Downtown marketing task force unveils “Bring it! Downtown” campaign

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Submitted: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 1:33am
Updated: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 3:02pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington city leaders have agreed the investment of $60,000 is worth the cost. That’s how much money from the city’s parking fund they are giving a marketing task force to encourage folks to shop and dine downtown.

“Bring it! Downtown” is the branding the marketing task force made up of local business and property owners is pushing.

Joan Loch with the Downtown Business Alliance, which is spearheading the project said, “We are always having new people relocate here. We need to educated them and entice them.”

Loch says the group will use radio, print and TV to spread the message.

Although the idea is new to many in the public, the task force has been working on the project for eight months. Loch says the group is also investing money back into the local economy.

John Laforgia of Porters Neck says he supports the city’s decision to invest $60,000 in the project.

“Sixty thousand dollars? I don’t think that’s too much money to spend on advertising in a city of this size,” Laforgia said.

Buying downtown is exactly the goal and the task force is hoping its marketing technique will bring the masses.

“It’s to make them sit up and say you know what I haven’t gone downtown too often. I need to go back down there again, I need to take my child to the children’s museum. I need to go to the public library,” Loch said.

The $60,000 coming from the city for the project will be spent in two phases. Half will come from this year’s budget and the other half from next year’s budget.


  • Guest1111 says:

    Thank you…you have had the most rational intelligent comment so far in response to WWAY online reporting. You are on point regarding the deficiencies on the parking. Please note the businesses are just as frustrated from what is said…they would not want to lose customers because of a negative experience. More benchmarking of other cities certainly needs to take place. Maybe change will start with the volunteer efforts of this task force.

  • Beach Bum says:

    First off, there is nothing convienant downtown.

    The notion of a two way street on Front Street, years ago, should of been the first clue phone. Now the city planners gimp up 3rd street by shrinking travel lanes for parking?

    Brilliant. Just brilliant planning and fore sight.

    The entire atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired. Besides all the part time hippies, you have the homo’s and dykes, the g.i.’s from Lejune, as well as, the normal mutts you have to deal with while you are shopping in extremely over priced stores, or being forced to be around a shady bar environment and absolutely no convienant parking or even traffic flow. Look at how long it takes for traffic to clear out after a fireworks demo downtown. Well over 2 hours.

    I think the people and planners of Wilmington and New Hanover County should get real and realize you can only squeeze so many people into a small area. It would appear the rational thought process and/or common sense waved bye bye to the occupants of Wilmington and New Hanover County long ago. And now those occupants have the audacity to piss and moan about annexation or a ball park and they are not happy with a 60k marketing scheme?

    All hypocrites… All.

  • Guest1111 says:

    What in someone’s personality makes them degrade someone or some organization with incorrect comments? From what I can attest to, the DBA organization has been in existence for 35 years, has always had involvement in downtown to support, unite and promote the downtown community. It sponsors some wonderful events such as Rims On The River, (if you like vintage cars and cycles) and Art Blast and Art Walk supporting the cultural and artist community. Furthermore, the “money” is not being given to DBA or WDI, it is being used to implement a professional marketing plan researched and written by 7 long term business owners in downtown pro bono “free” meaning no cost to the taxpayer “you”. Why not feel better that money that is allocated every year is being responsibly spent taking into account input from the community allover (not just downtown but Pine Valley, Landfall and perimeters to the city. And all the money is being cycled back into the local community with the choice of printers and media companies. What’s not to support about that?

  • GetInvolved says:

    Now THAT is one clever reply. Boy, you got even with me. You didn’t address my point though. Let me repeat this s-l-o-w-l-y; quit complaining, quit throwing barbs, quit bashing others for what they are doing/not doing…and try to make our town a better place. You’ll feel better, instead of making stupid replies. xo

  • Guest2020 says:

    The Downtown Business Alliance is literally about six people, if that. They get no one at their meetings, if they have any. Why are we giving them any money?

