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Zumbrota clarifies rebranding talk

By Sandy Hadler, contributor

ZUMBROTA — The Zumbrota City Council again discussed rebranding of Zumbrota at the May 1 meeting. Responding to some public confusion about what rebranding means, City Councilman Brad Drenkhahn said, “I don’t have any notion of changing the Covered Bridge as the city’s logo at any time.”

Councilor Sara Durhman, who had introduced the idea to council members several months ago, responded, “Rebranding doesn’t mean starting new, it means updating where we, as a city, are going in the future. People think rebranding is a new logo, but it’s not. We aren’t going to throw everything away.”

She noted that the Covered Bridge is not featured as a logo on the city’s current website.

“I’m having a hard time with what should be city driven or business driven,” Councilor Dale Hinderaker responded.

Durhman responded, “It is an idea. It’s very creative. It’s about what you want our community to do. Rebranding is for the city, and how we will market it to the world. It has nothing to do with businesses.” She said the city’s current website is archaic. “It doesn’t look nice. It looks like it’s been typed, using a typewriter. It is outdated.”

Hinderaker said he has heard concerns about rebranding and its effect on the current logo from the business community.

Clearly frustrated, Durhman said, “We are trying to market our city. I’m still not making it clear to you.”

The council will move forward on rebranding issue after attending a business workshop where members said hope to get more information about how to proceed.

’Strength in Numbers’

 Area business leaders and citizens are invited to the American Independent Business Alliance’s “Strength in Numbers” workshop at 8:30 a.m. Monday May 12 in Zumbrota City Hall.

The alliance strives to help communities build economic vitality through maintaining local independent businesses and to keep economic and political power rooted in the communities.

Some of the impetus for the meeting came from controversy that arose in the business community when a Dollar General Store was proposed by the Overland Group, to be built on the former Grover Auto lot in downtown Zumbrota.

On March 20 council members agreed to the intent to purchase the Dollar General Store, but the request was denied at the April 17 council meeting, based on the recommendation of the Planning Commission, which voted unanimously on April 8 not to approve the zoning change for the lot from Residential to Commercial 1. The city was encouraged to continue to solicit development of senior housing or mixed-use residential development.

The “Strength in Numbers” meeting is sponsored by the EDA and the Bank of Zumbrota.