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Joyce Endee

Marketing Berlin: An Expert Opinion

August 26, 2009
NORTH CONWAY — In May, the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development hired the Glen Group, a marketing and advertising company in North Conway, to market the North County to businesses. Nancy Clark, owner of the Glen Group, has been traveling around the North Country, including to Berlin, to better get to know the region her company is selling. In Berlin she sees many strengths, but also weaknesses.

The low cost of living and the recreational opportunities will bring people to the area, she said, but there is more the area can trumpet to improve its image.

The college, for one, she said, has never been touted enough. It has one of the best nursing programs in the region, but the city hasn't capitalized on that.

"Jericho gives us this unbelievable opportunity to market," she said. There is no other facility like it in the Northeast, she said, and it has the potential to draw people. "Berlin owns Jericho. I look at Jericho as a key piece," she said.

The proposed biomass facilities are another asset, she said. Green power is something that could really change the city's image.

"It gives the city something else to hang its hat on," she said. "Green is in."

Even the city's distance from major highways can be an asset.

"There's a charm for being off the main drag," she said. A divided highway to the area might kill the flavor of the city.

The biggest challenge is something Berlin is too familiar with: burned out buildings, particularly the two in the downtown.

"The mill building doesn't bother me that much," she said, "but that (burned out) building, it's right there on Main Street."

She said she sees Berlin as a community ripe for resurrection. The old buildings are beautiful, with classic architecture and inexpensive. It is important for the city to maintain its historical flavor, she said, because that, coupled with the city infrastructure, are a big part of the draw.

"The potential is there," Ms. Clark said. "We need to get some momentum going."

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