The Goals of The Branding Project

26 Jan

By Suzanne Meunch

Published by Red Bluff Daily News January 25, 2012

It seems my husband and I have supported some of the goals of the Branding Project before we knew there was a Branding Project in Tehama County!

Our move to Red Bluff from southern California in 2009 was prompted when my husband, Dick Muench, accepted the job as Chief Probation Officer of Tehama County. Truthfully, I had never heard of Red Bluff before our move. Dick and I promised ourselves an adventure after the last of our three children finished college, and an adventure it has been.

The learning curve has been high for me from time to time adapting to our new life here. The first hard freeze I called property management to voice my concerns that the well was empty because we had no water. Ignorance? You bet!

I have lived on the coast of San Diego for the majority of my life. Remember the average temperature there is 68-degrees and my guess is very few native San Diegans even know about water wells. I shouldn’t be surprised at still being asked, “Where are you from?” I guess we city folks are easy to spot. We continue to appreciate the inquiries about our transition here, and yes, we have experienced two summers and still love to call Red Bluff home. (Yes, I know the last two summers haven’t really been that hot!)

Red Bluff was an easy sell for us after our first weekend visit in October 2009.  On the first day here, I was lucky enough to make a new friend, Mary Jayne Eidman, while shopping at her store, Discover Earth. Mary Jayne’s love and enthusiasm for the region was infectious.

 As we chatted, she described her interests and hobbies. I learned about an organization called Slow Food, whose mission is linking the pleasure of local food with a commitment to community and the environment. Sounded right up my alley! I was warmly invited to attend the Art Walk sponsored by the Tehama County Arts Council, and then recruited to join a committee or two.

Living here, I’ve experienced that community service in all forms is key for our area keeping improvements going. The generosity, resourcefulness and self-sufficiency of the people living here is a huge strength of this region.

Recently we hosted an early Christmas celebration that doubled as a family reunion. My mother, Rosemary Putnam, turned 90 this year, so the whole family welcomes any excuse for all of us to get together and honor her. Family and friends came from as far as Texas, Washington, Oregon, and Walnut Creek. Our children and the guest of honor arrived from Southern California. Our home allows a capacity of four guests, so the remaining twenty-one stayed at the Hampton Inn. Thanks to the Hampton Inn for the RoseMerry Christmas special rate and the warm and personal hospitality.

On a Saturday, in between kitchen duties preparing dinner for twenty-five, several of us ran downtown for a shopping tour. A visit to House of Design was a perfect venue to prepare for our tradition of a Christmas ornament exchange. I noticed a little shopping was accomplished at each place we stopped, and lots of ooohhh-ing and aahh-ing everywhere. We also made it out to Randy Holbrook’s Christmas Open House, where we experienced his amazing pottery, as well as other local products available for sale.

My niece, Penny, a church administrator in her hometown of Bainbridge, Washington, met Randy and received information on communion chalices she was asked to find for her church. Hopefully, her pastor will choose Randy’s work. Either way, it gives me such pleasure knowing Penny will share a story about Red Bluff back home and that our local art is being discussed at Bainbridge Island Cross Sound Church. It was delightful sharing this aspect of Red Bluff’s people, places and things.

 As Chief Probation Officer, Dick has the opportunity to bring business to town in an unexpected way. Mandated training for his Probation Officers traditionally has been held out of town. After converting an unused space in Juvenile Hall, he started inviting trainers and participants from other Northern California counties to complete this required training here. Currently there are 2 – 3 classes held monthly with twenty-five participants. Each class brings four to five thousand dollars to the county which otherwise would have been spent elsewhere. Bringing business to town fits right into part of the Branding strategy.

An aspect of economic development each of us can do as residents is supporting and promoting the people, places, and things our region has to offer; with family, friends, visitors and others.  Branding economic prosperity starts at home with local communities supporting their own goods, services and businesses.

 With recent press, fund raising events, and the hard work of many, branding has become a catalyst for conversation. Tehama County Branding Project is a movement in response to an opportunity and desire to improve the economic prosperity of Tehama County and its anchor communities of Red Bluff, Manton and Corning. Sounds good to me!

The brand itself, along with the marketing plan, does not address all the issues that challenge the future success of our town and county. It is, however, a good start at fusing a collaborative effort amongst our leaders. If you have an opinion on how it can be improved, please get involved and be part of the solution.

Tehama County will benefit as all dedicated residents strive to make their hometown a better place to live. Many very worthwhile projects could benefit from your contribution of time.  Ask yourself how you can support your community’s desire to improve and thrive.  In the world of branding, economic prosperity is a journey of discovery and the development of activities, enhancements and new business opportunities that reinforce our community assets. Care to join us?

Suzanne Muench is a resident of Red Bluff and a member of the Tehama County Branding Economic Prosperity At Large Team.



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