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Downtown Belleville rebrands, reveals new website

By Allen Steinberg [2]

BELLEVILLE – The Belleville Downtown Improvement Area [3] announced their new brand and website [4] Tuesday evening at Capers [5].

Belleville board members and downtown business owners alike were in attendance to see what is in store for in the heart of the city they live in.

Shawn Patriquin of both the BDIA and marketing firm They Integrated [6] led off the evening, discussing Downtown Belleville’s new marketing strategies and the efforts that went into them.

Patriquin set the new direction in motion by showing off a video made by Vantage Point Media House [7] to showcase the blossoming downtown area.

Patriquin announced that “The Downtown District,” a name recently adopted for Belleville’s downtown, is part of the rebrand. New logos and aesthetics were also showcased.

“Be a Part of it” was announced as The Downtown District’s official motto.

The website [8] features updated navigational options that allow users to easily browse upcoming events, businesses and their own respective events, services and attractions that the Bay of Quinte has to offer.

“I’m super excited for what’s happening.” Sharon Huckle, owner of The Cat’s Meow hair salon and former BDIA member shows her support with her son, Kayden Hennig. Photo by Allen Steinberg, QNet News

Mayor Mitch Panciuk expressed his joy at this new opportunity for his city’s downtown. “We support this new branding process. The branding is so positive and optimistic. What I’ll say is, don’t overlook the positivity for downtown Belleville in what often times seems to be a sea of negativity,” he said.

Patriquin addressed that the largest flaw with downtown Belleville up to this point has been how it has been perceived by the people in the city. “There’s a perception issue with the downtown that needs to change. They say that perception is half the battle, but in branding, perception is everything,” said Patriquin.

The BDIA ran a survey in which he said participants described Belleville’s downtown core with words such as lonely, boring and even scary. The most accurate comment, he said, was one that described the city’s downtown as “pivot ready.” The slogan “It’s not what it is, it’s what it’s becoming.” came out of Patriquin’s mouth frequently during the evening.

He also stated that the Downtown at Dusk event that took place last June saw many locals start to view Belleville’s downtown in a livelier light. “We heard comments from so many people who hadn’t been downtown in a year, two years, three years. To see the energy, excitement, and surprise from so many was an exciting time,” said Patriquin.

Patriquin spoke to QNet News where he said Downtown Belleville is opening a variety of shops that resemble the small businesses in the neighbouring County.  “It’s really emerging quickly. A lot of the new businesses you’re seeing down here are ones you’d typically see open in Prince Edward County.”

Sharon Huckle, owner of The Cat’s Meow [9] salon and former owner of Nice Ice Baby [10], says that Belleville’s downtown has only gotten more exciting during her years as a business owner. “Perception is a big deal. People just didn’t come downtown where there is actually a lot to offer. Now they’re running so many cool events and I’m super excited about everything that is happening,” she said.

Along with its rebrand, the BDIA is hosting a number of events in the coming months in The Downtown District. The Belleville Nighttime Santa Claus Parade [11] will take place on Nov. 17, the Girls Night Out [12] shopping event Nov. 28 and the Enchanted Holiday Night Market [13] on Dec. 7.