Many West Chandler residents through the years have felt perplexed and even disenfranchised when they perceived the city’s thinking as “outside the box” – outside the boxed-in area where they live defined by Loop 101 on the east, Loop 202 on the south, Interstate 10 on the west and just north of Ray Road on the north.
Visitors also were confused. Where are we? Is this Phoenix? Tempe? It was difficult to know.
Chandler, sensitive to their feelings, has taken action to create a specific branding campaign for West Chandler to not only to heighten visibility and establish a sense of place but also to let that portion of the city know that it is not forgotten.
The most visible evidence is recent installation of signs defining the West Chandler Employment corridor at the behest of Mayor Kevin Hartke.
The freeways that create the box around West Chandler move people. But there is a down side. They separate those residents from downtown, perhaps fueling feelings of division and disenfranchisement.
“That’s a good question,” Hartke said. “I know when the 101 came up it did separate people from where their schools were. It did create a barrier.
“West Chandler is an interesting part of our city. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you are in Tempe or you are in Chandler.”
The area is a significant economic driver with more than 630 businesses employing more than 29,000 workers. With nearly six miles of frontage along I-10 and Loop 202, it is seen by thousands of commuters each day.
“When you enter West Chandler, we want you to know that you are in an important part of our community,” Hartke said. “When you hear the name ‘West Chandler’ we want you to envision a vibrant and dynamic employment corridor.”
Chandler City Council approved $239,937 to buy the nine signs that are being placed in strategic areas in West Chandler as part of the branding initiative led by the city’s Economic Development Division. The signs are 15 feet tall, with “West Chandler” lettering, and a high-tech theme that reflects the area’s industry base. The city worked with YESCO, a custom sign builder in West Chandler, to design and install the signs. Seven of them have been installed so far.
“West Chandler is a very special group to us in terms of business development, particularly industrial near Ray Road and Interstate 10,” Hartke said. “Right now, we’re expanding at the 10 and 202 on the northeast corner. There’s a lot of jobs up there, a lot of industrial jobs that are unique. And you’ve got Stellar Airpark in west Chandler, which is a jewel. How many communities in the world actually have a neighborhood where you can taxi your airplane into your garage, or fly daily to California and back to work?
“Our Desert Oasis Park is beautiful out there. Chandler Fashion Center in West Chandler definitely is one of our jewels. It’s top tier and I’m excited to see Scheels (sporting goods) moving in there and others coming in.”
The Economic Development Division is leading additional projects aimed at strengthening West Chandler’s image and sense of place. A multi-channel marketing campaign is promoting the neighborhood, including social-media posts, digital ads and print ads that highlight West Chandler business success stories, development projects and why the area is a wise place to invest.
The city will bring its “Feel Good Friday” promotion to West Chandler, visiting area businesses and rewarding shoppers with gift cards to Chandler-based businesses. The promotion is strategically timed to support West Chandler businesses during the holiday-shopping season and construction on the I-10 Broadway Curve Improvement Project.
“Our marketing strategy for West Chandler will target different audiences,” said Economic Development Director Micah Miranda. “In addition to local stakeholders, we are going to be promoting West Chandler to technology companies outside the state who would be a good fit for the area.”