Groups come together to rebrand downtown Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Downtown Wilmington has a lot of supporters, but sometimes groups seem to be moving in different directions. Tuesday night a group representing all aspects of downtown life and commerce came together to see how they could make a good thing better by branding.

Jim Bitto of the Downtown Business Association is one of the organizers.

"I strongly believe that branding is one of the most effective marketing processes that we know," Bitto said. "Everyone tries to market through a branding process, and what we want to do is come up with a common branding effort where we could have all of the businesses tie together through some kind of a theme where they could use that theme in their advertising."

Marcia Freilke has a business downtown. She says she is very happy with the effort.

"I think everybody is moving in the right direction," Freilke said. "We all have the same long-term goals to make downtown an experience that everybody in the community, whether you live and work in downtown or you are in the outskirts of the county, you want to come down here, and you want to stay down here. It is very destination oriented. You want to be here and bring your family here."

People attending the meeting believe the process can help more than just businesses.

"I think it's going to promote the city and promote the assets that we all realize are here," George Edwards, Executive Director of the Wilmington Historic Foundation, said. "From the foundation's perspective you can't do enough to talk about the great historic districts that we have that are really part of downtown. There are six districts. I thought the energy tonight was spectacular. People had good ideas, creative slogans. I hope that we are going to see a real spin-off from this and more people are going to come a support the community."

The next step is to review the input from tonight's meeting and make recommendations.

In case you were wondering downtown is now defined as the area along the riverfront east to 5th Avenue and from Castle Street north to the Isabella Holmes Bridge.

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What a joke! Why on earth would anyone want to come downtown at night? There are some decent, locally owned restaurants but all the shops have a creepy feel to them. Not to mention, everything closes by 6. Besides, who wants to come downtown and PAY TO PARK???

Mayfaire is NICE, with clean shops and free parking. Oh, and I don't feel like I'm gonna be robbed by thugs or shop owners - unlike Downtown.

The economy is bad. Try working on pulling in jobs, rather than picking the pockets of tax payers and discouraging people from supporting LOCAL businesses!

I was at the meeting, and most of the ideas were idiotic.

What the group "representing all aspects of downtown life" wants is more bars, more entertainment venues, more noise, more trendy restaurants, more tourist crap."

And many in the group do not live downtown. I am sick to death of these newcomers who want to revitalize (read more bars more noise) downtown, to make it louder and more raunchy, more youth-oriented.

Downtown Charleston and Savannah are quiet, historic seaports noted for their architecture, eclectic shops, and stunning beauty. Downtown Wilmington, on the other hand, is known for bars, bars, bars, and hardly any other retail businesses worth mentioning.

Blah, Blah Blah.Same old folks talking about the same old stuff. I truly believe most of these folks just love to hear themselves talk. Just offer a good product or service for a fair price and people will come. It really is that simple. Slogans are for used car salesman.

The area was just re-branded now downtown is to be re-branded. Please be advised you can put a tuxedo on a goat but it's still a goat.
Some local politician must have a "re-branding" business that needs an infusion of taxpayer's money.

Marketing, rebranding, taglines, and re-designating what "downtown" is will do nothing until the two major issues of why people don't want to shop and dine there are addressed: SAFETY and PARKING!

I do not drive, so most people would think I do not have a dog in this fight.

Not so! Safety downtown is the issue. I live 8 blocks from Front st. and am downtown every morning for coffee.

Since I am an old man, I do not go downtown at night. The two main attractions of downtown at night are babes and booze. The babes would not be interested in me and the booze, i drink at home.

No danger of broken bones or gunshot wounds at my home.