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where marketing works - FOr community

Since the mid-1800s, Grand Lake, Colorado has been a gathering place for miners, hunters, prospectors and city slickers looking to escape the city and breathe mountain air. Many never left, making a living from the land and the visitors who couldn’t stay away from a quintessential, welcoming home town. The people who built Grand Lake are hearty, resourceful, and proud. They’ve survived depressions, recessions, blizzards and bears – with humor and an unshakeable determination. But the pandemic and East Troublesome Fire of 2020 threatened their way of life by threatening their most precious commodity.


Media attention to the fires was consistent – but once the tragedies were reported, attention to Grand Lake turned elsewhere. For many, the perception was that Grand Lake was destroyed - even though that was far from accurate. The Chamber of Commerce and town leaders were concerned that tourists would choose to go elsewhere and that the temporary closure of Rocky Mountain National Park would result in thousands, if not millions, of summer guests who never pass through their little town.


Grand Lake during Pandemic - Memorial Day 2020

Grand Lake is dear in the hearts of many, but to S&D CEO Lorie Sadler, Grand Lake is home. She rolled up her shirt sleeves, rallied her troops, and volunteered the Agency to assist in any way possible. Emily Hagen, Executive Director of the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce was still reeling herself from evacuating her family from the Troublesome Fire, but shared the sentiment and need of the community. 

The Chamber's immediate need was for a positioning statement to let the world know Grand Lake was "open for business," and still the charming destination Coloradans know and love. Just days away from seasonal advertising deadlines, S&D created a new tagline for the town, based on their geology and history of grit and inspiring beauty.

Formed by glaciers.
shaped by resilience.
Grand lake - forever grand.

The "Forever Grand" tagline was implemented quickly across print and digital tactics and the basis for fundraising efforts to support individuals and businesses. 

Next, the Chamber needed a way to recognize the fires and the tragedies that occurred while also celebrating the community that lived through it. S&D worked with Hagen and her staff to develop a concept for three events: a solemn ceremony on the anniversary of the evacuations, a block-party style BBQ, and an art gallery, filled with remnants and photographs from the fire. 

S&D provided a brand concept and framework for the events that included naming them and developing a series of logos the Chamber could use for a variety of marketing and collateral needs.

rise from the troublesome

CAMPAIGN CONCEPT STATEMENT: Recognizing the fire will always be remembered for its name, we will reclaim “Troublesome” and make it stand for resilience, strength, healing, and community.


Like the sun each morning, like the phoenix from ashes; the hearty but tired people of Grand Lake rise to a challenge, rise ready to rebuild. Together, arm and arm – we continue to rise in the aftermath of the wildfire that threatened our town, our community, our home. We are stronger than ever, but realize we need time and each other to heal. “Rising” is also a process – we will continue our upwards progress in our own time and at different speeds, we are all moving at our own pace, but will heal eventually with our hearts, hands, and voices.


Hearts Rising - Rise from the Troublesome Memorial Ceremony & Bell Ringing

Hands Rising - No More Troubles Community Gathering

Voices Rising - Troublesome Stories - Art & Artifacts from the Troublesome Fire

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S&D's  graphic concept focused on the pinecone; the key to reforestation, but locked until consumed by flames. After a fire, restoration and regrowth begins. Organic and illustrated but not cartoonish, the logo offers a fresh and modern take on the pinecone and was used across all the events and promotion for them.

"Our intent with the Troublesome events was to provide a glimpse

into our community’s loss in a respectful and dignified way.

We're so grateful for the assistance and kindness of Lorie Sadler

and her team at S&D, for all they've done to help us brand the

gallery and the events while being understanding and creative."

Emily Hagen, Executive Director

Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce

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We were honored to work on this project for our neighbors and friends in Grand Lake, and continue to be inspired by their determination and focus. We hope to see you there soon.

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