LEOMINSTER —After more than two years of research and intra-city collaboration, Leominster’s city logo has gotten a facelift. The change is part of an extensive rebranding spearheaded by Mayor Dean Mazzarella, who said on Tuesday that he wants to continue pushing the city’s economic growth forward by marketing it differently from other cities and towns in the region.
The change officially went into place on May 31, when the welcoming billboards off of Route 2 and I-190 were replaced. The old sign, which read: “Leominster: Ready for You” was replaced with a new sign which says, simply: “Legendary Leominster.”
“When you get here, it doesn’t take long for you to fit into the group, to understand that everybody’s got a story here,” Mazzarella said of the city, which he has run for the better part of three decades. “That’s what a lot of communities lack today. They lack the community part, the history part of it all.”
Those stories, he said, are what make him view Leominster as a legendary city, and they are at the center of the rebranding effort.
In other towns, Mazzarella said, “it’s the same old message.”
“The message is ‘live, work, play, the center of the universe.’ And that’s not the case [here],” Mazzarella said. “I mean, that may work well for [other places]. We want to separate ourselves and say, ‘This is a special place; the people are what makes it special.'”
He pointed to photos of major Leominster figures which were recently adhered to several traffic boxes throughout the city. They feature people like New England Revolution soccer player Diego Fagundez or Spanish American Center Executive Director Neddy Latimer.
In the coming days, the sidewalk-facing side of the boxes will display text about the “legendary” Leominsterites, said economic development coordinator Nikki Peters.
The idea, she said on Tuesday, is that eventually visitors and residents will follow these stories around the city as part of a historic walking tour of sorts.
They will be encouraged to post on social media under the #LegendaryLeominster hashtag.
Both Peters and Mazzarella were quick to say that the rebranding is not part of a new effort to market the city to developers or businesses, but rather that it represents the next step forward in a direction the city is already heading.
While “Ready for You” was successful in helping to attract new businesses and industries to Leominster, Mazzarella said, he believes it is time for something dynamic and unique.
New logos marketing the city of Leominster as seen last month off Route 2 west in the city. (John Love / SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE)
The initiative began two years ago, when he established a committee of city officials and volunteers to brainstorm details about Leominster that separate it from other communities, Mazzarella said.
From there, the city used a combination of private fundraising and grant dollars to hire a marketing firm that designed the new logo and slogan.
All additional investments in the rebranding are being paid for through the city’s hotel tax, according to Mazzarella.
At the end of the day, the rebranding to “Legendary Leominster” is about making the city a more attractive place to live, work, and operate businesses, Peters and Mazzarella said. Peters described it as a “snowball effect.”
“The more we promote Leominster stories — Leominster as a desirable place to live and to be and to stay,” Peters said, “the more that the people who run the businesses here want to stay here and want to grow here.”