WAXAHACHIE

Locals and visitors alike can now show their love for the Gingerbread Capital with the hashtag #HachieHeart. There will also soon be a lot more love on display throughout downtown Waxahachie after the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone passed a pair of art projects Monday.

This online movement is a segment of the now-two-year campaign, “Waxahachie: A place in your heart, Texas."

Director of Communications and Marketing Amy Borders explained how the foundation of the marketing technique is “to tell the story of Waxahachie because there’s a real pride and exuberance there.”

The social media movement is a group effort from city departments: communication and marketing, convention and visitors bureau, economic development and the downtown development. Those entities developed the initial marketing tagline "Waxahachie: A place in your heart, Texas."

The marketing method was entered into the Texas Downtown Association awards last year. Waxahachie was the lone finalist and winner of the best marketing campaign for a Texas town with an under 50,000 population.

Part of the campaign involves exhibiting how Waxahachie is “A Place to…” reboot, dream, discover, explore, bloom," which Borders said express the quality of life in Waxahachie. The mottoes are also found on the light posts downtown.

Laurie Mosley, director of convention and visitors bureau, will participate for the third year in a tourism project to receive a three-year certification as a tourism executive. In this final year, she is required to complete a capstone project.

And that is when #HachieHeart was derived.

“The tourism Waxahachie Facebook page used to only have 250 likes, and now it has over 9,400 on our 'Visit Waxahachie' Facebook page,” Mosley elaborated. “Our goal is for people to immerse themselves and use that hashtag on all platforms so we can capture those images and see what people love and be able to tell our visitors.”

The images and experiences captured through #HachieHeart are then displayed on a blog, hachieheart.com. The website has been active for a little over two weeks.

Another component of the capstone project is customer service. Not only did more than 100 city employees undergo the customer service training but the downtown merchants, too.

“We are calling it our Hachie Heart for customer service,” Mosley said.

People in Waxahachie might find a coaster at Big Al’s Down the Hatch, College Street Pub or Railport Brewery with the #HachieHeart slogan on it.

The idea is to interact with the #HachieHeart brand.

Mosley also noted the city has "a selfie-spot sticker that we are about to install across from the mural that’s across from the museum."

She explained visitors will know precisely where to stand to photograph the perfect moments with downtown.

PUBLIC ART DOWNTOWN

Two public art projects were also approved on Monday during the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone meeting.

A mangled retaining wall behind the Dove’s Nest along Franklin Street was approved to be transformed into a memorial. The marketing department will set up a lovelock fence for visitors and locals to place a lock downtown.

“It’s an experiential type of tourism or even for our locals; it’s just a variance that people really value,” Borders explained.

There will be a second public art project that involves five-foot fiberglass hearts sponsored by local businesses. Each heart will be decorated to reflect the business or an aspect of Waxahachie, so one heart does not look like the other.

“We would start in downtown, like 10 of them. And then, we would hope to grow them across town,” Borders explained.

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450