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Effective marketing renders the sandwich board extinct

10/04/2007

By Leanne Taddonio

Operating a business on Bridge Street has been an eye-opening experience. I learn so much simply from listening to the tourists that visit. Last week, a gentleman and his wife were resting on the steps in front of Artisans' Gallery and the man exclaimed, "Darling the map says there's a historic covered bridge on this street!" He was wondering where this fabulous landmark might be, though it was only yards away. Naturally, I assisted them and directed them to the bridge.

One could easily pass Bridge Street never realizing that there was a natural landmark or businesses that grace the road. What renders reason to stop? Approaching Bridge Street is really rather unimpressive. Does the signage on Route 100 lure its visitors? Is there a convenient invitation to park at a well-planned village green?

No, there's just an empty parking lot that lacks any visuals next to what feels like an abandoned building, lifeless and in desperate need of fresh paint.
 
Rather than determining how local businesses can use the prohibited sandwich board to effectively lure tourists, I think we seriously need to consider how we can enhance our village in a creative and attractive way that promotes business. Why not utilize the parking lot at the end of Bridge Street and add to it in such a way that it says, "Welcome, do visit."  

Why not add a small median in the center, perhaps with a lamp post and a focal tree with a sign that reads, "Historic Waitsfield Parking" or "Historic Bridge Street Shopping." Would business owners like me and others on Bridge Street still need the aid of prohibited sandwich boards while hoards of happy tourists ate and shopped in glee?
 
Waitsfield Village needs an effective usage of visual marketing. Why not utilize our pristine countryside as a natural marketing tool that tastefully entices tourists in a user-friendly way that promotes stable business for local retailers? Perhaps the time has come to permanently prohibit the usage of the controversial sandwich board and bid it farewell.
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