A lot is happening in Pawtucket, as a conversation with Thomas A. Mann Jr., executive director of The Pawtucket Foundation, readily reveals. The foundation, a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3), is working on a new marketing plan for the city, including branding to replace the failed “Down-tucket” experiment of a few years ago, while it keeps an eye on the Pawtucket bridge replacement and possible partnerships with Central Falls. Keep an eye on those cranes along the skyline, Mann said, because they are a sign of Pawtucket’s progress.
PBN: Can you tell us about the marketing plan that Johnson & Wales University students prepared for Pawtucket?
MANN: The plan is useful in validating a lot of the work that we are doing and the direction we’re going, but we’re clearly working out a way to market the city to a wide variety of different audiences.
Our main focus is to market the city for living, working and visiting. On the living side, there is a whole spectrum of housing opportunities, from affordable work force housing to high-end condo lofts on the river.
We’re really interested in business development, getting more businesses to move to Pawtucket, in the mills, in the downtown, in the industrial parks … whether you’re looking for a Main Street storefront or an office complex, industrial space or artist space. We have the whole spectrum of that available.
And for visiting, what’s important is that Pawtucket could soon become part of a national park. [Congress is currently considering creation of a national historic park in the Blackstone Valley that would include the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket.] We’re preparing for that now.
PBN: Can you tell us what the Johnson & Wales students did?
MANN: We [at the foundation] came up with a marketing prospectus, an outline of what we wanted to market and ways we would go about doing that. But all the researchers tell us, before you consider a branding strategy, you have to do your research to determine who you are marketing to and really hone it down and refine the process.