How a new marketing campaign is making business a community endeavor
Westfield has built its foundation on small businesses and a strong community since the 1800s. The city has built itself into a nationally-ranked school district and the home to major companies such as IMMI and Frontier. Downtown Westfield has opened its doors for decades.
Westfield and the local businesses that have kept the Union Street and Ind. 32 intersection alive is introducing a new generation of business owners a generation of history long passed.
More than 20 downtown Westfield properties, each with their own history, will eventually bring their characteristic pasts to the present as building locations to bring in new residents, revenues and connectivity to the city’s downtown streets.
Anne Poynter, Downtown Westfield Neighborhood Association director, said Grand Junction Properties is a marketing campaign that will breathe eccentric life into a simple downtown atmosphere.
“I’ve been very determined to get downtown on its feet. I started inventorying properties last year and I was surprised there were more than 20 properties in the downtown area available for lease,” Poynter said. “It’s an eccentric downtown with properties varying from little studio places to actual buildings.”
Poynter said the next step was finding a way to open the eyes of entrepreneurs.
“I worked with the Chamber of Commerce to find how we could proceed and we thought about Curt (Whitesell), a longtime Westfield resident and active member in the community,” Poynter said. “Curt, owner of Westfield Business Development, ended up being the right fit. He has the social media skills to network and the experience to help make this happen.”
As the technological and business-minded vehicle fueling a downtown-wide marketing campaign, Whitesell networks with businesses and property owners to facilitate a business-type matchmaking program designed to match business owners with unique locations, and businesses that enrich residents’ daily lives.
“We are looking for something great for downtown,” said Whitesell.“I walk through downtown to get a feel of the available properties, then network and ask around, ‘Do you know this type of person who’s interested in starting this type of business?’ My job is to make the connections and Anne’s job is to promote the city. Together, we’re creating a downtown catered to our community’s wants.”
Grand Junction Properties is a free marketing tool that provides a database of available properties for any inquiries and a whole new brand for downtown Westfield.
Poynter said the opportunity is exponentially beneficial for all involved.
“Curt is trying to highlight what’s available as a one-stop shop, so inquiries can see what’s available to them,” Poynter said. “We had people stop in and say,‘What do you guys have? I really like this downtown.’ Now, we can provide an abundance of information to match people with what they are looking for.”
Poynter said it’s not just about buying property or selling to consumers in Westfield; downtown Westfield values business differently.
“We want business owners to buy into the community. We want them to not just turn on the open sign at 9 a.m. and lock the doors at 3:45 p.m.,” Poynter said. “We want a support team, merchants who are exchanging ideas, talking about their community. Once the businesses connect, that connectivity will add vibrancy downtown.”