It isn’t hard to find ample opportunity for complaint in
Kingman. This, however, is Promote Kingman. We won’t gloss over problems or pretend that they don’t exist but we prefer to focus on everything that makes this a great place to live. We feel obligated to share stories, news, and updates that get people excited about the city and its future.
Let’s start with the neon sign restoration initiative spearheaded by the Route 66 Association of Kingman. Working with property owners, and Legacy Signs, neon lit nights are returning to the historic business district as well as the Route 66 corridor. The 1930’s era Desert Drug sign is again glowing bright, and soon a kiosk telling the story of the sign will be added. A circa 1930 Packard sign restored last year has become a destination and photo op for countless international “sign geeks” and automotive enthusiasts. Likewise with the circa 1963 OK Used Car sign at Dunton Motors Dream Machines. The signs from the City Cafe, Imperial Motel, and Brandin’ Iron Motel are next on the schedule for restoration and installation. Cities like Pocatello, Idaho, after extensive study, have determined that neon sign restoration is an integral component in historic district revitalization.
The importance of community branding is another popular topic among community development planners. In 2014, during the Route 66 International Festival, an event that included the opening of the world’s only electric vehicle museum, Kingman was marketed as the crossroads of the past and future. Organizers of the event had hoped that this theme would be incorporated into city marketing and promotion but the idea of branding Kingman was abandoned. Recently Travis Lingenfelter addressed this shortcoming by launching the The Kingman Life, and after retaining the services of MyMarketing Designs, launched an ambitious branding campaign that includes a unique line of merchandise that will be sold on line as well as through local retailers.
The Kingman Life branding initiative was announced on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook live program on December 29. This weekly program supported in part by the Promote Kingman initiative had a reach of nearly 79,000 people in 2017. With the launch of a crowdfunding platform in the fall of 2017, author Jim Hinckley has plans to expand on the project by adding a second weekly program that highlights area restaurants, saloons, microbreweries, and event venues. As envisioned, the crowdfunding project will also make it feasible for Hinckley to attend events and festivals where he make presentations on the Kingman area and Route 66, distribute area promotional materials, and answer questions.
The reach of the Promote Kingman initiative developed by MyMarketing Designs, linked with Promote Bullhead, Promote Havasu, and Promote Route 66 continues to grow. Often the weekly reach for the project that includes a Kingman area calendar of events is more than the entire population of Kingman and the immediate area. In the first week of 2018, the Facebook reach exceeded 45,000 people!
Tim Woods of Woods Saddlery has taken the helm at the Mohave County Fairgrounds, and launched expansive plans for upgrades, improvements, and the hosting of events. Ken Conaway and Gene Kirkham are engaged in a variety of projects that will enhance Chillin’ on Beale, and encourage participation from the river communities as well as Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and Prescott. Linked with this are arrangements with management at Grand Canyon Caverns facilitated by Jim Hinckley that will allow for the addition of a Route 66 cruise to enhance the scope and appeal of select Chillin on Beale weekends.
Bottom line, Kingman has a lot of problems and issues to address. Kingman is also a city of passionate and hardworking people with vision. Stop by The Farmhouse or Southwest Trading Company, Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner or Rickety Cricket’s, Black Bridge Brewery or Savon Bath Treats, meet the owners and listen to customers. Attend an event like Chillin on Beale or a program like Jim Hinckley America’s Facebook live. Feel the passion, the excitement, and the enthusiasm, and discover what really makes Kingman special – the strong sense of community and a commitment to make it a delightful place to live, to visit, and to open a business.