CivicBrand Trip #1 Recap

The CivicBrand team arrived in Two Rivers ready to kick off trip number one of the community branding initiative. The goal of the first trip was to get a sense of what life in Two Rivers is like, see what the summer tourism season brings, and meet with a wide range of community stakeholders to discuss what Two Rivers means to them, their goals, challenges and opportunities.
 

Neshotah Park and Point Beach State Forest

Once we settled in our rooms at the Lighthouse Inn, we headed up the coast. Our first stop was the pier and beach at Neshotah Park. We were amazed to see how blue the water was and how packed it was at the beach — even on a Wednesday afternoon. We then continued north to see the lighthouse at Point Beach State Forest and dip our feet into the cold waters of Lake Michigan for the first time, before heading back into town for lunch at the Waverly Inn.

Kayaking

We then headed to the home of Curt Andrews, Two Rivers city councilman and head of the project’s branding committee, to launch kayaks from his backyard. We paddled around the East Twin River for a while, taking in the late afternoon scenery on the water.

Reception at Sepia Chapel

Our first night, we attended a reception with members of the branding committee and city council at Sepia Chapel. We talked about both what the branding project is and is not, and we enjoyed dinner and drinks. Our gracious hosts Barry and Gina Krahn did an amazing job renovating the historic building, and it’s a great asset for the community.

Roundtable Meetings

While in town, we held multiple roundtable discussions with members of the Two Rivers Business Association, Rotary Club, and City staff. After presenting to them an overview of our process (download the slides here), we discussed what would make them view the branding initiative as a success as well as a failure, what Two Rivers means to them, and the challenges the area is facing.

Exploring

We explored downtown and the Mariner’s Trail, as well as floated along the river on a guided pontoon ride where we learned about Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve and the many native bird populations.

Hamilton Wood Type Museum

We got a full tour of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum and as a group of designers and creatives, this was definitely a highlight of our trip, and we’re already seeing ways in which this could influence the project.

Fishing & Volleyball Tournaments

We saw the fishing derby and beach volleyball tournament and got to see the town play host to fishermen and athletes from across the state.

Scream ‘N Conuts

We made sure to get some ice cream at the newly opened Scream ‘N Conuts, and interviewed owner Emilee Rysticken about what it has been like to start a business in the area at such a young age. If the town can encourage and cultivate more young entrepreneurs like Emilee, it will be positioned to succeed in the years to come.

Rogers Street Fishing Village

We took at tour of the fishing village and learned about the great fishing heritage of Two Rivers and the many infamous shipwrecks in Lake Michigan.

Frank Lloyd Wright home

We were able to tour the famous ‘Still Bend’ Frank Lloyd Wright home, a famous piece of American architecture history and a great attraction for Two Rivers.

Two Rivers Talks podcast appearance

We were excited to be guests on the Two Rivers Talks podcast (click here to watch) where we had a great conversation about our process and community branding.

Next Steps

Our team had a blast on our first trip to the area, and we’re excited to get to work on the project. While our next trip isn’t scheduled until September, we’ll be conducting surveys, developing brand principles (which act as guiding lights for the brand), and meeting with the branding committee several times before then. Make sure to sign up for project notifications to learn about what we are doing and how you can get involved. Encourage your friends and neighbors to visit this project site and sign up as well.