KINGSTON — Seattle is the Emerald City. Downtown Poulsbo is Little Norway. Bremerton’s image is tied to the Navy.
Kingston’s brand? Well, just sit back in one of those oversized Adirondack chairs you see in town and ponder that a while. And relax and enjoy the view while you’re at it.
Actually, that’s the idea behind a branding effort developed by some Kingston advocates.
You might recall those colorful, ginormous Adirondacks at Cleo’s Landing. (How big? Think of Lily Tomlin’s skit in Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In” — “… and that’s the truth.”) Owner Susan Rodgers noticed visitors of all ages climbing on and getting their photos taken. Teenagers. Grandmothers and grandchildren. Giggling couples.
“When you see an Adirondack chair, you think of sitting back, breathing in and kicking back,” Rodgers said. “I thought, wouldn’t that be a great pairing with North Kitsap’s ‘Sanctuary Shore’ [campaign]?”
She talked with County Commissioner Rob Gelder and Port of Kingston Executive Director Jim Pivarnik and the idea took off. To cut to the chase, 12 large Adirondack chairs — made by local builder Doug Woodside — were installed at various sites in Kingston on May 5: four at Mike Wallace Park facing the water (two will be relocated to the Washington Boulevard Park when it’s completed), two at Arness Park, two at Kola Kole Park, two at Cleo’s Landing’s side patio (Rodgers’ chairs were refinished), and two uptown in front of Kingston Mercantile & Marine.
The emerging brand: “Kingston: Sit A While and Relax.”
“We’ve been working on this for a year and a half,” Rodgers said. “It’s a good idea for Kingston. Part of our goal is to have people stop and stay here, to make us the first stop on the Peninsula instead of just driving through. ‘Stop, relax, sit a while and get your bearings.’ That’s the story.”
Pivarnik said those giant Adirondack chairs at Cleo’s Landing caught his attention when he took over at the port in April 2016. “I talked to Susan and she said a friend built them. I thought, ‘We’re building this beautiful park.’ Then six months later, Rob Gelder asked me if we wanted to be part of a roll-out program” involving the chairs.
Pivarnik was settled on the idea faster than, well, faster than you can settle back into an Adirondack chair. He paid $800 per chair using discretionary funds (and with commission approval, he said). Tania Issa of Kingston Mercantile & Marine bought two. Gelder bought four. Each chair is painted with a different theme. The port’s, for example, are nautical.
Promotional ideas include passports; fill your passport with photos of you on each chair and get a discount at participating merchants. Just an idea at this point.
“Kingston’s been looking to grab onto a hook,” Pivarnik said. “This is one way we can put Kingston on the map.”