Rutland has a new commercial to promote downtown businesses - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland has a new commercial to promote downtown businesses

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A new commercial seeks to quash Rutland's negative reputation. The goal is to brand the city as a shopping and dining destination.

A new 30-second ad called "Downtown Rutland Is" produced by the Downtown Rutland Partnership and the Imagination Company features 12 area businesses. 

"Obviously with everything that's going on lately, it's good to just remind folks of the great things that we have in downtown and have always had in downtown," said Michael Coppinger from Downtown Rutland Partnership.

The Marble City has had an uphill battle when it comes to its notoriety as the poster child for Vermont's opiate problem. National media recently highlighted the city calling it "entrenched in a heroin epidemic."

"On a timely basis, it couldn't happen at a better time, but we had been planning this all along," said Coppinger. 

James McNeil of McNeil and Reddy is featured in the ad. The men's clothing store has operated on Merchant's Row for 58 years and McNeil has worked there for 40 years.

"We've been through cycles of this before, so this is one more thing, but we are family, we stick together," said McNeil.

Just around the corner on Center Street, Hawley's Florist has also stood the test of time. Bonnie Hawley has been in business for 37 years.

"We really wanted to get the word out, so people could see what we have here," said Hawley.

With downtown Rutland's current 90 percent occupancy on its first floor retail space, the branding message seeks to remind people of what the city has to offer.

"We really wanted people to know, we are just real people down here, working hard and providing what they need," said Hawley.

"We want folks in the Rutland region to think of downtown Rutland first, for their shopping and dining needs," said Coppinger.

This ad is just part of a larger campaign to promote downtown Rutland. After this ad runs through July, a new one will start running after that.

The ad can be seen on several TV channels, as well as the partnership's YouTube and Facebook page. The video just went online Friday and already has more than 1,600 hits. Click here to take a look.

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