I CONSIDER MYSELF a storyteller, using images and words to share stories. Storytelling resonates with people, connects with them, builds a sense of community.
Now my community of Faribault is embracing the same storytelling concept through a new branding campaign themed as American Stories. A collaboration of the Faribault Main Street Design Committee and the City of Faribault, including the park and rec department, this storytelling approach seems a good fit for my southern Minnesota city. We truly are a place of stories—from past to present.
Already, this American Stories theme has launched on the Faribault tourism website, on a billboard along Interstate 35 near Faribault and in banners hung throughout the downtown historic district. We truly have a gem of a downtown with many well-preserved historic buildings. Now Preserving American Stories banners flag this historic area.
More banners are yet to come, according to Kelly Nygaard of the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism office and the Faribault Main Street Coordinator. Those markers will include Experiencing American Stories to be posted near River Bend Nature Center, Crafting American Stories near the Faribault Woolen Mill and Shaping American Stories near the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and for the Blind and by Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. Additionally, Making American Stories banners will be placed throughout town.
Says Nygaard: “America is often described as a melting pot, and Faribault has always had diversity with Alexander Faribault himself being part First Nations. We have a beautiful downtown, great industry, a wide array of educational options, and plenty of fun ways to experience the outdoors and fun events.”
I agree. This stories theme not only portrays the many unique aspects of Faribault, but it creates a sense of identity. And, I hope it also instills in locals a sense of pride in this place we call home. Individually and together we are Faribault’s stories.
ABOUT THAT Preserving American Stories banner. The banner photo features the then Plante Grocery on Third Street which “offered customers a wide variety of household products and foods in baskets, barrels and boxes,” according to info on the Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission website.
In my photo of the banner, you will see the top of the 1870 National Security Bank building. The HPC website provides this additional information about the historic structure: “A Classical Revival-style brick facade covers a stone structure constructed originally by mercantile entrepreneur F.A. Theopold. The building was leased by Security Bank in 1899. The bank eventually purchased the building, and a fourth story was added in 1914, possibly the same year that brick was used to radically alter the structure’s appearance.”
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
You are a stellar storyteller, Audrey. Although I’m miles away I can experience your community through your images and words.
Thank you, Ruth. That means a lot to me.
I enjoy your blog 🙂 and have been sleeping with my red / black stripes Faribault blanky for 25+ years 😉
Thank you. And thank you for treasuring your Faribault Woolen Mill blanket.
Great way to keep the history alive and help to promote a great town. Love it.
This marketing campaign really resonates with me. When I think about family history, it’s not the dates that interest me, but the stories. It makes sense to apply that same thought to marketing a community.
Stories shared at a family gathering over a meal are THE BEST! It is the spark and glue that reinforces the “tie that binds”. A wonderful theme for the town to embrace!!! I pray that the enthusiasm is caught by many.
Exactly. And we should be writing down these family stories.
Sigh……..I know but they seem so spontaneous in nature it would be very difficult to capture all the humor (usually) that pairs with it. No writers in the fam (not me, either!!!).
Hey, a sigh here, too. I’m a writer and I haven’t written down any of those family stories either. And, uh, yes, you are a writer.
It sounds like the new branding campaign will be interesting and heartwarming.
I really like the whole concept.
What a great way to teach others about your community!
Love the new branding campaign which gives you city a sense of identity. We all need to gather family stories to keep memories alive.
Yes, I think this marketing effort will brand Faribault as a unique place worth a visit.