Chicago shopping district to sell itself to consumers

CHICAGO: A local retailers? group has hired a PR firm to oversee a public image campaign for Chicago?s historic State Street shopping district.

CHICAGO: A local retailers? group has hired a PR firm to oversee a public image campaign for Chicago?s historic State Street shopping district.

The Greater State Street Council, which has set aside a six-figure marketing budget to revitalize the area?s image and attract shoppers, has hired local firm Miller Pear to handle its PR efforts.

?More PR needs to be done here,? said Jerry Sider, executive director of the council and a former State Street retailer. ?You?ve got to bring excitement back to the street.?

Once known as the retailing hub of Chicago, State Street?s image has faded in the past two decades as another area, Michigan Avenue, has attracted a wide range of upscale retailers.

However, several new retailers ? such as Nordstrom?s Rack, Borders, and H&M ? are moving to State Street. Marshall Field?s, one of the two department store anchors of the street, also is in the midst of a major revitalization of its State Street store.

In the midst of this minor renewal, State Street wants to position itself as a moderately priced alternative to tonier Michigan Avenue, Sider said.

Miller Pear already has begun media relations work to get that message out, said agency president Bonni Pear.

?Our objective is to heighten public awareness of the revival of greater State Street,? Pear explained. ?We?re looking at people who live and work in the area first.?

Chicago?s Loop, the business district bisected by State Street, has seen a major boom in residential construction in recent years. Local colleges have also been building more dormitory space on either end of the State Street retail corridor. Both of these factors have increased the local population and made it a prime target for State Street PR messages.

The effort will also reach out to the Chicago metropolitan area and other states as the agency contacts travel writers to talk about the benefits of State Street as a destination, Pear said.

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