ON THE HORIZON — The Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce plans to put up a mural promoting its ‘eXperience Cloverdale’ brand later this year. The chamber hopes the mural will attract millennials and folks wanting to highlight where they are.

The Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce wants people to experience Cloverdale. As part of its continued marketing and branding for the town, the chamber is planning to paint a mural on the side of a North Cloverdale Boulevard building.

The chamber was granted a permit for the mural, which will be located on the side of R Salon (125 N. Cloverdale Blvd.), during a September 2019 planning commission meeting.

The anticipated design is simple — it utilizes the building’s already gray wall as a background for a large, green ‘X’ that’s also used in the chamber’s regular ‘eXperience Cloverdale’ branding.  The mural will also include three hashtags: #eXperienceCloverdale, #CloverdaleCA and #Sonoma County, as well as the mural’s geographical coordinates.

This isn’t the first time the chamber has used the sole ‘X’ to represent its larger brand. Last spring, it hosted a treasure hunt as part of a spring festival, which tasked participants to go into local businesses and find small markers that had been printed with the letter.

“We’ve always sort of wanted ‘X’ to mark the spot — that’s why it exists,” said Chamber Executive Director Neena Hanchett. “It’s not like a mural that you might see with wine grapes and people doing every stage of wine prep or anything, it’s just the ‘X’. The way it’s supposed to look — it’s going to be big.”

Creating large, focal-point walls has become a trend among cities of all sizes. The walls tend to be tourist attractions — people pose for photos in front of them, and post the photos on social media. According to Hanchett, the idea to latch on to this trend was board-driven.

“It was by our board — they travel, they have a lot of vision, they love Cloverdale and they want to see it reach its potential and beyond,” she said, explaining the process of deciding to create a mural. “We just talked about it. We talked about how different towns … nearby, far away, we did cursory research and got pictures.”

Hanchett said that various chamber board members noticed mural walls while traveling to places like Minnealpolis, or exploring local cities like Petaluma.

“Well we’re not Minneapolis, we’re not Petaluma, but we can do something meaningful and something that will hopefully attract millennials, but also anybody who wants to highlight where they are and what they’re doing,” she said.

“I think that it’s going to be an attraction for people that come into town, because that’s what they do — they’re walking down the road, looking at their phones. We’ll see how it goes and if that property gets developed, we’ll find some other building.”

During the September planning commission meeting, one resident questioned whether a mural highlighting the region’s winemaking history would be more apt.

When asked about why the chamber didn’t go with a more detailed design, Hanchett cited two other murals in town that are more detailed — one on First Street, and another that catalogs the region’s various crop production that’s located on the north side of the Olde Anchor Antiques and Collectibles building.

“We have a couple of murals in town that could probably be updated, but that wasn’t our plan,” she said. “Our plan was to experience Cloverdale, and that’s the brand that we’re promoting and that’s what our mission is … We wanted something that was kind of trendy and something simple and something that would stand out and be easy to take pictures in front of.”

Hanchett said that the stenciling and painting of the mural is going to be done by Cloverdale High School’s AP art class, which is taught by chamber board member Kelley Voss.

“We’re ready to go, as soon as we have a break in (the weather),” Hanchett said. 

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