Exploring ways to market Evergreen

-A A +A

Focus group on quest for slogan to attract tourists, keep locals local

By Sandy Barnes

 Gathered around a table Jan. 15 at the Center for the Arts Evergreen, community leaders discussed ways to encourage residents to shop locally and also to attract tourists.

"Our locals need education … need to be the advocates," said Lin Browning, president of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce. "Our job is to empower our locals. We want to develop our pride in Evergreen."

"I like the idea of shopping local," said Steve Sumner, Center for the Arts director. 

Sumner also suggested that as many representatives of local organizations as possible be part of the effort to promote and unify Evergreen.

The Downtown Evergreen Economic District is involved in a similar effort, he said. 

"Right now we have four groups talking about doing the same thing," Sumner said. "We could be joining forces and resources."

During the December meeting of the focus group, when an initial slogan for Evergreen emerged, Dean Dalvit of DEED was present, along with Evergreen Park and Recreation District Executive Director Scott Robson and other community leaders. However, last week's meeting was more sparsely attended.

Since the agreement to use "Our Evergreen" as a phrase for branding the community, Browning said she had received less-than-positive comments about it. 

"Does it give too much exclusivity?" asked Sumner, who previously suggested "I (heart logo) Evergreen."

 To address the challenge of coming up with a successful slogan, Browning suggested holding a contest that would be advertised in the Canyon Courier.

"What's our specialness?" asked Evergreen resident John Isaacson.

Both Isaacson and Sumner pointed to the drawing power of Evergreen Lake, where people are flocking this winter to ice skate and play hockey. 

"If people have to drive, they think it's worth more," said Isaacson. "People driving up from the city becomes an adventure."

"The Evergreen Arts and Cultural Alliance focused on getting people here from the outside," said Sumner. "We felt our audience would come from the outside, along with that local partnership."

He suggested giving visitors who come to the lake discount coupons to local shops and restaurants.

The group also talked about how some longtime Evergreen residents seem to want to keep the community small. 

"With locals, is there an underlying feeling, 'We like it the way it is'?" asked Issacson.

Browning remarked that a recent trend seems to be in middle-aged people moving to the community and older residents going down the hill where the weather is milder. She also said that families moving to Evergreen want more resources in the community.

"It seems like a lot of people are unclear as to where they fit into the picture," said Issacson.

"Let's concentrate on the mission," said Laurie Romberg, representing the Arts Alliance.

"Our mission was to get locals to shop local," said Sumner. "They're going to have to do something to attract locals to shop Evergreen."

"We have to educate our businesses as much as the public," said Romberg. "Our goal is that they will thrive."

Browning presented a mission statement that she had developed: "Empowering our community to develop pride in Evergreen and to become advocates; encourage living locally and driving tourism to the community."

The group also agreed to a set meeting date, which will be on the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the Center for the Arts beside Buchanan Rec Center.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreen.com or call 303-350-1042.