  • Besty_Guesty says:

    Crime? Drugs? Rapes? Assaults? Robberies? Potholes? Congestion? High Taxes? Wasteful Spending? Et cetera

    No need to “Bring It! Downtown”

    It is already there!

  • Citizen of the Republic says:

    The people say “keep it”.

    The powers that be just don’t understand the real problem that keeps people from coming downtown, or coming back to downtown.

    The parking situation is horrible. The spaces are small, the rate is high, and the penalty for an expired meter is severe in this economy.

    Has the city tried turning the street parking places into extra space for business to use. The parking decks would be the only option for parking, and could be capped at $5 a day. At least customers would know they wouldn’t be getting a ticket, and it would be fairly convenient for most. Handicapped individuals could call and have a city van or other means of transport pick them up and take them to the shops.

    Charleston and Savannah are incredible walking towns. It seems they have found a way to make it into a great stroll with many business to choose from, with little traffic. And, I’ve never seen a parking ticket being written, or on a car. I’m sure they have them, I just haven’t see one.

    This is just an idea. But anything is better than coming back to your car and seeing a ticket hanging on the wiper. This is an instant business killer. The taste of that experience will take years to get out of your mouth.

    When your asking someone to come spend money at your business, and your already behind in the race because of parking fees, and let’s face it, it’s more expensive downtown, you have to have some creative thinkers to draw people in.

    When the “Bounty” was here my wife and I went to see it. On the way back, I saw parking enforcement write 5 tickets while we were walking back to the parking deck.
    Those 5 people will think hard and long before they come out of their way to downtown, when they could go somewhere in the county for free.

    It also reminded me why I don’t go downtown more often.

  • Get Involved says:

    What would it take for you ‘expert’ commentators to stop writing all this negative garbage and get involved in our community? You don’t like what’s going on in OUR TOWN, fine. Despite the brain power demonstrated by everyone’s obviously well-informed positions on these pages (sic), how about you roll up your sleeves? You don’t like the ‘people in power’, fine, find someone you do like…or get yourself in power. It ain’t that hard. At a minimum your voice could be heard by someone other than those voices in your head and/or the other dimwits on these comment pages.

  • Guest7969 says:

    BRING IT…I assume the mean lots of money for the parking meters…

  • Guest7969 says:

    what they did was ILLEGAL…as they transferred money here, then there, then back to here so they could give the money…because they couldn’t give the money DIRECTLY…they just went around it…but nobody is going to take them to task on it…

  • Guest6858 says:

    People….We Need To Really Get Vocal About A Newly Proposed 3 cent Tax Increase (since they don’t seem to be bothered by throwing my money away.) They have enough of my money already!!!

  • Buster says:

    We didn’t “Do it Downtown” and “Bring it” sounds more like desperation or an invitaion to a fight.

    How many more times does Wilmington need to revitalize, rebrand, revamp…before someone finally gets it? Downtown shopping was replaced by air conditioned shopping malls and convenience stores with free parking years ago.

    Baseball, hotdogs and apple pie has been replaced with flatscreen TVs with 500 channels, microwave popcorn and beer.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Welcome, dimwit!

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Notwithstanding the fact that the entire concept of still actually having a “DOWNTOWN” in today’s modern world is passe; “Bring It”, that’s the best they’ve got?

    That’s $7500 a letter if you include the space between them as one of the letters.

    This is the best effort that all of the businesses in “DOWNTOWN” could come up with? “DOWNTOWN” doesn’t need a Convention Center or a Ballpark, it needs an insane asylum.

  • M291 says:

    I’m assuming you are invoking the Equal Protection Clause, in that they are spending money on some but not others. There are a number of cases which say that the government can spend money as they see fit, as long as the class of people being advanced, hindered, are not a protected class (in thoses cases there must be a state interest: rational basis, compelling interest, etc). Non-downtown people are not a protected class. Honestly, if they had to be “equal,” it’s impossible, they could never do it, and our government would cease to function.

