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Castaic opts out of marketing plan

Town council members support promoting business in Castaic area first

Posted: April 16, 2009 9:11 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Castaic Area Town Council voted Wednesday to opt out of an upcoming valleywide marketing campaign. The chamber will operate its own marketing program rather than participating in the upcoming "Think Santa Clarita" campaign, a marketing maneuver aimed at promoting business in the Santa Clarita Valley.  

The Castaic Town Council, an advisory body to Supervisor Mike Antonovich, voted 6-2 to support the Castaic Chamber of Commerce’s decision to remove Castaic from the campaign’s list of participants.

Castaic Chamber President Latisha Smith expressed concerns that Castaic is often an afterthought, compared to the city.

Smith said she knew nothing about the valley-wide Think Santa Clarita campaign until she received a call recently from Rosalind Wayman, a county representative.

Wayman said a mockup of some campaign literature was revealed at the last Think Santa Clarita meeting. On it, Agua Dulce and the West side communities were listed. “When I saw that, I said, wait, have you spoken to these communities? Are they part of the process, do they know what’s going on?” said Wayman, senior deputy for Santa Clarita for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.  

Wayman said she urged Think Santa Clarita Chairmen Jason Crawford and Paul De La Cerda to send those communities a letter asking for participation in the campaign committee.

After hearing word of the campaign, Smith said she and the chamber felt it was too late for the campaign to try to enlist them because planning for the program was already under way.

Crawford, the city’s economic development and marketing manager, said the Think Santa Clarita campaign is intended to promote shopping in the Santa Clarita Valley, the hiring of local employees and “just thinking about Santa Clarita Valley first.”

Crawford said Thursday the campaign’s partners — which include The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, The Signal, KHTS and more — are still figuring out what exactly the marketing program will look like.

He said that no budget has been announced for the campaign.

“It could involve posters around town, and messages on buses and street banners, ads in local papers and magazines,” he said. “We’re looking to launch in May and have it run through the end of this year as a counterbalance to the economic times we’re in.”

Said Castaic’s Smith, “I couldn’t in good faith, as the president, and knowing the challenges the community is having, say ‘Okay, we’ll jump on this.’”

She added, “We’re not asking people not to shop in Santa Clarita; we’re asking people that live here to think about Castaic first.”
Some Castaic Area Town Council members could not see the harm in participating in the Think Santa Clarita campaign.

“I don’t understand why, if local businesses are not being asked to donate funds, why they wouldn’t want to participate to get more business,” said Robert Kelly, the council’s vice president.

To which Smith responded, “Since we are launching our own campaign, we thought it might warrant some confusion. We really want the community to shop Castaic first.”

Crawford said he was surprised to hear of the Castaic Chamber’s decision.

“We’re looking to do things that help business in these economic times, and looking to include everyone and create a program that is not divisive,” he said. “We’ve reached out to all the town councils to invite them to come to a meeting next week about the Think Santa Clarita Campaign.

“So I’m surprised anyone would have a made a decision before attending the meeting for information,” he said.

About five years ago, Crawford said, the city did a “Shop Local” campaign that focused only on business within the city — which does not include Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Val Verde, Agua Dulce or Acton.

“This program (Think Santa Clarita), we very much wanted to be inclusive of the entire Santa Clarita area and all the communities regardless of city boundaries,” he said. “We’re all neighbors, we rely on each other and success in any area benefits the surrounding areas.”

The Castaic Area Town Council voted to send a letter supporting the Castaoc Chamber’s decision to the Think Santa Clarita chairmen. The letter also will ask that Castaic be considered in the early stages of planning if the campaign runs next year.



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