Old Town leaders choose agency instead of 1 person to guide future marketing efforts

       Board members of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group believe that what the historic shopping district needs is plenty of Zeal. Standing at the northeast corner of 25th Street and Colorado Avenue, Old Colorado City Associates President
Jim Heikes (center) is flanked by Seiko Tran (left) and Tom Beard of the Zeal Group.
Westside Pioneer photo
       So that's who they've signed to a six-month contract - the Zeal Group - as they take a new direction in their efforts to expand the marketing reach of the region's oldest commercial area.
       “The board voted 100 percent,” said OCCA President Jim Heikes this week of the decision. “We're all excited about Zeal.”
       Originally, the OCCA had been looking for another marketing director (after the previous director resigned in July). But the merchants decided they could potentially achieve more results with an agency, which could put several people to work at one time if necessary, Heikes explained.
       Tom Beard and Seiko Tran are the two main contacts for Zeal, a marketing and advertising company which was formed two years ago and has offices in Colorado Springs as well as in Oregon, Atlanta and Chicago.
       A key part of the Zeal strategy is to work with Old Town shopkeepers and other businesses to develop a common “brand” that would be at the heart of any events or sales pitches. “It's more than marketing and advertising,” Beard said. “Branding will help define how Old Colorado City is different and what it should be known for.”
       Also, plans are forming to provide incentives for businesses to become part of OCCA. These would be in the form of marketing or advertising assistance or training in public relations, Tran said.
       An early example of the Zeal campaign can be seen in the handling of the OCCA's traditional series of fall events. In the past, they have emerged separately - Scarecrow Days (with related activities including A Taste of Old Colorado City and the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off) and Safe Treats on Halloween. According to Tran and Beard, the idea this year is to put those under the heading of “Fall Harvest Days” and to add a promotional effort during the three traditionally shopping-heavy days just after Thanksgiving.
       The Zeal Group was hired after the OCCA board reviewed more than 200 applications for the marketing position.
       Tran said he initiated the contact, having enjoyed working with Old Colorado City when he was employed with a previous company. “When I saw the ad in the paper, I wanted us on board,” he said. Also, he noted that Zeal president Jeff Pederson lives in the Springs and “wants to help grow the OCCA.”
       Heikes said he preferred not to disclose the amount of the contract with Zeal, but pointed out that it is “a substantial amount each month.”
       The OCCA will provide office space, as needed, to the Zeal group in the Maintenance District building at 111 S. 25th St.

Westside Pioneer article