What makes Graham County a great place to be? The Graham County Chamber of Commerce and Local First Arizona hope to find the ultimate answer and turn it into a brand.
“A brand is used for tourism campaigns and to promote our community to our community,” said Vance Bryce, chamber executive director.
Over the last month, the chamber and Local First Arizona have been meeting with community members to collect their ideas on what a good brand would look like. Once developed, it’ll be used on such things as the chamber’s website and community event fliers.
Lexie Krechel, rural program manager for Local First Arizona, said a creative brief outlining the input from the community is being prepared and once it’s finished, it will be presented to the participants to make sure their ideas were conveyed correctly.
The brief will then be sent to an Arizona design team to create several initial logo concepts.
“From there, we work with both the community group and the designers to ensure that the final product/brand is the most authentic representation of the region,” Krechel said.
The final brand concept should be finished by mid-July, Krechel said.
The chamber is devoting $10,000 to the project, which includes $5,000 obtained through a grant from the Arizona Office of Tourism.
Graham County has been without a brand for too long and there are aspects of the county that need to be recognized and celebrated, Bryce said.
There are people who have lived in the community for 10 years who haven’t visited Roper Lake State Park, he said. And with more houses being built in the county each day and more families moving to the area each month, the time is right.
“We’re not replacing anything, we’re establishing something. We don’t have anything we use as a brand consistently. It has to be identifiable, recognizable, and something that people can expect to be in the area, as far as tourism goes,” Bryce said.
The closest thing Graham County has to a brand right now are the red, blue and green ribbons that were tied around the community after teenagers Mason Gann, Kade Nelson and Emmett Darnell died in an accident in February 2020, Bryce said.
“It is the most unifying symbol in our community right now,” said Bryce. “It unifies us. I still see the ribbons everywhere.”
Bryce hopes the brand will become as recognizable as the Gila Valley Strong slogan. If anyone is interested in sharing brand ideas, they can call or text the Graham County Chamber of Commerce at 602-833-0258, Bryce said.