Here we go again. About a month ago, the Grass Valley Downtown Association rolled out a program for a billboard on I-80 to promote downtown Grass Valley starting Nov. 1. It is going to be around Penryn for traffic going up the hill from Sacramento and the Bay Area. The GVDA is asking its members to each make a small monthly donation for the sign — as little as $25 per member and more. We are going to participate as associate members, because I think it’s a good idea. I’ve long been a proponent of a billboard on I-80 — first mentioning it three years ago in a report to the County. The fundraising campaign is underway.
The billboard image, from our friend and photographer Kial James, is the same one we commissioned Kial to do for the Grass Valley Visitors Guide that we publish for the GVDA. It is on the cover of this year’s guide. The photo looks awesome. The first billboard will promote Cornish Christmas, and others will be brand promotions for Grass Valley. (There are multiple change outs per year).
Now along comes the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce with its own plan for a digital (not print) sign. “I was recently approached by a company that operates digital display signs,” writes the Chamber co-CEO in his Friday newsletter. “They have a sign location available at Colfax, near the former Dingus McGee restaurant that faces eastbound traffic.” (We’re familiar with that sign; it is used to promote local businesses).
“If we were to raise the TOT tax in the Nevada City-Grass Valley area to 13 percent we estimate the additional 3 percent would increase that revenue by $300,000″ and it could be dedicated to a digital billboard and “two or three” other print billboards on I-80.
“In addition, the Regional Chambers could sell advertising space for the billboards at a special rate for their members.”
But the GVDA already has a plan in place for a billboard to promote Grass Valley. To be sure, billboard advertising is not a panacea. Though a lot of people see it, most do not make a split-minute call to action. It takes time. But it will help.
We continue to suffer from the “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome. The Chambers ought to accelerate their efforts to be advocates for business — and support the GVDA sign. TGIF!