Saturday, January 30, 2010

Steering Committee

Creating Chelsea as a Destination will take another huge step forward next week . The formation of a well rounded Steering committee representing all Chelsea businesses and business interests. Think Chelsea First is the initial theme.
We as business people must put Chelsea First, our businesses or special interest second. Each committee member must put Chelsea first. Every effort will be made to encourage inclusion, transparancy and to identify and create measureable marketing programs for CHELSEA.

We will attempt to capture all the great marketing ideas that a creatively flowing from so many people and organize them for consideration.
The initial steering committee will finish creating the structure of our Think Chelsea First program. Create a job description for a marketing director to be hired. Create a list of Chelsea's strengths and unique areas for an advertising agency to develop into a marketing plan. Eventually a Marketing Board will be created with defined, measurable goals.

Continue sending your ideas to this blog and they will be forwarded to the Steering Committee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chelsea Cash Program

One idea that we need to explore is creating a new Chelsea Cash program.
Please submit ideas to this blog and we will accumulate them and work on creating a GREAT CHELSEA program. Hand written Gift Certificates are an option but not an optimal option. Gift Cards may be an option , if the system can be worked out with a bank. A passport system has been discussed. A cash program creating physical "Chelsea " Dollar bills could also be an option.

Submit your ideas as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Next Step in the Chelsea Plan

The creating Chelsea as a Destination plan is still accumulating information but appears to be ready for the next step.
A structure will be crafted that incorporates all areas needed as defined by the focus group participants (and other input gathered by other means). The structure will incorporate what is best for Chelsea first with individual businesses and groups needs coming second.. New ideas will always be accepted and are an expected part of the process.
Results of the focus group will be made accessible to interested parties very soon. We have a very good opportunity to unite as a community and make something great happen.

A Marketing Board (that covers Chelsea geographically and other important segments) will be created to manage the defined areas of marketing.
It is hoped that the Marketing board will hire a Marketing director after creating a job description. Other communities have similar positions that we can use as a guide . The city of Zeeland was recently mentioned as a city that has gone through a similar process. Zeeland created a slogan " Feel the Zeel", a new webpage and several social networking sites with facebook ,twitter blogs and more.

Funding is a huge issue. All funding ideas are currently on the table. The city and DDA have a committed $50,00 to the effort. Once a strategic plan is written more funding options will be explored. A long term sustainable funding plan is the goal.

Applying for grants is one option currently being examined.
Bill Harmen , director of the Chelsea Library and city manager John Hanifan are meeting to discuss using theircollective resources in assisting the marketing and funding efforts. Their collaboration will include but not be limited to grant writing for strategic planning efforts for Chelsea. Grant applications will be submitted to the Chelsea and Ann Arbor Foundations. Other foundations, including the new Wellness Foundation will be examined .

There is an obvious need to create a"parking lot" for the plethora of marketing ideas that are being suggested. For the time being this blog represents an opportunity for all ideas to be expressed. They will be forwarded to the Marketing board for further discussion.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Focus Groups at the Chelsea Library

Thank You to everyone who participated in the focus groups at the Library this past week!

The Library provided a great setting in the McKune room. (Special thanks to Bill Harmer and the library staff for excellent service.) Thank you Pat Cleary for investing huge amounts of personal time to make this happen. Take a day off... you deserve the rest.

An excellent mix of people participated. A wide variety of topics were discussed. Participants from downtown, South town, the senior comunities, real estate,non profits,the new kitchen group, the Arts,many historical people, banks and more.
Hank Weber conducted the focus groups and will be reporting his results next week and we will start our next phase .
It was fantastic to see so MANY people who have a great passion for Chelsea and the wonderful community that we already enjoy. Participants freely discussed a variety of open ended questions and had the opportunity to provide input and ideas. The focus groups were intended to have discussion but not to come to any conclusions. Mr. Weber specifically asked that no one champion any one cause during the focus groups.

Participants spoke freely and Mr. Weber made sure that everyone got a chance to talk. This provided a lively discussion at the focus groups. There was some discussion of repeating the same process but focus on the residential community. It was also suggested that we repeat the process at least yearly. Every effort was made to include segments of every obvious group but there was not enough time (or a good enough list) to include everyone.

Participants identified Chelsea's strengths and discussed why we should spend money marketing Chelsea. Creating a way to measure the success of the marketing program that is put together was one key discussion. Close Proximity to a Ann Arbor, Jackson, Detroit-even Chicago and further was discussed. Our two recreation areas-Waterloo and Pinckney are a HUGE reason for people to come to our community.
Participants were asked to discuss the biggest challenge their business faces this year. 99% of participants had spent at least $100 shopping in Chelsea this holiday season. Shopping locally is a huge element of any marketing plan that will be developed. One general theme was Customer Service and its importance in all Chelsea businesses. It was suggested that many local people are unaware of the variety of products and services available in Chelsea.
Drawing in out of town shoppers for day and overnight visits was discussed. Tracking visitors by zip code or some other method was discussed. Cooperation among different business groups to combine a large number of marketing efforts into a cohesive package was an exciting discussion. Making sure that customers received the high level of friendly service that is expected in Chelsea was a hot topic as well.

Now . How do we keep the momentum going? Involvement.

We have commitment from the City, the DDA, the Chamber, the business community and key residents. We all need to put aside our personal and business needs and focus on creating a great marketing plan for ALL of Chelsea.
The next steps will be decided after hashing out Hank Weber's focus group information.
A long term and sustainable effort will be generated that will have great opportunities for community members and businesses.
We have a GREAT community. We have many qualities as a community that are unique to Chelsea . This offers a rich pool of resources that will require a great deal creativity to effectively tap.

The best is yet to come.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

River Gallery Kickoff

The Kickoff at the River Gallery. Thank You Patti and Deb for hosting and providing wine!

River Gallery Kickoff 1

The River Gallery kickoff meeting brought together many business people to discuss the idea of creating Chelsea as a destination. An energetic, informative and fun kickoff event.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Focus Groups Location

The Focus groups will be located at the Chelsea District Library on January 12 and January 13. We are looking for lots of input for creating Chelsea as a Destination and drawing customers into our stores.