“This agreement made and entered into this 6th day of January, 1976, by and between the City of Denton, Texas, a Municipal Corporation, hereinafter called “City”, and the Denton Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit corporation chartered under the Laws of the State of Texas, hereinafter called “Chamber…”

This is the opening paragraph to a contract that turns 40 years old this week.

“Whereas, City has recently passed an ordinance providing for the assessment and collection of a hotel occupancy tax in the City of Denton…”

“Whereas, the Chamber is well equipped to advertise and conduct solicitation programs to acquaint potential users with public meeting and convention facilities and to promote tourism and advertise the City of Denton…”

These first two whereases among several, along with four pages of detailed legalese, outline the terms of a City of Denton contract with the Denton Chamber of Commerce to conduct a vital aspect of the City’s business, that of marketing Denton as a destination.  The continuous, uninterrupted sustainability of this contract for the past 40 years deserves more than mention.  It’s our birthday!  Whether that 1976 City Council realized it then or not, theirs was one of those destiny-determining decisions that initiated development for a great deal of Denton today.

A fresh-faced, feisty youngster fresh out of Baylor arrived in Denton to establish the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) as the department within the Chamber that would manage and fulfill the requirements of the new contract.  Chuck Carpenter, twenty-two years old and ready to take on the world, was the first Director of the Denton CVB.  He dove in and began creating ways to tell Denton’s story to the world.

Chuck took the helm of the Denton Chamber a few years later, and several CVB directors have carried on marketing Denton under his leadership.  I’m privileged to serve in this role, and have loved just about every minute of the past 13 years it’s been mine.

Our mottos have changed through the years as Denton’s grown.  Our character, though, remains true.  The very first of Chuck’s brands was, “Do it in Denton.” It is whatever you’re into, and you can find it, enjoy, foster, and pursue it in Denton.  Here’s the really cool thing:  That’s still our brand.  We just phrase it differently. CVB Logo

Our slogan today is “Denton.  Original.  Independent.”  Ponder a moment and you realize it’s the exact message as that of the old “Do it in Denton” promotion.  Our brand says \ people can be themselves here.  We are thousands of different people with dynamically diverse interests and passions many thousands over.  That is the heart of our character, our most distinctive attribute for more than 150 years.  And we are still telling that story.  It’s the manner in which we tell it that is always evolving.

Back when Chuck was getting started, available promotional outlets were limited to paper collateral, billboards, radio and TV.  Since then, billboards have gone digital.  Radio is personal.  TV is customized.  And most impactful of all, we entered a new dimension called the cyberspace, the World Wide Web.  Then came websites, email and, most recently, social media’s myriad platforms.  It is more difficult today than it has ever been to reach the masses with a single message.  On the flipside, it is easier than it has ever been to identify and engage specific audiences.  From Chuck’s CVB work then to our CVB jobs now, our mission has been shaping the “how” we speak into the marketplace without changing the essence of “what” – Denton’s original, independent character.

Paper collateral is still relevant and will be for years to come.  In fact, one of the CVB’s most successful paper-form ventures also has a birthday in 2016.   Denton Live magazine turns 10 years old.  This partnership between the CVB and the UNT Mayborn School of Journalism produces the sleek, biannual periodical that rivals the quality and style of Texas’ travel Bible, Texas Highways.  Narrative stories told through an ever-changing cache of talent has made Denton Live the award-winning envy of cities across the county.

Content rules online and digital worlds, so Denton Live’s important storytelling role has morphed into this realm too.  Stories become blogs, paragraphs become Facebook posts, sentences become Twitter sound-bytes, and images become Instagram posts.

We have mobile apps now, our online DentonRadio.com, multiple websites and in just a few weeks, the Discover Denton Welcome Center where we’ll showcase all of Denton and guide folks of all walks of life into complete dentoning experiences customized to their interests.

Denton’s story and the way the CVB tells it has come a long way in 40 years.  Chuck Carpenter built a great thing in 1976, and he is still running this show today. Happy anniversary to Chuck, and cheers for many more Denton CVB birthdays!