Friday, December 25, 2009

Leveraging the Sun Valley brand


We, the undersigned, are members of the advisory board to Sustain Blaine, the local group behind the GoBlaine strategy to create economic vitality throughout Blaine County. We represent broad cross-sections of the community, from Carey to Ketchum, in sectors that include business, government, nonprofit groups, education, agriculture, real estate, the arts, transportation, housing and health. We are united in one cause: to foster economic vitality throughout Blaine County.

Since unveiling the GoBlaine strategy last July, we've been hard at work to form and fund an entity with the resources, authority and legal structure capable of enacting it. Today, we are happy to announce the formation of the Sun Valley Economic Development Corp., serving Bellevue, Carey, Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley and Blaine County.

Our purpose in writing is to explain why we chose the name Sun Valley Economic Development Corp. for a body that serves the entire county. One of the key elements of the GoBlaine strategy is to leverage the Sun Valley brand. The fact that we have an internationally recognized brand holds tremendous value. We want to unleash that value to benefit the entire county.

On a practical level, "Sun Valley" is how the outside world knows our area. It is the likely keyword someone would use when searching the Internet. Adding more words—such as "regional" or "area"—muddies Internet search results, so we consciously chose to not incorporate them. We want anyone looking to do business in our area to find us quickly and easily.

Using "Sun Valley Economic Development Corp." is similar to approaches used successfully elsewhere. For example, in the Boise area, the Boise Valley Economic Partnership represents Meridian, Caldwell, Nampa, Eagle, Star, Garden City and Emmett, as well as Boise.

To make clear that the Sun Valley Economic Development Corp. represents the entire region, we intend to widely use the tagline "serving Bellevue, Carey, Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley and Blaine County, Idaho." We recognize the unique features of each distinct community; the Sun Valley Economic Development Corp. will support and celebrate those differences.

The formation of the Sun Valley Economic Development Corp. represents a remarkable effort in our valley. Its creation has been completely by volunteers, with interested citizens pitching in and local experts providing pro-bono counsel. We invite you to join in.

We are currently seeking nominations to a 13-member board. Six seats are held by appointees from each of the cities and the county. The remaining seven seats will be held by citizens. All full- and part-time residents who support the GoBlaine strategy are encouraged to nominate themselves.

For more information, please contact Chair Doug Brown at or (208) 309-0187. To learn more about the GoBlaine strategy, please log on to or join the GoBlaine group on Facebook.

The members of the Sustain Blaine Advisory Board are:

Rick Baird, Friedman Memorial Airport

Doug Brown, Wood River Economic Partnership

Tom Bowman, Blaine County

Julie Cord, agriculture

Mike Chatterton, Blaine County School District

Bob Crosby, Sawtooth Board of Realtors

Craig Eckles, city of Bellevue

Vanessa Fry, past chairperson

Krista Gehrke, business

Harry Griffith, at-large member

Linda Haavik, land-use planning

Randy Hall, city of Ketchum

Rebekah Helzel, ARCH Community Housing Trust

Rick Hickman, Sun Valley Co.

Bruce Jensen, St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center

Joy Kasputys, VJK Consulting

Don Keirn, city of Hailey

George Kirk, development

Ted McCoy, entrepreneur

Sara Mecham, city of Carey

Jason Miller, Mountain Rides

Neil Morrow, Ketchum CDC

Carter Ramsay, young professional

Nils Ribi, city of Sun Valley

Bill Ryberg, Sun Valley Center for the Arts

Diana Takvam, at-large member

Carol Waller, Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau

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