(Hartford, CT – September 12, 2013) – The Town of Newtown has selected a team organized by Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) to coordinate an economic recovery consultancy for Sandy Hook Village. CMSC will collaborate with Arnett Muldrow & Associates of Greenville, SC, and with NetMark Associates of Canton, CT to work closely with the Town and the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (S.H.O.P.) to examine the market for Sandy Hook Village for shopping, dining and gathering, to engage more people to come to Sandy Hook, and to craft a marketing and promotion toolkit for the Village to better share its assets with residents, visitors, and investors. The goal is to assist Sandy Hook Village business and property owners with economic recovery, while ensuring a vibrant social center that reflects the true nature of the community.
“The continued growth and investment that is occurring in Sandy Hook Center is a testament to the commitment that residents and businesses have made to this special place in Newtown where residents and visitors can live, work, shop, and become involved in numerous community activities,” said Pat Llodra, Newtown’s First Selectman. “With assistance from the State of Connecticut and contributions from local business owners, property owners and the Newtown Forest Association, we continue to enhance the pedestrian-oriented village center with high quality design components, including our new streetscape. Our next step will address how we brand and market the unique shops and businesses, dining experiences, and beautiful vistas that Sandy Hook Village has to offer,” said Llodra.
Phase one of CMSC’s consultancy will begin in Sandy Hook in mid-September and continue through December 2013. The Town and CMSC are coordinating a schedule that will involve business and property owners, town officials, and the community at-large in branding and community identity focus groups and workshops early in the fall. A detailed market assessment and proactive branding and marketing plan will debut by mid-November. The intent is to position the Village Center for success in the fall and into the fourth quarter retail season while highlighting and enhancing the many positive aspects of Sandy Hook Village.
Phase two of the consultancy, focusing on positioning the merchant and property owner community for long-term success, will commence in January 2-14 with an organizational assessment of S.H.O.P. and visioning workshops. Deliverables will include an operational plan and strengthened governance and partnership strategies, as well as on-the-ground coaching and assistance throughout the spring of 2014.
“CMSC has assembled a team that has knowledge of the needs of Sandy Hook Village while also involving an outside perspective of and experience with working with communities going through the recovery process,” said Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, Associate Director of CMSC, who is the project manager for the consultancy. “We look forward to working hand in hand with the community to develop strategies that enhance economic opportunities while preserving and highlighting the unique nature of the community and the benefits of visiting, doing business in, and living in Sandy Hook.”
“Sandy Hook Center is becoming a premier destination for dining, shopping and enjoying the natural beauty of the Pootatuck River,” said Michael Burton, President of S.H.O.P. “The current streetscape project, funded by the Town, has provided a connection from the business district to existing and planned residential neighborhoods. Two new gathering vistas have also been installed for residents and visitors alike to relax while strolling through our downtown. SHOP is excited to be partnering with the team of consultants that CMSC has assembled to lead us through a marketing and branding campaign. This effort is designed to increase the customer base of the district, thereby increasing and strengthening the vibrancy of Sandy Hook Center,” said Burton.
Funding for the consultancy comes from a State of Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded to the Town of Newtown in January 2013 for purposes of providing Business Assistance to Newtown’s businesses following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.