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 July 1, 1999

Marketing game plan couples new campaign, long-term vision

BOULDER — How often do you hear “only in Boulder?”

At least a few times a week, if not more.

The saying is so familiar, members of Downtown Boulder Inc. (DBI), a group representing merchants and tenants in city’s center, are using the cliche as the central theme in a new marketing campaign.

The series of ads touting downtown and the Pearl Street Mall will debut in late August and September, says Virginia Patterson, chairman of DBI’s marketing committee. The “only in Boulder” ads will appear in area newspapers and on buses.

With the campaign, says Patterson, “We’re trying to pique the interest of people in visiting or returning to the sites, sounds, tastes and pleasures of shopping and dining downtown.” Patterson is owner of The Printed Page shop on the mall.

And while Patterson has spearheaded this year’s marketing effort for downtown, others are taking a longer-term look at keeping the mall and downtown viable for years to come.

DBI’s current marketing budget is about $20,000. If the downtown Business Improvement District (BID) passes, the marketing budget the first year could be $280,000.

Sean Maher, owner of Ben & Jerry’s on the mall, is working with city officials on a marketing strategy for downtown that aims to keep it competitive with new retail developments, such as FlatIron Crossing shopping mall in Broomfield.

“Twenty years ago,” says Maher, “the mall was fresh, it was exciting, it was new, it was cutting-edge, and we need to probably at some major updating to keep it that way for the next 20 years.” Maher’s partner in the long-range study is Molly Winter, a planner with the city’s Downtown and University Hill Division and Parking Services.

Winter says the city is spending about $30,000 on studies in the first comprehensive review of downtown’s marketing plan in 10 years.

Results from the studies, conducted by phone and in writing, are expected in July.

“A market update is a very valuable document that we will share with downtown property owners and businesses,” says Winter. Results of the studies may lead to new kinds of attractions for the 22-year-old, four-block open-air mall.

“Our research shows most people view downtown as an entertainment and eating destination, as opposed to shopping,” says Maher. He thinks the future could bring anchor attractions like a large-screen IMAX theater or multi-screen movie theater, perhaps even an amphitheater to make entertainment “more accessible and exciting for people.”

Maher is quick to add that DBI isn’t out to fix something that isn’t broken. The mall is a “fantastic product, but we just want to make sure it continues to be a great product going forward, and that five years from now, it hasn’t become stale and outdated,” losing visitors to other attractions.

“There are parts of (the mall) that are starting to decline a bit in terms of maintenance and upkeep,” says Maher, “and we want to make sure that it stays clean, and, if there are ways we can improve it, that we do.”

One aim of any new marketing strategy is how downtown Boulder can continue to attract out-of-town visitors. Those visitors, says Maher, are a substantial part of downtown’s customer base, and “without them, most of these merchants can’t survive.”

BOULDER — How often do you hear “only in Boulder?”

At least a few times a week, if not more.

The saying is so familiar, members of Downtown Boulder Inc. (DBI), a group representing merchants and tenants in city’s center, are using the cliche as the central theme in a new marketing campaign.

The series of ads touting downtown and the Pearl Street Mall will debut in late August and September, says Virginia Patterson, chairman of DBI’s marketing committee. The “only in Boulder” ads will appear in area…

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