CRG, city working together to market Gloversville digitally

GLOVERSVILLE — Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs is preparing to launch a new digital marketing campaign with the city’s former videographer, Osama Mustafa.

Hannahs on Friday outlined to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth Board of Directors plans to market the city through new digital platforms and video content he will produce with Mustafa, who joined the downtown development specialist’s office this month.

The move follows a request from Mayor Vincent DeSantis in April that the CRG enter into a contract with Mustafa to continue the videography work he previously provided to promote the city while serving as an independent contractor for the city from May 2019 through the end of that year.

While under contract with the city, Mustafa documented city activities and events in photos and short videos that were shared on the My Gloversville Facebook page. His images were also included in the city’s application for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative state grant award in 2019.

Mustafa was additionally hired by the Gloversville Enlarged School District in August 2019 to a full-time position as the district’s public relations specialist. Throughout the school year Mustafa has created content for the district’s website and social media pages.

DeSantis in April noted that the city included $100,000 in funding for the CRG in the 2020 city budget to partially fund Hannahs’ position and to coordinate plans to attract new residents to the city with the understanding that the agency would continue videography services previously provided by Mustafa.

The mayor pointed to the content produced by Mustafa as helping to raise the city’s profile and suggested his presence in the downtown development specialist’s office would help the city capture the attention of entrepreneurs and developers looking to relocate from densely populated cities to small communities after being largely confined to their homes during state stay at home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

It is partially with this idea in mind that Hannahs and Mustafa will produce videos and other digital content for online distribution.

“We’re trying to take advantage of this major exodus that is happening out of these metropolitan areas and collectively market a lot of the assets that Gloversville has to offer to show that it’s a really great place to move to and live and work and raise a family,” said Hannahs.

The produced content will also provide an opportunity for the CRG staff and Board of Directors to introduce themselves and to outline ongoing efforts by the agency to support Gloversville and Fulton County.

“We want to make sure people know what we’re doing, who we are, why we’re committed to projects and then beyond all of that we’re going to of course be advertising other really attractive assets, like property values and business opportunities and undersupplied markets to show that not only is there a need for this in the community, but also there’s affordable spaces and affordable spaces to move and raise a family,” said Hannahs.

The new marketing effort will also feature existing downtown businesses, which Hannahs said will provide an opportunity for the CRG to connect with business owners to identify their needs and offer assistance where possible.

“It’s going to give us a really great opportunity to build on the reason why we’re here; to support businesses and expanding development opportunities,” said Hannahs.

As the city and CRG prepare marketing materials targeting business owners and residents looking to relocate due in part to the current conditions caused by the pandemic, Board of Directors Chair Leslie Ford pointed to the importance of additionally focusing on the diverse communities existing within Gloversville and the surrounding area as the Black Lives Matter movement and conversations surrounding systemic racism have swept the nation.

“We also have communities that are anchors for people to come to, that they can build on, that there’s just as much opportunity here for them to build some things that they could be proud of and have a heritage here,” said Ford.

Hannahs pointed to plans for the redevelopment of Elk Street Park with input from residents in the surrounding neighborhood and the individuals who use the park day-to-day as an effort his office is involved with to preserve an inclusive community asset that demonstrates these ideas and agreed that marketing materials must highlight the entire community.

“That is definitely something that we’re not neglecting,” said Hannahs.

By Patricia Older