POTTSTOWN >> Community members and business people took to the streets of Pottstown Thursday — proud to say, “I pick Pottstown.”

They gathered on the four corners of High and Hanover streets, joining together to launch a new economic development campaign sponsored by Pottstown Area Industrial Development (PAID) Inc.

“The purpose of today’s event was to create excitement out there about Pottstown,” said Peggy Lee-Clark, executive director of PAID Inc. “There’s a lot of quiet conversation going on, about why people pick Pottstown, but today we wanted to bring it out in the open.”

The outcome of Thursday’s event will be a two- to three-minute promotional video produced by Virtual Farm Creative of Phoenixville. The video is just one piece of a bigger campaign designed to attract businesses to Pottstown.

“The core audience (for the video) is the people that are not here,” Lee-Clark added. “The video will go to other areas of the state and other areas of Montgomery County to get them to understand the momentum that we have been gaining,”

Participants in Thursday’s video shoot were given T-shirts with the slogan “I Pick Pottstown! Pioneers of the Good Life.” Chalkboards were placed on each corner, so participants could write why they choose Pottstown. Some of the things written down included history, diversity, great schools, downtown architecture, the carousel, Connections on High, Steel River Playhouse, the YMCA and the people of Pottstown.

At 11:30 a.m., everyone who had gathered on the sidewalks met in the middle of the intersection, and a drone was sent up while video rolled on the action taking place below. The group said its line, “I Pick Pottstown,” and waved.

“In addition to the drone shot there are a lot of other compelling components — interviews with business owners and community leaders, professional voice-over of a script that tells the story of a borough ready for rebirth,” said Todd Palmer, creative director for Virtual Farm Creative.

The campaign grew out of informal monthly networking meetings of a group of about 30 business leaders and stakeholders — a grass-roots effort according to both Palmer and Lee-Clark.

The campaign is being funded completely separate from PAID Inc.’s operating budget, according to Lee-Clark.

“PAID is leading the collaborative economic development effort with contributions from the private sector,” she said.

As part of the broader campaign, a new website has been designed — www.Ipickpottstown.com. It will serve as a companion to the Paid Inc. website - www.paidinc.org .

“The PAID website is really about technical information — square footage, vacancies and what’s for sale. The two sites will support one another,” Lee-Clark said. “The ‘I Pick Pottstown’ website is what I call the ‘feel good site.’”

She added the “I Pick Pottstown” website will include a revamped “Momentum” — the e-zine that had been issued quarterly by PAID Inc. The new “Momentum” will include human interest stories and stories about people making a difference that have already picked Pottstown.

“There will also be video component, so it will be much more interactive and much more up to the minute,” Lee-Clark said

Palmer said the video will be released at ipickpottstown.com and will be shared by all of the businesses and community leaders involved.

“We want to position Pottstown positively with the knowledge that there are businesses looking to relocate and start-ups looking for a home ... Pottstown offers a lot of opportunity and benefits,” he said. “The effort of this campaign is to showcase them to a wider audience.”

Palmer added he expects the video to be released within the next week, the social media campaign will ramp up in the next few weeks, and advertising will begin to roll out around Thanksgiving.

The paid Facebook advertising campaign will feature the video testimonials and will target business owners looking to relocate to a “classic town on the upswing,” he said.

“Our goal is to have people talking about Pottstown as we slide into the holiday season and to plan more exciting promotions like partnerships and events in the spring,” he said. “Pottstown has its own film festival, professional bike race, a world-class brewery with stellar events, above average educational opportunities… all of these things and more contribute to the borough being a really compelling choice for businesses.”

For more information about the new initiative visit www.Ipickpottstown.com. For more information about PAID Inc. visit www.paidinc.org.

For more information about Virtual Farm Creative visit www.virtualfarm.com.

Email business story ideas to business writer drovins@21st-centurymedia.com

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