    I think Downtown is a huge economic benefit for the city/county, and it could be a lot nicer if more people live, worked, and invested downtown.

  • concerned citizen says:

    Please explain to me how it is legal? If you take tax dollars and advertise for private owned businesses. If I own a business in Wilmington that is not downtown, and I offer the same products as a store downtown how can I supposed to compete with them. Is it fair to let them get free advertisement for their business. Is that not unfair business practices. Here is a story for you try and take all the people in local govt in Wilmington including the mayor and show the public what they own in the downtown area and where they put money at in the city. You will see that they have vested interest in all of the places.

  • Guest1111 says:

    you are right…lot’s of infrastructure repairs taking place. But what if you were a business owner downtown without a say when the repairs or street closures took place, had a lot of your hard earned savings invested in your business, and just barely survived the last few years of recession and lack of support from banks. Would you want to read comments like yours.

    Businesses are open 12 months a year and would welcome your support…they are the brick and mortars that this country was built on. And they are the mom and pops of yesteryear that want to provide you with good customer service. Try it…

  • robo says:

    Why would anyone want to shop or dine downtown when the streets are constantly under a state of revision and repair?

  • Guest1111 says:

    The common message of Bring It! DOWNTOWN is being matched from my reading of the marketing plan which is public knowledge on the city website. Independent businesses are using the slogan and visual image within their TV commercials and print and radio ads that do have a monetary value to them. This is what gives the campaign reach similar to building a brand on Facebook or Twitter. From the legal contract the city staff has required (also on the city website)from the task force, this is a measuring requirement on a quarterly basis. The monies are from an enterprise fund that cannot be used for anything else therefore why not have them planned and spent by degreed business people that can spend the money back into the local community for print and media buy. Food for thought…

  • SurfCityTom says:

    it was not a matching funds type of grant. The memberships of WDI and DBA would match the dollars granted by the city on a dollar to dollar basis. If the City puts $60,000 on the table, the memberships of the 2 business promoter groups put $60,000 on the table at the same time.

    Think how much more effective an advertising campaign could be with twice the swag to spend.

    And then, maybe other citizens would begin to think thi isn’t just a handout.



  • brendle says:

    Give that money to CFPUA and maybe they wont ask for a raise next month.
    Where the heck does the city council get the idea that the budget can stand anymore giveaways.

  • Wade Griffis says:

    Downtown is the place to be. The library is the best kept secret of Wilmington.

    The work crew (city) does a really good job of cleaning up after the drunks.

    It does not matter about the drunks. Only young people are down there at night. When you are young your bones heal faster. When you are old you know better than to tempt fate.

    Never mind! There are wonderful coffee shops open at 6:30 am/ My favorite is Java Dog. They do not pay me for this endorsment. They like dogs. I like dogs.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    “does a really good job of cleaning up after the drunks” … “It does not matter about the drunks. Only young people are down there at night. When you are young your bones heal faster. When you are old you know better than to tempt fate”

    Gee Wade, I think you just wiped out the City’s $60,000 handout in a single post! Now they’re going to have to come back and ask for even more money. :-)

  • Guest33 says:

    A non Profit group, takes tax parking money to promote for Profit. Oxymoron…. It’s not a non profit group anymore, is it???

  • Guest 4545 says:

    You can put a tuxedo on a goat but it’s still a goat. You can call it what you want but it’s still downtown Wilmington. Nothing has changed except the city is 60K lighter.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    So we go from “Do it Downtown” to “Bring it! Downtown”? What creativity!! 60K per word is it?

    This will also be a fail… more wasted dollars from the folks that can’t run bath water.

  • Guest2020 says:

    If 60k per word is the going rate, I am in the wrong business.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    have the business owners, who in theory will benefit from this campaign throw some chips on the table?

    Would a $120,000 advertising blitz not be twice as effective as $60,000?

    I’m really not certain what your post is an attempt at other than clouding the issue.

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