North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington Awaits touts business opportunities


Christopher Andersson

Grocery Outlet employee Holly Martin bags groceries on Feb. 24 at the Arlington store, which was one of the first stores featured as part of the Arlington Awaits campaign.

Arlington city officials hope that the new Arlington Awaits campaign will help draw businesses to the city.

The city has worked with a Seattle marketing firm to launch, which provides information about the growing areas of Arlington, demographic information on the residents, and highlights some of the businesses in the area.

The website and the campaign kicked off officially in January this year.

"Our job is not necessarily to promote the community, but specifically to attract retail businesses to the area, and as a second level attract manufacturers to the area," said Randal Southam, the chief creative officer at Southam Creative, which is responsible for building the campaign.

The campaign involves reaching out to businesses in Seattle, across the Puget Sound and across the country, said Southam.

"Really making the case that Arlington is the place to do business," he said.

"For example, if you're a business owner in Seattle and looking to move, here is an opportunity for a location with reduced congestion, reduced regulatory burden and reduced taxation," said Southam.

The campaign's motto is "The Sky's the Limit" which plays "on the airport theme that is so central to the city," he said.

The outreach campaign has several fronts, said Southam, including direct mailing efforts and a social media program.

Part of that social media program involves highlighting local businesses.

The Arlington Grocery Outlet, which opened in 2015, was one of the first four businesses featured.

Owners of the Grocery Outlet, Melonique and Mike Simpson, said they grew up in the community and were glad to open a store in it.

"It's our hometown. We've been here a long time. Our kids go to school here," said Melonique Simpson.

Other businesses like San Juan Salso and Nutty's Junkyard Grill were also featured.

Zak Kjolso, one of the owners of Nutty's, said they are coming up on four years in Arlington, in a location that used to be primarily known as a fruit stand.

Southam said that the videos highlighting those local businesses and the benefits of Arlington already have thousands of views.

Zak Kjolso said that Arlington is a unique town and his restaurant business has "crossed one bridge at a time" while preparing to open.

"The city was really helpful with us and had a good attitude about it," he said.

Zak's brother Zane Kjolso, also an owner of Nutty's, said that Arlington has a "good public and a good workforce," as well.

"Everybody's pretty level-headed and family-oriented," said Zak Kjolso.

Christopher Andersson

Nutty's Junkyard Grill employee Sylvia Wentz mixes a milkshake on Feb. 24 at the Arlington restaurant, which was one of the first business featured as part of the Arlington Awaits campaign.

Melonique Simspon said the area is good for organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Arlington Business Association, and for its close community.

"This is a real small, tight-knit community where people support everyone else," she said.

"It has that small-town feel. You know everybody and it's not like a big city where no one knows you," she said.

She said that any effort to bring more business to Arlington helps everyone there.

"The more business and the more people we can get here is going to be great for everybody," she said.

"Especially for us, we're always trying to find ways to grow sales, so if we get more people and businesses here it's going to help," she said.

Southam said that several more videos are currently under production to show more aspects of the community and the campaign is scheduled to last four to five years.

"So we're just in the beginning stages," he said.


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