Johns: Marketing downtown a job for everyone

Published 11:49 am Friday, February 3, 2017

I worked for East Kentucky Power Cooperative for 30 years, mostly in finance and accounting. Occasionally, I was invited to attend a marketing presentation on-site. The guest speakers would invariably conclude with the same message: “We are all part of marketing.”

I tended to scoff at this comment, mainly because I was never asked to attend a marketing conference at some exotic location.

Now that I am more involved in our community, I have to admit these guest speakers were right. We all are part of marketing, regardless of our official title.

As some of you know, Len Midden and I broadcast George Rogers Clark High School basketball games on radio station 107.7-FM, WKYN. On Jan. 5, our boys’ game at Madison Southern was canceled due to the weather. This gave me the opportunity to attend the Winchester-Clark County Board of Adjustments meeting at City Hall.

Laura Freeman, her husband Bill Kingsbury, and Ben Pasley appeared before the Board to secure a conditional use permit for a distillery to be located at the old Jordan Electric building at the corner of Broadway and Church Alley.

This project — including Wildcat Willy’s Distillery, the Moonshine Trail and a farm store — has the potential to be a real game-changer for downtown by attracting more visitors and more businesses to the district.

The City Commission room at City Hall was standing room only that night. After a brief talk by Freeman, Pasley gave a thorough PowerPoint presentation. Afterward, eight people spoke in favor of the project, sharing their views from vastly different perspectives.

The Board chair then asked how many people in the room were in favor of the project. Most, if not everyone, raised their hands. When he asked if anyone was opposed to it, nobody spoke up. The Board voted 5-0 to approve the project, for which they received a hearty round of applause.

That evening convinced me that when we all work toward the same goal — in this case the revitalization and preservation of downtown Winchester — great things can happen.

Contrast this experience with the opposite situation wherein local citizens bad mouth the downtown area — this can and has deterred potential businesses from locating here.

Yes, when it comes to marketing downtown Winchester, we are all in this together. And when we do work together, the possibilities are limitless.

Graham Johns is president of the board of Main Street Winchester.