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Winter Park Claims its Own Brand

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       – City Spending Money for Advertising While Economy Grows         

    New York City is known as the big apple and Chicago is the windy city. Now Winter Park will soon have its own identity. The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency recently held a meeting where local residents were part of a new advertising campaign. The goal for city planners is to come up with a new brand for Park Avenue and the city’s central business district. At the meeting locals pitched their ideas of what comes to mind when thinking of Park Avenue. This could include phrases, slogans, and images that represent the area.  The new “brand” is just one part of a strategy that hopes to bring more commerce to this stretch of Winter Park.  However the new plan won’t be entirely free.         

Winter Park Looks for More Traffic

            Park Avenue and nearby Hannibal Square are known for their rows of shops and restaurants that attract visitors from across Central Florida. City planners are now taking steps to ensure local business grows. This includes paying the Orlando marketing firm Engauge $90,000 to come up with a new brand and organize a marketing strategy. Local architect Jack Rodgers, who has worked as a developer for the Park Avenue area,  is in favor of the move. He says anything the city can do to “make people aware of the brand” is a good thing. The question becomes what exactly is the city’s new identity? Rodgers, who’s family settled in Winter Park in 1928, believes the key is focusing on the city’s history and tradition. Rodgers saw Winter Park grow from a village of about 3,000 to what it is today. A hub for local restaurants and merchants trying to make a living.

           Despite the recent economic downturn, the local economy in Winter Park is doing fairly well. City planners say business vacancies are currently normal at around 6 percent. Storefronts that used to be bare are now being filled again by local merchants. Jack Rodgers says he would “encourage anybody to start a business” in Winter Park. When talking to Winter Park residents about the city spending $90,000 to market itself,  the move is seen as mostly uncontroversial.

       “Longtime Winter Park resident Penny Hawlie was happy with the city’s decision. When asked if the city needed to increase advertising, Hawlie said “It’s good to prepare for the future.” While the final product isn’t expected from Engauge for another five months, citizens seem pleased that Winter Park is being proactive in growing local business.

Business Vacancies in Winter Park Remain Low

Originally, the City of Winter Park conducted a study in 2009 to determine how to improve the local economy. Officials admit at the time business along the avenue was slower than today. While the same sense of urgency isn’t evident today, the city believes its new plan will continue a push in the right direction and feels money spent is the right action. As for now, what Park Avenue’s brand will be, remains a mystery. However it appears that Winter Park residents feel good about the city’s plan. Even if it does require a little extra money.

-Arthur Volpe

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Written by ArthurVolpe

April 11, 2011 at 1:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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