GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Board of Commissioners, Gallia County Community Improvement Corporation and the City of Gallipolis are partnering together in an effort to better market Gallipolis and Gallia County to businesses around the region.
During a regular meeting on Thursday, the county commission approved a three-year contract with Atlas Advertising, LLC, for advertising and consulting services that, according to Gallia County Economic and Community Development Director Melissa Clark, will help market Gallia County to a wider business audience.
Clark reported on Thursday that the contract with Atlas Advertising, a company based in Colorado that has worked with communities and economic development organizations across the country, came as a result of the “Grow Gallia” strategic plan that was unveiled in May of this year.
“One of the big things out of that project was to do a comprehensive marketing plan and strategy for Gallia County,” Clark said.
According to Clark, a total of $195,000 has already been committed to the project with Atlas through the support of several local organizations.
The Gallia County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) has committed a total of $75,000 to the project over a three-year period, while the City of Gallipolis has promised $40,000 over the three-year contract.
The Gallia County Commissioners are committing a total of $30,000 in up-front cash and will also contribute $45,000 through in-kind contributions through Clark’s time on the project.
The Agricultural Center Board will also contribute a total of $30,000 over three years and Bob Evans has committed a total of $15,000 with the potential of additional dollars in the future.
During the discussion, County Commission Vice-president Joe Foster congratulated Clark on her accomplishment with the project and also thanked the Ag Center Board and the CIC for their continued investment in the community through their work with the strategic planning process and contributions to this project.
“I’d like to commend Melissa on putting this project together,” Foster said. “One of the common denominators as we went through the strategic planning process was developing a comprehensive marketing strategy for the county. I think by looking at the people who have stepped up to invest in the project, it’s unprecedented in the fact that you have the city, the CIC, the county and the Ag Center Board. It’s a multi-agency effort and I think that shows the level of support there is for this concept in the county and I want to thank you for your work in putting it together, Melissa.”
According to Clark, the initial phase of the project will consist of a nine month- to one-year “development” period that will begin with representatives of Atlas visiting Gallia County to research and learn about the community and its goals.
Following this, Atlas will begin to develop a “brand” for the county and begin to market the area to business who would be willing to relocate or expand to the area.
“They are going to be looking at doing marketing to businesses, marketing to the region, to the community,” Clark said. “They’ll be doing branding, logos and a completely developed, top-of-the-line economic development website.
“They are also going to put together a marketing strategy or marketing calendar that’s going to be very in-depth. It’s going to be a very comprehensive, additional one-to-two year marketing strategy,” she said.
Atlas has worked with other larger communities and organizations in Ohio, including JobsOhio and the cities of Columbus, Dayton and Cleveland. Due to this, according to Clark, the agreement with Atlas is no small step for a small community such as Gallia County — a step that could only be accomplished with the joint support of many organizations.
“It’s a lot of money to do something like this and we are only able to do it because this community and these organizations,” she said. “They believe in this project and they know, in the end, that it’s going to have a good end result for Gallia County — It’s going to help every body.”
In addition, Clark reported that, while the contract with Atlas will be a way to develop a marketing plan for the community, funding and support for the project will be needed for many years to come if it will have a chance of improving the business environment in the county.
“If there is another group out there that is interested in this project, they can still help us out with that. It’s not just the contract,” Clark stated. “We are going to work with Atlas and they are going to help get our act together and help us market the county, but there is always going to be the need to continue to fund this.”
Clark reported that the project is set to start in January and is something that she hopes will be new and positive for the growth of the county.
“I think Gallia County is a great place to live, a great place for businesses but we need to do a better job of telling our story and letting people know — companies know, site selectors know — that ‘hey, we’re here.’ We can do a better job of that, and to my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been done in Gallia County, so it will be the first time any group has tried something to this scale,” Clark said. “I am excited about it.”
For more information about the community’s agreement with Atlas Advertising or any other economic development project, contact Melissa Clark, Gallia County Economic and Community Development Director at (740) 446-4612, ext. 271 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.