Improvements in Marketing Can Lead to Economic Stimulation in Lyndonville

beat12LYNDON-Since the birth of the Downtown Lyndonville Revitalization Task Force in 2017, the goals for the group have changed due to the fact that they are small in numbers and are without much financial reinforcement.

According to chairperson of the task force, Kim Crady-Smith, their original goal was to find ways to have businesses come to the downtown area, and help them succeed.

The seemingly effective plan was to convince retail building owners to allow new businesses to pay lower rent for a trial period to help kick start their business. Some building owners agreed but there was one exception; there were no new businesses to fill the vacant spaces. It was then that Crady-Smith and the task force would change gears.

“It was decided that we would focus more on art, and making the downtown look beautiful and that in the hopes that if we make the downtown look more beautiful, we'll encourage businesses to want to come here,” Crady-Smith said.

With this new approach came the conceptualization of a mural to be displayed in downtown Lyndonville. The finished product came to light in the spring of 2018, and was made by The Anthill Collective, a Burlington based organization that focuses on building community through public art. The task force is planning to celebrate the mural this coming June, as well as to search out public opinion in regards to making another one. The mural, along with community based art shows and art walks, are all organized by Crady-Smith and the task force.

 “It’s to inspire people to stop and look around, to get out of their cars and be like ‘oh what’s this cute little stop over here’,” Crady-Smith recalls, “Because if people are in town, businesses will want to come.”

 Although artistic progression is being made to beautify the downtown area, according to Crady-Smith there is still a need for one more area of artistic help.

 “If students were helping us with marketing and stuff like that, it would highlight both the downtown and the students,” Crady-Smith explained.

 The combination of art and proper marketing techniques could be the economic breakthrough Lyndonville needs to sustain a plethora of prosperous businesses.

Northern Vermont University-Lyndon’s graphic design program works to teach students about the ever changing world of visual marketing, both in print and online. Unlike most students in the program, Jet Magri, a junior at NVU-Lyndon, has been doing real world marketing for as long as he has been a college student. About to enter his third year as an assistant to the marketing head at Mathews Brothers, a window manufacturing corporation based in Maine, Magri stresses the importance of visual marketing for retail shops both in house and online.

“It’s the first step of, kind of making a town more beautiful is when you see the individual shops really putting forth an effort of making quality signs, quality visuals on the outside, remodeling stores, and hopping on some of the newer design trends that are gonna bring younger people in.” Magri proclaimed.

 The possibility of working with the Downtown Lyndonville Revitalization Task Force and local businesses alike, sparked excitement in his eyes.

 “There’s a lot of talent I see at the school,” Magri Says, “There’s definitely a possibility of creating a more art driven environment because I think Lyndonville has a lot of people that are interested in the arts so there’s no reason that it should be confined to the school.”

 The concern with a lack of marketing and online presence from local businesses in the downtown area was also addressed by another small group in Lyndonville. The Economic Development Committee received a grant from the USDA which included an allocation of roughly $2,500 to each business in the designated downtown area. This portion of the grant was to allow the businesses to build websites and to do social media marketing.

 “We wanted to give them a chance to reach out, outside of their retail shop for potential business,” says Evan Carlson, Chairperson to the Economic Development Committee, “It’s pretty difficult to, in this day in age to expect people to just stop and be patrons of your business, being able to be visible online is a really key and important piece for basically the success of any business today.”