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Vandergrift Main Street Community Receives Award for Retail Promotion

September 24, 2007

The Vandergrift Improvement Program, Inc. (V.I.P.) received a “Townie Award” for the “Vandergrift Pet Photo Contest and Calendar” from Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC) at the PDC’s statewide annual conference in Bethlehem, PA, which was June 3-5, 2007.

The “Townie Awards” is an annual awards ceremony facilitated by PDC, which works with over 300 member communities from across the state, 77 of which are currently in the Main Street program. The “Townie Awards” is an opportunity for Main Street programs to submit their most successful revitalization projects implemented in their community.

The Vandergrift Pet Photo Contest and Calendar won “Best Retail Promotion” for that category competing against 77 other communities from across the Commonwealth. This is the 17th year that the “Townie Awards” have been implemented.

“The Townie Awards are very competitive”, says Suzanne Gagliardo, Western Coordinator for PDC, “I’m surprised and impressed that such a young Main Street community like Vandergrift and the V.I.P. won best out of the retail promotion category. They were up against many terrific retail promotions from other more established PA communities.”

The Vandergrift Pet Contest and Calendar was selected for the “Townie Award” as “Best Retail Promotion” for its creativity and successful implementation that brought over 4000 people into the commercial district over the course of two months to submit their pet photos and then to cast their vote for their favorite pet photo. This effort brought people into participating downtown businesses and helped to build awareness about the historic downtown. Sherry Jenks, who serves on the VIP Board and on the Promotions Committee, conceived the idea for this contest.

Shaun Yurcaba, the Vandergrift Main Street Manager from Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) realized that this retail promotion would be successful when “…people were coming into downtown that hadn’t been to Vandergrift in months or even years. We were pleased about the participation from the community and the amount of increased foot traffic into the downtown businesses.”

The V.I.P. will be facilitating the second annual Vandergrift Pet Contest and Calendar 2008 starting on Sept. 24. Submit your favorite pet photo to the V.I.P. office between Sept. 24-Oct. 5. Place your vote at participating businesses between Oct. 15-31. Winners and calendars will be announced at Light Up Night on November 23, 2007.

The V.I.P. organizes several events and retail promotions a year in an effort to bring people into the downtown and to help the area become more aware of what is offered by the local businesses. The V.I.P. President, David Truffa, is also a downtown Vandergrift business owner and one of many business owners who’s involved with the V.I.P., “We are an organization committed to revitalizing Vandergrift, and it’s events like this that do encourage people to visit downtown Vandergrift.”

Founded in 1987, the mission of Pennsylvania Downtown Center is to advance the sense of place, quality of life and economic vitality of Pennsylvania’s downtowns, traditional neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas.

The Vandergrift Improvement Program, Inc. is a non-profit organization composed of local residents, businesses, local and state government officials. The V.I.P. is a designated Main Street community funded in part by the Department of Economic Development (DCED).

The V.I.P. on site Main Street Manager is Mrs. Shaun Yurcaba, of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF). The V.I.P. has selected PHLF to manage the main street revitalization efforts, working closely with the PHLF staff, specifically with Arthur Ziegler, President, and Eugene Matta.

The V.I.P. is dedicated to the protection, preservation and restoration of Vandergrift by using a four-point approach that focuses on organization, economic restructuring, promotion, and design of the central business corridor as well as the residential areas of Vandergrift.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633