CEDC un­veils the new Caro­line brand­ing

Times-Record - - News - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

DEN­TON — The Caro­line Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion un­veiled the new brand­ing it and the Of­fice of Tourism will use to at­tract busi­ness, tal­ent and vis­i­tors to Caro­line County, at its an­nual meet­ing Wed­nes­day, Oct. 19, at the 4-H park out­side Den­ton.

CEDC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor An­gela Vis­in­tainer said the logo, which fea­tures the tagline “You be­long here,” is the re­sult of a months-long process, led by Chop­tank Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, that in­volved feed­back from nearly 400 peo­ple, gath­ered in fo­cus groups, in­ter­views and an on­line sur­vey.

“It’s a re­ally sim­ple state­ment, but I think it re­ally says a lot,” Vis­in­tainer said. “We heard (in the feed­back) Caro­line County feels like home.”

Vis­in­tainer said ev­ery­one in the room that day might have a good sense of what makes Caro­line unique, but the mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als used by the CEDC and tourism of­fice were not do­ing a good job of get­ting that idea out into the world.

“This brand­ing strat­egy makes a prom­ise of what it would be like to come here as a vis­i­tor, to live here or as a busi­ness,” Vis­in­tainer said. “It cap­tures our warm, wel­com­ing na­ture.”

The logo, de­vel­oped by Christina Lip­pin­cott De­signs, in­cludes an icon of arches in blue, green and yel­low to rep­re­sent the county’s land­scape, with the tagline in a bright green script that Vis­in­tainer said feels friendly and wel­com­ing.

De­vel­op­ing a new brand was a big com­po­nent of the five-year plan un­veiled two years ago by the CEDC, Vis­in­tainer said.

While the CEDC and tourism of­fice will be­gin rolling out new ma­te­ri­als with the new brand soon, Vis­in­tainer said they will also de­velop guide­lines so other county de­part­ments, agen­cies, towns and non­prof­its can use it as well.

“We hope to see it more widely adopted,” she said.

Fol­low­ing the brand un­veil­ing, Vis­in­tainer gave a brief up­date on the progress of the rest of the CEDC’s five-year plan.

She said the first el­i­gi­ble ex­pan­sion projects within Federalsburg’s En­ter­prise Zone, es­tab­lished in July 2016 to give tax breaks to new and ex­pand­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses, are set to hap­pen in the cur­rent fis­cal year, at M&M Re­frig­er­a­tion, Tren­ton Pipe Nip­ple Co. and Crys­tal Steel, which just bought the for­mer ES Steel build­ing in the Frank Adams In­dus­trial Park.

Chop­tank Trans­port, Dart Con­tainer and Shore­line Vinyl are also ex­pand­ing and adding jobs, Vis­in­tainer said.

The Market Street Public House in Den­ton is ex­pand­ing into an ad­ja­cent build­ing, which will al­low space for mu­sic per­for­mances, more restau­rant seat­ing and a rental ban­quet hall space.

Mill Stream Farm, most well-known for its pump­kin rolls and other baked goods, out­grew the com­mu­nity kitchen space in the Ch­e­sa­peake Culi­nary Cen­ter and is build­ing its own com­mer­cial kitchen, Vis­in­tainer said, an ex­am­ple of ex­actly what the com­mu­nity kitchen is meant to do to in­cu­bate small busi­nesses.

Turn­bridge Point Bed & Break­fast was voted “Best Brunch on the Eastern Shore” by What’s Up Magazine, Vis­in­tainer said, and is de­vel­op­ing prod­uct pack­ag­ing and la­bel­ing to start ship­ping prod­ucts.

In the area of work­force de­vel­op­ment, Vis­in­tainer said, more than 15 man­u­fac­tur­ers from five Mid-Shore coun­ties sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of a new Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­duc­tion cur­ricu­lum to be of­fered at the Caro­line Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, and a sim­i­lar pro­gram for cus­tomer ser­vice and sales is in the works.

The Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion also hired a full-time busi­ness li­ai­son, to work di­rectly with re­gional busi­nesses to make sure their hir­ing needs are be­ing met by Caro­line County grad­u­ates, she said.

Rachel Barry, now the CEDC’s full time small busi­ness man­ager, is pro­vid­ing more mean­ing­ful and stronger help to po­ten­tial and ex­ist­ing en­trepreneurs, Vis­in­tainer said, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing tem­plates for a busi­ness plan and cash flow pro­jec­tions, of­fer­ing low-cost or free train­ing workshops for small busi­ness own­ers and re­vamp­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion process for a loan from the county’s small busi­ness loan re­volv­ing fund.

In the com­ing year, Vis­in­tainer said, the CEDC is con­cen­trat­ing on mar­ket­ing the Ridgely Tech Park and the plant that will be va­cated by Kraft Foods by the end of the year, re­struc­tur­ing state and lo­cal tax in­cen­tives and de­vel­op­ing a new web­site.

Kathy Mackel, di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Tourism, which is un­der the um­brella of the CEDC, gave a re­port on her of­fice’s year.

She said the of­fice con­tin­ues to par­tic­i­pate in ad­ver­tis­ing co-ops through the Mary­land Of­fice of Tourism, to get the most mar­ket­ing bang for its buck.

It also re­cruited and hosted travel writ­ers to tour the county and dis­cover sto­ries to fea­ture in mag­a­zines, Mackel said.

With the Har­riet Tub­man Un­der­ground Rail­road State Park open­ing to vis­i­tors next March, Mackel said, those writ­ers had a lot of in­ter­est in Tub­man sto­ries.

The of­fice is pre­par­ing to break ground at the 4-H park on an in­ter­pre­tive site for the Wil­liam Still Fam­ily, to be a stop along the Har­riet Tub­man Un­der­ground Rail­road By­way. Also on the by­way in Caro­line County are the James H. Webb cabin out­side Pre­ston, and two Net­work to Free­dom sites in down­town Den­ton.

The of­fice pro­duces and dis­trib­utes cy­cling and vis­i­tor guides and a bi-an­nual cal­en­dar of events, Mackel said, and uses Face­book, Pin­ter­est and Twit­ter to reach a large au­di­ence.

It also mar­kets group bus tours, which have proven lu­cra­tive, Mackel said.

“The county’s re­turn on in­vest­ment in tourism con­tin­ues to grow every year,” Mackel said, cit­ing sta­tis­tics from the state comptroller’s of­fice show­ing Caro­line’s tax in­come in eight sales tax cat­e­gories in­creases every year.

Mackel closed her re­port by an­nounc­ing she will be re­tir­ing as di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Tourism in De­cem­ber.

“It has been an honor and a priv­i­lege to rep­re­sent Caro­line County for the last eight years,” Mackel said.

PHOTO BY ABBY AN­DREWS

Caro­line Of­fice of Tourism Di­rec­tor Kathy Mackel, left, and Caro­line Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Di­rec­tor An­gela Vis­in­tainer, show off the new brand logo for Caro­line County, Wed­nes­day, Oct. 19.

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