Fuquay-Varina Downtown

Fuquay-Varina Revitalization Association

Overview: The organization was ready to re-brand. A move to new office space led to the realization that the brand that was in place did not adequately represent the organization. It presented a great opportunity for a rebrand.

The Challenge: Within Wake County, the town of Fuquay-Varina has struggled to shed its outdated reputation as a sleepy town that progress forgot. Additionally, the unusual name of the town reveals another challenge. This community has two distinct downtown districts and a several block area between them. For visitors and residents new to the area, there was a lot of confusion about what constituted Downtown.

The Revitalization Association (now known as Fuquay-Varina Downtown) has been at the forefront in creating a vibrant atmosphere in the historic core. The board of directors wanted to develop a brand that accurately reflected the fun, modern and lively community that respects its history and is creating a dynamic future.

Point of Distinction: This town was created by merging two communities. A love story helped give the town half its name. A young girl wrote letters, using the pen name Varina, to a soldier during the Civil War. They met and married after the war and her pet name graced many businesses in the community as the couple raised a family and helped move the town forward. The second community, Fuquay Springs was known for a time as a source of healing spring water. Hotels, shops and entertainment developed around the spring. The spring was heavily marketed to attract visitors from outside the community. After World War 2, as the highway system developed and people could travel further, the attraction faded and the community became known for its tobacco and the warehouses that supported that industry. Fuquay Springs and Varina merged in 1963. An authentic point of distinction for the current community is the true camaraderie and spirit of giving that exists between long-term residents and newcomers as they work together in the service projects of the numerous non-profits operating in the community.

Articulating the Brand: The core of Fuquay-Varina’s Downtown provides a historic platform for new events and programs designed to engage residents and visitors. The organization proactively plans for the future. It was very important to create a brand that had room for expansion and flexibility. Local breweries and the arts have become an increasingly important component of Downtown vitality, along unique retail and a surprising variety of local restaurants for a small town.

The Process: The brand rollout has occurred over several years. To begin, the firm worked closely with a subcommittee of the board of directors. The next step was to create focus groups composed of business owners and residents. In phase one, a new logo, sign and fundraising collateral were developed. The logo was created as a signature, to reflect the pen name/signature that helped name the town. The website was redesigned to support the new brand. Existing events and programs run by the organization were rebranded to fit under the umbrella brand. In the second phase of brand rollout, the community was engaged to provide feedback on a name for the area between the two districts. A map and banners were designed that clearly delineated the two distinct downtown districts and “The Link” area between them. New events were developed and branded to join the family. In phase three, a plan will be developed for The Link which will help draw attention to business located in that area and to the possibility of new development.

Family businesses, passed down for generations exist side-by-side with start-ups run by people new to the area. In this town, long-time residents welcome newcomers and this mix of energy and excitement about Fuquay-Varina sparks new celebrations, new business and creates more energy. There is a genuine understanding that this combination of new and old is better for all.


“Ann Marie developed a new branding campaign and logo design for our downtown revitalization organization. She understands the branding process and is focused and meticulous in all aspects of designing a logo and brand that clearly defines your business or organization. She listens to the direction you want for your organization and delivers a package that helps you reach your goals. She met all of our expectations and exceeded them!”

-Naomi Riley
Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association


Posted on

March 14, 2015