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Bethlehem Parking Authority Tries New Advertising Venture


Two Bethlehem, PA, parking garages will be offering local merchants more than just parking spaces. Beginning next month, the Bethlehem Parking Authority will begin renting wall space to merchants to advertise their goods, services and events.
Eight frames, measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, will be hung in each elevator in the garages. In the frames, the selected local businesses can display their store hours, special sales or menus.
''There's the potential for something great to happen here,'' said Sonny Zittrer, marketing and sales director for the Bethlehem Area Chamber of Commerce. Consider this: An estimated 7,000 vehicles with monthly passes use the garages during October. Add the passengers and people without passes, and merchants have a sizable audience to tap into, organizers say.
It is a market that metropolitan areas like New York City and Las Vegas use regularly, said authority Executive Director Hector Nemes said. He said the venture could bring the authority an extra $7,200 a year.
''This is something we've been talking about for a year,'' Nemes said. ''I really think this will work.''
Zittrer added the venture has an appeal not just to merchants in the historic district, which is where the parking garages are, but also to South Side businesses. People who don't habitually shop in the South Side will be exposed to what it has to offer, she said.
Lynn Logue, the authority's director of marketing and sales, said each of the five garage elevators will feature the same advertisements. One frame is reserved for the authority to promote events. The Downtown Bethlehem Association will initially get a free frame.
Renting a frame costs $150 a month or $125 a month if a business agrees to a six-month contract. The Downtown Bethlehem Association members have a $25 discount on those rates. So far, the authority has two frames left to rent.
''I think there is the possibility for more in the future,'' Logue said.
She suggested the authority could eventually put a sign as big as 4 feet by 8 feet along a wall or smaller frames in the stairwells. Logue said that some space could be used for downtown maps, the sort of ''you are here'' displays commonly found in shopping malls.
''Turning a parking enterprise into a marketing enterprise is really amazing,'' said Robert Curzi, parking authority chairman.

Article Abstract from April, 2003




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