By Samantha SLAYBACK
Just about anyone who lives in La Crescenta is familiar with the “Where are you from?” conversation. Someone asks the question and, upon hearing La Crescenta as a response, reply with “Where is that?” or “I’ve never heard of it.” Sunland-Tujunga residents are all too familiar with this exchange as well and, frankly, are tired of it. They’re working to change this “invisible town” phenomenon and put Sunland-Tujunga – and surrounding towns – on the map.
For the past two years, the Sunland-Tujunga Community Marketing Initiative has been working on building a brand for the Sunland-Tujunga area. In those two years, they have branded the area as “The Gateway to the Angeles National Forest,” and held a logo contest last year, revealing the city’s official new logo on the Fourth of July.
Now that the brand has been built, it’s time to make it known.
“We are working on brand awareness,” explained Sunland-Tujunga’s Brand Ambassador Paolina Milana. “To that end, we’re well aware of the traffic that our town sees – so many folks just whizzing by not sure of who we are or what we have to offer.”
Milana explained that the first course of action in raising awareness is a “show your pride” campaign.
“We’re trying to surround our thoroughfare with banners that show off our new brand and speak to how we are supported by companies inside our towns’ boundaries as well as outside – companies such as YP, Joselitos, etc.,” she said. The goal is to get all of the signs up before the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Along with the banner reveal, the Marketing Initiative, via the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce, will be unveiling a special gateway offer for small local businesses to get their own websites for only $99.
“Today so many people are searching online and on their smart phones, that we believe our small businesses will benefit from taking advantage of this,” Milana said.
To help make this vision a reality and meet the deadline, the Marketing Initiative will be holding its first pancake breakfast at the McGroarty Arts Center on Sunday, Oct. 12 from 7 a.m. to noon. Pre-sale tickets for the Flapjack Fundraiser can be purchased at the McGroarty Arts Center and cost $5 for adults and $3 for kids; tickets at the door will be $7.
Deb Goodale, the owner of the Sunland Back Door Bakery that burned down on Mother’s Day, is to be the celebrity chef at the breakfast. Roger Klemm will also be helping to make pancakes while Goodale visits with old customers and other guests who have missed her and her business.
“Their presence in Sunland-Tujunga has been a game-changer,” said Milana. “They truly have been leaders in bringing new business that wraps its arms around the community and brings the concept of neighbor to life – not just with great food, but [profiling] local artists and so much more.”
Milana said that the town simply hasn’t been the same since Back Door Bakery burned down. Goodale said that she will be ready at the breakfast to discuss the plans she and her husband Reno have for the future of Back Door Bakery.
The Marketing Initiative will also be present at the breakfast, selling “swag” and having sign-ups for volunteers who want to help with what is needed and anticipated for the project.
Of the proceeds raised at the pancake breakfast, $500 will go to the Sunland-Tujunga Community Marketing Initiative to pay for up to four of the estimated 25 to 50 banners needed for the November “Share Your Pride” banner project. One or two banners will be displayed at the McGroarty Arts Center and one or two will be on display at the Back Door Bakery. Additional funds will be dedicated to the McGroarty Arts Center for its future endeavors, including a possible mini-scholarship.
To learn more about the details of the Marketing Initiative’s fundraising efforts, including how to donate, visit www.youcaring.com/mysunlandtujunga.