garden City Social, and Powerserve. Local artist, Cole Phail designed and illustrated the book using photographs taken by Sanjeev Singhal, owner of CSRA Photography.
Galvan said he expects the project to resonate particularly well with younger diners who look for any opportunity they can get to take and post pictures on social media.
“I think the coloring book is a great idea, not only to put a face to a local business, but also gather some money to put a few more nice things to bring people to the downtown area,” he said.
Like Galvan, Jeremy Rueggeberg, who co-founded Beautify Augusta with Jess Baskette last year, wants to attract more people to that area and its businesses.
“We love downtown, but the problem is most people don’t know how to navigate downtown,” Rueggeberg said.
The coloring book introduces CSRA residents to businesses they may have never heard of before.
“I enjoy telling the business owners’ stories,” he said.
Rueggeberg said some people have asked if they could buy copies directly from him, but he directs them to downtown businesses that are not only featured in the book but are also selling copies of it. Those businesses include Laziza Mediterranean Grill, Halo Salon & Spa, and StillWater Taproom.
So far, Rueggeberg said they’ve sold about 450 copies and raised approximately $2,500 to cover the cost of downtown murals that will be created by local artists, such as Addison Niday and April Henry King.
“The business owners love it because they know it will be poured back into young artists,” he said.
They’ve printed 5,000 copies of the book and Rueggeberg would love to print 5,000 more. They plan to sell them at Arts in the Heart in September.
“We’re already thinking about volume two and I’ve had three businesses contact me about the next one,” he said.
Galvan said many of his customers are active-duty and retired military servicemembers, some of whom are stationed or have moved overseas.
“We’re shipping some as far away as Australia, so that’s exciting,” he said.
For more information, visit the Beautify Augusta Facebook page.