Welcome to Waterbury: A Showcase of Downtown Opportunity – Downtown Marketing Program
Opportunities & Challenges
While Main Street Waterbury maintains a database of downtown properties that is readily available, an in-depth, space-by-space advertisement of available spaces did not exist. Out of the dozens of available spaces in downtown, there was a noticeable lack of these opportunities in the realm of social media. Additionally, businesses already thriving in the downtown also suffered from a lack of digital marketing. While city residents are aware of many downtown hidden treasures, few outside the area know of the wide array of entertainment, services and amenities already nestled into the city center. This became even more of a priority with the opening of Post University Downtown, Community Mental Health Affiliates, and the Office of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, resulting in 465 new employees being welcomed to downtown in December 2018.
The Showcase of Downtown Opportunity was launched in early 2018. Each week, one property listed on Main Street Waterbury’s Available Properties Database, as well as one Downtown Business are selected and widely promoted on Main Street Waterbury’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Posts include photos, square footage and contact information, and alternate between Available Properties and Businesses of the Week. For example, one week a restaurant that has been in downtown for a half a century was featured, followed by an available restaurant space that was turnkey ready for the next opportunity.
The downtown marketing program also served as an excellent lead- up to the Waterbury Preservation & Development Conference held in May 2018, which featured a panel discussion on opportunities to transform the built environment of the downtown. In anticipation of the event, Main Street Waterbury promoted its Available Properties Database as a weekly reminder of the investment possibilities that exist in the city’s center.
While listings on brokerage websites could cost hundreds of dollars, marketing available spaces on social media outlets cost Main Street Waterbury nothing and expanded their reach beyond what was expected.
Outcome & Impact
The response to the program was enthusiastic. The goal of the project, to get investors interested in available spaces and downtown businesses, was met almost immediately. As the likes and shares stacked up, brokers and businesses began to call the Main Street office to find out how to participate in the marketing program, and the public was talking about long-vacant spaces once again. Several downtown spaces, showcased in 2018, have recently been leased: 25 Leavenworth Street has reopened as Drescher’s Restaurant; 102 Grand Street came online as a wine & spirit shop called the ‘Mix Master’; and a third restaurant space at 92 Bank Street have all opened and are contributing to the vibrancy of Downtown Waterbury.
Recognizing the effectiveness of advertising space in a consistent manner, Main Street Waterbury is spearheading a program to uniformly dress vacant windows with clean, inviting graphics. This effort, which stemmed from the Available Property of the Week, will provide empty storefronts with a decorative tree decal along with subtle contact information emblazoned with the words “Live. Work. Play”. The seed that was planted with the social media effort made by Main Street Waterbury is beginning to sprout with the “Blooming Downtown Waterbury Window Program”. Newly designed downtown banners are consistent with the “Live. Work. Play.” design used in the window displays. This new approach to marketing Waterbury’s city center will continue to make downtown Waterbury a destination for years to come.