EDITORIAL: New marketing

By NEMS Daily Journal

Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association executive Debbie Brangenberg said Wednesday that implementation of consultants’ recommendations about strengthening Tupelo’s marketing messages aimed at retail shoppers will begin soon – mostly using a plan already developed by DTMSA’s board of directors and staff.
Timely implementation of course will help energize the spring-summer-fall season of events and festivals centered in the downtown district.
The proposal for wayfinding signs is a practical and helpful promotional idea for downtown and all the other areas of the city. Many people believe the city has too many signs generally but without the necessary information to connect Point A to Point B to Point C, and so on.
Signs in the Barnes Crossing commercial/retail district should point the way to downtown and other notable sites like the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. The same kind of signs in downtown should point people to the city’s other shopping districts, and the concentration of hotels on Gloster Street, for example.
Opportunities to promote the whole city are almost endless and could be an economic stimulus at relatively low cost.
“North Mississippi’s Shopping Center” is the slogan suggested by DTMSA consultants Tripp Muldrow and Tee Coker of the South Carolina firm Arnett Muldrow.
Staff writer Carlie Kollath reported that Muldrow presented several pointed suggestions and facts to the DTMSA meeting Tuesday afternoon, and all present strong opportunity for development:
• Tupelo is the exception because the Mississippi towns the firm deals with are losing population. Tupelo is the exception but is in a fragile state.
• Tupelo needs to grow its population faster than what is forecast for 2010 to 2015 (1.64 percent).
• Tupelo is competing with rival cities many times bigger.
• Tupelo’s overall demographics look good.
• Downtown is not the regional draw that Barnes Crossing is, but some will shop downtown if they know about it.
• Sparse browsing can be remedied using the downtown’s large employment base, if stores are open later. Muldrow said 1,300 people live within three minutes of Barnes Crossing, but 14,000 are employed within three minutes of downtown.
Tupelo inarguably remains the retail, commercial and service center of the region, but the city’s retail, professional and political leadership can’t take anything for granted.
Opportunities are available citywide, and their development depends on changes and adaptations in marketing Tupelo’s distinct districts as an attractive whole.