Civic leaders and business owners in Woodland Park have had the same goal for decades: Entice flatlanders who live "down the hill" to come up Ute Pass and spend their money on recreation, shopping, eating and imbibing.
Some think they've found the answer in a community-wide branding effort with a new logo and slogan: "Elevate Your Attitude."
"It's a very positive move and a good representation of Woodland Park," says Jennette Brown, co-owner of Flutterbys & Party Bugs, a gift, party and craft supply shop. "A unified brand says we're a solid community and will help us grab some of those visitors down in the Springs and elsewhere."
You might say others disagree.
"It's pointless," laments Chris Konczak, owner of Digital Doctor, a computer repair company. "Businesses up here are hurting, and I absolutely feel their pain and want nothing but success. But we don't have the foot traffic we need, and that's not going to happen with a new logo. It won't happen until we do a central business district bypass, like Lyons or Idaho Springs."
The branding project, funded by a $20,000 grant from the Cripple Creek/Victor Gold Mining Co., began in January when a 25-member task force hired a Denver-based consultant to define the primary target audience. Nearly 100 locals were polled, plus Colorado Springs residents.
"Some of our suspicions were validated," says Beth Kosley, the city's economic development director. "People think Woodland Park is a lot farther away than it actually is — only about 15 miles from Manitou Springs."
For decades, the mountain town of 7,300 residents had a catchphrase: "The City Above the Clouds." That one, however, fails to issue a call to action — a marketing must, Kosley says. Locals understand the 8,400-foot elevation affects weather, but visitors don't necessarily get it, she says.
Now, it seems some locals don't "get" the new one.
"It's like, 'You people have a bad attitude, so get up here.' 'Elevate Your Spirit' would have been better," says one business owner, requesting anonymity for fear of repercussions. (Yes, really.) "I feel like what we ended up with is a logo for a beach town. The colors don't scream Colorado."
Kosley, who previously headed Colorado Springs' Downtown Partnership, expected dissenters, saying, "There are almost always critics to a new logo and graphic because it's art, and art is personal." As for the words, Kosley says businesses can use "Elevate Your ..." and add whatever fits their needs, even "Elevate Your Attitude in The City Above the Clouds."
Ralph Holloway, owner of Seven Arrows Gallery and chairman of the Woodland Park Arts Alliance, liked the old slogan but immediately adopted the new one and uses it on his gallery's Facebook page.
"Woodland Park needs to encourage a better business base and draw more people. A collective voice is the right step," he says. "People who say, 'I don't need my attitude elevated' are being negative."
But Konczak, part of the town's business community for about 30 years, remains skeptical.
"People are putting their hopes into something that's not going to deliver what they want: sustainable business," he says.
"Think how that $20,000 could have been spent on direct marketing instead of something frivolous. The problem is, Woodland Park is what it is — a bedroom community. Why are we trying to make it something it's not?"