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Home News-Telegram News Expert asks for input in creating city’s identity

Expert asks for input in creating city’s identity

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What is going to make downtown Sulphur Springs really thrive? That is the question that will be asked during a three-month process to create an identity, a brand, which will set this community apart from everyone else.

   Roger Brooks, the go-to guy when it comes to managing downtowns and branding communities, challenged those attending a breakfast meeting Tuesday to come up with ideas that will put this community on the map.

    “Branding is what sets Sulphur Springs apart from the other 1,161 communities in Texas, what sets you apart,” Brooks said. “What you have to answer is, ‘What do you have in Sulphur Springs that I can't get closer to home if I live in Longview or if I live in the Dallas area?’ Branding is setting yourself apart from everyone else and making you a destination of choice for business, for investment, a place to live, a place to visit.”
    Brooks has been hired by the city of Sulphur Springs to help make the revitalized downtown area a destination, not only for local residents but for visitors as well.
    The task will involve a 13-step process that will take about three months to create a unique identity for Sulphur Springs.
    “What we are going to do is ask the people of Sulphur Springs to weigh in, even people outside Sulphur Springs, to weigh in,” Brooks said. “What do you want to be known for when you grow up besides dairy, besides rail, besides those things you used to have, you know, because the world has changed.”
    Input is invited through an online survey, bit.ly/ss-branding, that asks several questions about individual concepts, thoughts and feelings about Sulphur Springs.
    “Once we take all those ideas from the public, we are going to run them through a feasibility test to figure out which one of these will really differentiate Sulphur Springs, put it on the map and make it the destination of choice,” he said.
    Brooks first visited Sulphur Springs about six months ago as the city began looking into developing a brand for the city.
    Before a presentation at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center in March, Brooks toured downtown and found that much of what he was going to recommend had already been done.
    Over the past six months, Brooks said a lot has been accomplished though the question remains — what is wanted in downtown businesses.
    “Are you going to be a dining destination? Is culinary going to be a future? Do you want it to be antiques like Jefferson? Do you want it to be entertainment, nightlife? I know that's starting to happen in Sulphur Springs,” Brooks said. “We have to figure out what it is. I believe that downtowns are a great way to start your brand and make it the nucleus and let it spread from there.”
    Sulphur Springs, Brooks said, has accomplished a lot.
    “Even downtown, simply as a focus, it's beautiful. All the infrastructure is in place. I mean, it's one of the most outstanding downtowns, not only in Texas, but in the United States,” he said. “But now, what are the businesses we need in the buildings? What is going to make downtown really thrive? That is the focus, that is the brand.”




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