BERRYVILLE — Town officials want the world to know that Berryville is a genuine place.
That’s the emphasis of a promotional campaign that will gradually be implemented in the coming months.
Plans are to make the “genuine” theme part of holiday promotions this year. Eventually, it’s to become incorporated into economic development materials, signs and banners displayed around Berryville, town stationery and police, public works and utility department vehicles.
A centerpiece is the green, blue and white “Berryville Genuine” graphic featuring a depiction of mountains and the sky. Below the scene, Berryville is displayed in capital letters, with “Genuine” in cursive underneath. Below two blue lines under the town’s name are “Virginia” and “Est. 1798” in capital letters.
Arnett Muldrow, a consulting firm in Greenville, S.C., developed the campaign. As part of the campaign, the firm developed concepts for signs and promotional materials for local attractions and organizations such as the Clarke County Farmers Market and Berryville Main Street.
It also has concepts for advertisements promoting the town, each with the “Berryville Genuine” graphic. One, for instance, contains a photo of a farmer’s market vendor with his produce and the caption, “Fresh!” Another contains a photo of the siren at the John H. Enders Fire Co. and Rescue Squad with the caption, “We Scream Community!”
So what makes the town genuine, in Arnett Muldrow’s opinion?
“We are Berryville, and we are pure Virginia,” the firm mentions in a guide for promoting the “genuine” branding. “This is embodied in the jaw-dropping natural beauty you find traveling through the rolling hills and pastures that surround us. With vistas of farmland and livestock and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, our landscape provides a tranquil canvas in our colorful community.”
The guide describes Berryville as a “jumping-off point for true adventure” since it has recreational amenities such as Chet Hobert Park, plus it’s near the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah River. It also describes the town as “a place to have a great time” because of cultural attractions such as the Barns of Rose Hill art and performance complex and the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds.
In addition, Berryville has historical buildings, museums telling the stories of current and past residents and numerous enticing locally-owned businesses and restaurants, the guide points out.
“Above all,” it states, “we (residents) are a kind people who greet you with a wave and a smile.”
Arnett Muldrow considers the siren to be the best illustration of Berryville’s sense of community.
“When it goes off, it tells us someone needs help,” the guide reads. “We lift up a prayer and the community goes to aid someone.”
“We pull together here and love who we are,” adds the guide. “We are proud we have preserved the values we have long held dear.”
And, residents would love for visitors to share in the experience and perhaps come join them permanently, the guide mentions.
Some growth inevitably will occur, said Assistant Town Manager of Community Development and Operations Christy Dunkle, noting three new subdivisions in the works.
Berryville Town Council member Kara Rodriguez, who chairs the panel’s Community Development Committee, said the town originally planned to do a marketing study before embarking on a branding campaign. “Then we decided (it would be best) to get this branding and tag lines first,” she said, so officials would know what to market to potential visitors and residents.
Although local officials and residents repeatedly have expressed the desire for Berryville to remain a small town, some future growth inevitably will occur, said Assistant Town Manager of Community Development and Operations Christy Dunkle, noting three new subdivisions in the works.
Both Rodriguez and Dunkle are extremely pleased with the campaign that Arnett Muldrow developed.
Roughly 70 firms responded to a request for proposals. However, most “never had really done (promotions for) small towns before,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t want to be their guinea pig.”
Arnett Muldrow, on the other hand, “just got it,” she said. “It’s like they had been in Berryville for years” and completely understood its uniqueness as a community.
The firm has developed campaigns for 550 localities in 40 states and five countries, its website shows.
Residents, including business owners and high school students, provided input into the campaign, Rodriguez said.
“I haven’t heard a negative comment so far,” she said.
Dunkle said the new promotional campaign gives Berryville “a fresh start.”
Asked why the town needs one, she said, “Everyone does” — especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated people this year.
A $15,000 allocation in the past fiscal year covered costs for having the campaign developed.