'Classic' 28th Street Marketing Campaign Launched By DDA

June 16, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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WYOMING — A new advertising campaign unveiled by the Wyoming DDA aims to help boost business on the three-mile stretch of 28th Street touted as Wyoming Town Center.

The "Classic Convenience" campaign theme was rolled out last week for local officials and the news media on a tour that stopped at several key business locations on 28th Street, still one of the region's busiest traffic corridors.

"We feel that the tagline 'Classic Convenience' really fits with our customer base," said Doug Kochneff, Wyoming DDA board chairman.

"Wyoming Town Center caters to a diverse representation of residents from the city of Wyoming and greater Grand Rapids that seek out a variety of convenient goods and services to meet their daily needs. Our area really does provide a classic, convenient experience."

One of the tour stops was the site of the former Rogers Department Store, where Israels Designs for Living President and CEO Robert Israels spoke to the group. He is investing $6 million into the building to turn it into a showroom for Klingman Furniture Co., a fine furniture retailer Israels bought in January.

When Rogers closed in 2005, "we lost a big anchor" for retail business in Wyoming, said Kochneff, who owns the Action Tire Center on 28th Street. "We all hoped and prayed we’d find a good use to replace Rogers Department Store, but Israels stepped up to the plate, and I think it will far surpass the impact of Rogers when they were a force in the market."

Kochneff noted that Israels has also proposed constructing senior housing off 28 Street near the new Klingman's showroom. Kochneff said he has heard it would be housing for "middle to high income" retirees.

"That in itself will perk up retail business all up and down" 28th Street, said Kochneff.

Along with Rogers, some smaller businesses on 28th Street have closed their doors in recent years.

"The empty buildings, of course, have been slow to refill. But I think that's true for everywhere in Michigan," said Kochneff.

The good news is that the 2004 opening of the M-6 expressway, the so-called South Beltline south of Wyoming, has not left 28th Street devoid of traffic.

Kochneff said that before M-6 opened, there were traffic counts of 45,000 vehicles a day using 28th Street.

"We still have 45,000 cars a day," said Kochneff — but far fewer semi-trucks. Trucks bound to Holland from Lansing or vice versa now prefer to use M-6.

"It's easier to drive and shop on 28th than it was before, thanks to M-6," said Kochneff.

He said about $30,000 has been earmarked for the current phase of the marketing campaign, not counting the cost of a new Chevrolet Aveo that will be given away in September. Radio spots advise listeners to enter the car drawing at any Wyoming Town Center business.

The campaign will continue with other forms of advertising, including print, billboard and Internet. The campaign, being managed for the Wyoming DDA by DDM Marketing and Communications, has three objectives: create an identity for the area in the mind of the public; increase existing retail business activity on the 28th Street corridor; and attract new investments.

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