By Andy Schneider
Downtown Partners on Tuesday evening unveiled the new brand for the downtown Burlington businesses.
The new brand is to give downtown Burlington a way to brand itself to those outside the community and to make it a destination for tourists.
The branding was made possible by a $15,000 grant applied for by Downtown Partners to Main Street Iowa. This allowed the group to hire Ben Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow & Associates to create a new brand. After months of work, the new brand was finally unveiled downtown Tuesday night at the Capitol Performing Arts Center.
Amy Moyner, the executive director of Downtown Partners hosted, and opened the event by stating the reason for the branding.
“The vision of downtown Burlington is to be a unique and vital downtown that celebrates the history, encourages entrepreneurial spirit, artistic expression, entertainment activity, hospitality to visitors, and instills a sense of place in our community,” Moyner said.
Sue Ann Wells, the Bean Counter owner, and a Downtown Partners member spoke first at the presentation. Wells stated that as a small business owner, it is hard to be recognized.
“Since the Bean Counter opened and long before, downtown Burlington had been in search of a way to create a brand which would bring us all together,” Wells said.
Wells went on to explain that though she had been in business for a number of years and was present on social media, still getting her business recognized was difficult.
“There are still many people in our local community who have never heard of the Bean (Counter). It is difficult for a single business to be well known in a community, and even more difficult to get your name out there, outside of the community. This is where our downtown brand is going to be a game changer,” Wells said.
Brandon and Kathy Bentz, owners of the Scotten Building on the 700 block of Jefferson Street, were next to speak. The couple moved to West Burlington two years ago and noticed that Burlington was different from the rural communities they had previously lived in.
“The community, people, and the vibe were different from most places we had lived,” Brandon Bentz said.
Bentz plans his new building, “to open in late June, early July a full-service restaurant, brewery, corner market butcher shop, commercial spaces for five new upstart businesses, and some additional loft-style housing.”
Later in the year, they plan to add additional parking, sandlot volleyball, and the potential for an amphitheater for concerts and other outside events.
“We plan on having a large marketing campaign to go along with what we are developing, but we can’t do it alone,” Bentz said.
Bentz talked about the community coming together under the new brand to help bring people into the community, and establish a sense of common purpose and togetherness. Bentz said that the new branding would help with that purpose.
K.C. Fleming, who is a medical staff recruiter for Great River Medical Center, was the next to speak.
He spoke about how other cities such as Chicago and New York had brands that were instantly recognizable. That branding for companies such as Nike or Apple explains what their brand is about, and this new downtown branding would do the same for Burlington.
“What we see tonight is going to help pull everything together, to what downtown Burlington means to us,” Fleming said.
Moyner then revealed the brand to the audience, Burlington Downtown It’s Happening! The logo is a rainbow of colors that spell out the word Burlington with the Downtown placed inside the letter U.
Moyner also stated that there would be a rebranding of the Trick or Treat Downtown, The Witches Walk, and the Sip and Stroll.
The Downtown Partners will also offer classes that teach how to use the new brand in association with your business or products.
People have wanted a united downtown presence for a while, and it appears it’s happening downtown.