Businesses on Fresno’s Fulton Street have faced a triple-whammy in the last five years.
For Maria Rosales, owner of Tres Hermanos, it began with construction along Fulton, to turn the iconic pedestrian mall into a street in 2017. Then, high-speed rail construction blocked western access to downtown from Ventura, Tulare, and Kern Streets. And then Covid-19 – with both lockdowns and a switch to remote work for many – knocked many of America’s most successful downtowns to their knees. The stimulus checks during the pandemic were good for business, Rosales said – until people ran out of money.
Sam Hansen, a local marketing guru and owner of FTK Construction had an idea: thousands of young people descend on downtown Fresno to celebrate ArtHop every month. What if some of them gave their talent to bring life to local businesses?
And so ‘Styled by Fulton’, an event put on during the annual Fulton Street Party this November, came to life.
The concept: send local ‘Instagram famous’ stylists on a shopping mission – to dress up models only in clothes found in shops downtown. Fulton Street has an eclectic mix: high-brow and cheap-thrills thrift stores, western wear, quinceanera shops, traditional Latino clothing, and fast fashion.
“We’re showing people that there’s a lot of options when you come downtown,” Hansen said.
Carl Armada, a musician and multimedia artist, selected western-inspired looks, with a “cowboys of the urban sprawl” theme.
“I’m all for bringing new stuff downtown, you need that, but I’m really a big fan of businesses that are already here, and I hope there’s a way that they can coexist,” Hansen said. As landlords continue to raise rents downtown, the fear that the shops that held on over the past several years may not survive is real, he said.
“If you help the businesses that are already here stay here, by engaging them with a new clientele, the probability of them staying is likely much higher,” he added.
The ‘Styled by Fulton’ event is under ‘Stay Here’, a brand of initiatives at the Downtown Fresno Partnership.
For some local businesses, the boost – after enduring the last few years – gave them hope to expand their customer base.
Rosales, owner of Tres Hermanos, was enthusiastic.
“We have a lot going on here on Fulton Street. There’s delicious food. There’s suits. There’s western. There’s prom dresses. There’s shoe places. There’s thrift stores and music and breweries. Fulton has a lot to offer, and not a lot of people know.”
For Alejandra Rosas, who has owned Artesanas Mechicas for the last seven years, she knew that locating her business – which sells traditional Latino clothing and decorations – on Fulton, was key. “It used to be really nice here,” she said. “I figured this would be a good place to start.”
“My clothing is for everyone – I want everyone to see and experience my culture,” Rosas said.
Ultimately, stylist K Monet won the championship prize, after being selected by a judges panel that included Rhoeski and Jenn from Hella Fresno, Elizabeth Rae from Dos Fashions, Ant and Ant from Mas Fresno, Cassey and Kirk James from Root General, and Jewel and Fabio from the Bad Kids Club.
For Hansen, Styled by Fulton is just the beginning. “We’re going to do Styled by Manchester next.”
How to shop ‘Styled by Fulton’
- Artesanas Mechicas (933 Fulton)
- Bad Kids Club at Mammoth Mall (902 Fulton)
- Blue Bird (1118 Fulton)
- Cash Campaign (1759 Fulton)
- Catholic Charities (149 N Fulton)
- Emerald Thrift (717 Van Ness)
- Fours (302 E Olive)
- Fresloca (@fresloca)
- Galeria de Mexico (938 Fulton)
- Mammoth Mall (902 Fulton)
- MAS (1934 Mariposa)
- Morii (736 Fulton)
- Oso y Que (at MAS, 1934 Mariposa)
- Root General (1424 Fulton)
- S Co. Boutique (1560 Fulton)
- Scraps (2019 Tuolumne)
- Sofia’s Creaciones (1155 Fulton)
- The Valley (1904 Tulare)
- Tres Hermanos (966 Fulton)
- Yellow (1560 Fulton)
- Yoshi Now! (648 Broadway)
- Zapateria Mexico (1042 Fulton)