Maria Bailey knows Water Street well. As the previous Chairman of the Water Street District Business Association (WSDBA), Bailey is the consummate businesswoman. She has years of experience as an executive for major retail and now owns her own digital marketing firm, Success City Online, working alongside Water Street business owners for more than a decade.
As witness to a flurry of redevelopment and investment in this historic region of Henderson, Bailey well understands Water Street’s evolution from sleepy to sexy. “Water Street used to roll up its sidewalks at 5 p.m., now it rolls them out at 5 p.m,” she said. “With a plethora of new bars, breweries and restaurants, nightlife on Water Street is real and here to stay. Water Street’s storied and remarkable history has taken a new turn, and the energy is palpable.”
Bailey, who moved to Southern Nevada about 30 years ago, put down serious roots in Henderson two decades ago. She started attending Henderson Chamber of Commerce meetings to network, which led to an introduction to the Water Street District Business Association.
Recognizing Bailey’s business acumen, members of the WSDBA put her in charge more than three years ago. And in short order, she helped refocus the organization’s mission from problem-solver to game-changer, making Water Street a destination of choice. Working alongside City of Henderson staff and leadership, Bailey tapped the enthusiasm of new and entrepreneurial business owners whose goals aligned with that mission.
Today, she and others in leadership positions within the Association have built strong attendance at regular mixers and lunch ‘n’ learns with the goal of enhancing communication, increasing camaraderie, and building esprit de corps. “As business owners, we survived the pandemic by sourcing constant communication from local medical and civic leaders, sharing resources, and we created a network of support.”
Bailey is quick to give shout-outs to several Water Street business leaders, including Tim Brooks of Emerald Island and Rainbow Club, Richard and Linda Lovelady of Lovelady Brewing, and Juan Vazquez of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas. “These early pioneers helped to establish a culture of support, encouraging patronage of all businesses in the area. Their influence is felt by nearly every business owner on the street.”
With support from Bailey’s can-do attitude and get-it-done style, the WSDBA team had several successes to its credit, including the growth of American Express’s “Shop Small” initiative. She helped by encouraging more participation from retail businesses on Water Street, also developing an online version during the pandemic called ShopSmallEverySaturday.com.
“This is a great time for Water Street and its mighty band of entrepreneurs who have poured their hearts into running successful businesses here,” said Bailey. “We invite all Southern Nevadans to check out Water Street for themselves – you won’t be disappointed!”