Promotional activities by the Downtown merchant community need to be intensified with more cooperative advertising and greater coordination. Recommendations to improve promotional activities follow:
Undertake at least one event each month from March through December. Build upon the present events of the Sidewalk Sale, the Hadassah Craft Festival, the Fourth of July Fireworks and the Connecticut River Regatta.
Establish a monthly or bimonthly flyer for distribution to shoppers with a particular emphasis towards Wesleyan and Middletown students and Downtown employees. One side of the sheet might be standardized with a logo, map and directory of Downtown’s stores and services and the other side would carry current news about sales, upcoming events, products, special coupons, new businesses and merchant profiles.
Intensify the effort for cooperative advertising in local newspaper and radio and increase its frequency.
Undertake promotions with special groups in the community (i.e. church groups, civic organizations, service clubs, tenants and nearby apartments, Wesleyan University and Middlesex Community Technical College, and major employers) to offer special incentives as part of the promotions.
Publish a booklet containing advertisements and helpful information for anyone living, working or visiting downtown. The booklet should list categories of businesses and the name, address and phone number of the retailers listed in each division. A section on restaurants should include a price range. A map of Downtown showing parking facilities should also be included.
Since a large percentage of the public changes residence each year and there are over 18,000 dwelling units in town, Downtown should make special efforts to welcome new residents to Middletown. Special welcome mailings, gift packages and invitations to shop downtown can build recognition and the shopper base. For instance, the Westlake Planned Residential Development contains over 3000 dwelling units with rapid turnover and a relatively young population, but it is suspected that few venture to Downtown.