Downtown workgroups seeks to raise its charm

Lani Lott, right, and Jim McPherson lead one of three Main Street Arizona Town Hall workshops Thursday at Beale Celebrations.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Lani Lott, right, and Jim McPherson lead one of three Main Street Arizona Town Hall workshops Thursday at Beale Celebrations.

KINGMAN – With monthly events and numerous things to do downtown throughout the year, it seems as though downtown should be thriving and bustling. However, something seems to be missing. The Arizona Main Street Town Hall Promotion and Marketing Workgroup is set on figuring out that missing piece.

At the downtown town hall Thursday, Lani Lott of the Arizona Downtown Alliance said the purpose of promotion and marketing was to “raise the charm” of downtown Kingman.

“It’s about how we package and sell downtown,” Lott said. “We have to create a brand.”

The meeting began with the 15 gathered Kingman residents, business owners and city employees listing events that bring people downtown. From Chillin’ on Beale and First Fridays to the Homecoming Parade and Andy Devine Days, ideas kept rolling in. Jim McPherson, volunteer president of Arizona Preservation Foundation, could hardly keep up with all of the events.

Lott asked the workgroup what their target markets would be, and if there was a distinction between visitor and tourist. It was decided that a visitor is someone who is purposefully coming to visit family, businesses, events, etc, whereas a tourist is someone who is merely passing through.

The workgroup decided that highway travelers, residents and employees are also target markets for downtown promotion.

The next question Lott put to the group was, with all the events going on, all of the revitalization happening, why was no one coming downtown?

One attendee, Steve Wagner, cited a nine-year-old survey conducted by the Daily Miner which found 60-80 percent of Miner readers don’t come downtown. Matthew Wanner of the Kingman Downtown Merchant’s Association said it was interesting that there isn’t promotion and marketing to Kingman residents.

“We are missing our base,” he said. “They’re right here.”

Lott said something to think about was marketing downtown Kingman as “your downtown,” and it is the businesses that are the product, ambassadors and extended visitors’ center for the town.

Leah Burkhart, owner of Gracie’s Vintage downtown, was named as leader of the workgroup which will be meeting at 3 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Powerhouse Tourist Information & Visitor Center.

Lott said it was important to promote the existing downtown.

“It tells your history here. It’s an important part of your character,” Lott said.