By JENNA BAILEY
On Monday, May 20, Main Street DeFuniak Springs (DFS) held a brand presentation workshop for the DFS city council. Speaking for the presentation was Main Street DFS Executive Director Jay Evans. The purpose of the meeting was to show the city council what progress Main Street DFS has made in reimagining the city brand and explain how these suggestions and ideas could improve the economy of DFS. This meeting was for information and discussion, no actions were taken. Evans began with discussing a two-pronged approach: destination brand and organization brand. A destination brand is how the community defines itself, how others perceive the community, what the community is known for, and what the community wants to be.
The destination brand composed by Main Street DFS reads, “Founded in the 1880s along the Pensacola and Atlantic Line, DeFuniak Springs was born on the shores of our perfectly round, spring-fed lake. An oasis of intrigue, DeFuniak Springs served as the ideal spot for a new resort town, and the combination of access and climate made it the ideal location for one of America’s earliest cultural movements, the Chautauqua. Explore the original campus of the Florida Chautauqua along our beautiful Chipley Park, discover the purity of the Hall of Brotherhood and soak in the historic beauty and design of our homes, schools, library, churches and natural park, As a community, we were founded on the four pillars of the Chautauqua Movement – Arts, Education, Recreation and Spirituality. Progressive thought and conversation have always been a part of who we are. One of the first planned communities in Florida, we provide the authentic inspiration for the popularity of New Urbanism.
“Our oratory of yesteryear laid the foundations for today’s TedTalks. Over 130 years later, our values still permeate the activity and experiences of DeFuniak Springs. Everyday life includes paddle-boarding on our lakes, discovering delicious food in a historic setting, enjoying local artisans at our Downtown Arts Nights, learning and growing through our amazing schools and attending a keynote address at the annual Florida Chautauqua Assembly. Like our natural lake, life in DeFuniak Springs is well-rounded. DeFuniak Springs is in the heart of the panhandle, but not Old Florida. We are the seat of a coastal county, yet not a beach town. Instead, our heritage and culture lay the foundation of our character as a True Southern Town; defined by hospitality, tradition, community and warmth. In DeFuniak Springs, lifelong friends meet at the local diner to start the day. Grandparents cheer on the grandkids at little league games. Residents enjoy the cool summer breezes from their local porches looking over our many lakes. And children can buy candy at the downtown general store.
“For visitors, DeFuniak Springs reminds them of everything they grew up with, and beckons them to call this town home. We are the original Urbanism, yet we are still an escape from the hustle of the big city, and the sunburn of the sandy beaches. Downtown DeFuniak Springs is becoming the new campus to share and learn, and our Main Street will once again be the center of culture, recreation, commerce and living. You can debate the news of the day at the Opinion Place while your car is plugged in at the Tesla Supercharging Station or tour the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street downtown, highlighting the culture of DeFuniak Springs as an original rural community. A movement is building in DeFuniak Springs, as new business and investments are filling our entire town. The seeds of vibrance and energy harken back to the four pillars on which our community was founded. We invite you to discover for yourself all DeFuniak Springs has to offer. In DeFuniak Springs, we are naturally well-rounded.”
Organization brand is how the community defines its Main Street, what the purpose of its Main Street is, and who the community wants its Main Street to represent. The organization brand presented by Main Street DFS at the workshop meeting reads, “Main Street DeFuniak Springs believes everyone deserves a beautiful, vibrant downtown — a place that has a thriving local economy, is rich in character, and features inviting public spaces that make residents and visitors feel they belong. We strive to celebrate the rich history of our community, while helping breathe new life into our downtown economy. Main Street DeFuniak Springs is focused on community revitalization and economic growth while emphasizing historic preservation. We endeavor to promote quality design of public and private spaces, champion economic vitality and sponsor activities.”
Next, Evans presented on Main Street DFS’s ideas thus far for the city logo, city seal, city brand extension and city brand extensions. The presented examples of brand extension logos were for the DFS municipal airport, Marvel of Flight, LakeFest, Arts Night, and the DFS Scottish Dinner.
Following the conclusion of Evans’ presentation was council discussion and a time for citizen comments. There was pros and cons brought up from both sides. Some were concerned about the color of the logos as they were not sure if they were too light for those with poor eyesight. Another color concern was if they were properly representative of DeFuniak. Evans’ requested funding for materials in order to print pamphlets that visitors can retrieve regarding attractions and what to do in DeFuniak Springs. No formal decisions were made at the meeting.