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Posted: 05/15/13

New MRP campaign says
'Romeo is Open for Business'

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals (MRP) Association has begun a new campaign to let everyone know that "Romeo is Open for Business."
       The Romeo MRP is a group made up of local business owners, non-profits and other entities that seeks to promote the downtown area through events, festivals and joint marketing ventures. Alex Stubbs, Romeo Post Office postmaster, said the MRP noticed its participation was dwindling, so it wanted to establish a new campaign to re-kindle some enthusiasm.
       "We wanted to establish one consistent brand that everyone could attach to and identify," he said.
       MRP Treasurer Carol Humphreys said the aim is to not only work with local businesses, but also local non-profits to form partnerships to draw people into Romeo.
       "Romeo is not only for shopping, it's for dining, entertainment, enrichment, it's for the mind, body and soul," she said. "We need to expose people to the uniqueness of our community."
       The MRP has decided to use a red "open" sign for the branding as a way of showing downtown is open and has plenty to offer. For instance, Humphreys pointed out people can find everything from U-Haul rentals and clothing stores to dog washes and glass replacement.
       "We want to aggressively market that Romeo is where you can find anything you need, you don't need to drive for miles and miles," she said.
       With that in mind, the next step was to identify the target audience for the campaign. Stubbs surveyed the business community and was pleasantly surprised to find more than 200 businesses and services exist within Romeo's boundaries.
       "We didn't have any idea on the number of resources we have in the village," he said. "We felt good about possibilities of what the MRP committee could do for the village."
       Humphreys said the campaign is also an effort to give MRP members more mileage with the annual membership fees they pay. She said the MRP is looking to implement member-to-member discounts and the ability to buy from other members in bulk.
       The campaign is also taking a new look at the MRP's current festivals and events. For instance, the Sidewalk Sales and Street Festival in July typically closed down Main Street for the day to provide entertainment while shoppers perused outdoor displays.
       Humphreys said this year the MRP wants to keep Main Street open for traffic and encourage all businesses to participate, whether it be restaurants selling food on the street or professionals setting up tables at a business expo.
       "Romeo has so much to offer, and that is going to be focus of MRP," she said.
       Stubbs said the upcoming MRP meetings in June and July will determine whether or not the campaign is in fact opening the doors of downtown.
       "We're not just established to put on events, we're here to support businesses and improve the image of the Village of Romeo," he said.
       For more information about the MRP, visit www.romeomrp.com.


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