Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life In Leavenworth

No, I'm not talking about the federal penitentiary in the heartland of the US. I'm talking about a town that, in 1968, on the cusp of an implosion of the local timber industry, decided to take a different tack and focus on tourism and the creation of a unique destination.

And so we are here again. All told, I think this is my 5th trip to this sleepy town that hosts 17 major festivals a year and whose building code is pure Bavarian, literally. You can not tell from the Starbucks from the local pizza parlor from the McDonalds. Their brand trumps everyone else's and that is in writing.

So imagine my response as I open their brochure to look at their maps and what I see is something that is not unique, not distinguishable from any other destination and just not consistent with the level of thought and effort that they have seemingly put into every other aspect of this town.

Furthermore, take a look at their web site at and they are a classic example of being a destination but not showing their customers where they are until they go to the "how to get here" page. Geographic context is again completely under-utilized and under-appreciated.

I am hopeful that someday they will get it as they (the people of Leavenworth) deserve it. And I think that SideStreet may play some part for, as I was reminded again today driving through the old downtown of Monroe, yesterday's Main Street is today's Side Street.

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