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Lucchese, visitors bureau unveil Victoria-branded boots

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 16, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.

Members of the crowd check out the display of brand new Victoria-themed Lucchese boots after they were unveiled Tuesday at the gazebo in DeLeon Plaza. The three designs all feature the Victoria tourism slogan "Bring Your Boots."

GET YOUR OWN

Where: High Brehm Hats and Western Wear, 6603 N. Navarro St.

It takes about eight to 12 weeks to receive the boots after a fitting.

For more info.: Call High Brehm at 361-576-4287.

THREE BOOT DESIGNSThe Victoria-style Lucchese boots come in three designs. Those include:

One featuring the blue city seal, complete with an image of Texas and the six flags that have flown over Victoria

One featuring the "Street of Ten Friends" sign, which sits just off Main Street

One featuring an outline of the Texas coast and "X" marking the spot where Victoria sits. This image was developed during a city branding campaign.

Bells tolled to ring in high noon as a stage coach approached DeLeon Plaza, and two men emerged with a yellow crate.

And, after a few words from local officials, Victoria got its first glimpse at some very special footwear.

The Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau on Tuesday unveiled Lucchese boots designed specifically for the city. About 125 people gathered for the event.

The boots come in three designs and each pair features the phrase, "bring your boots" across the back.

The project is the latest addition to a marketing campaign that urges visitors to "bring your boots" to Victoria.

It all began with a branding study about two years ago, which indicated visitors thought of Victoria as a historic and comfortable town. When Bridgette Bise entered her role as executive director of the convention and visitors bureau, she was tasked with creating an image to entice people to visit.

That image? Boots.

They have a historic presence in town, Bise said, explaining they go back hundreds of years to the French, Spanish, Mexican and Americans who have all made their way to town. Victoria was home to Joseph Lucchese, who founded Lucchese Boot Co.

Mayor Will Armstrong said he hoped to be the first person to purchase a pair of specialty boots, but that Victoria Chamber of Commerce President Randy Vivian beat him to it. Regardless, Armstrong said he was proud of the project and believed the best is yet to come to Victoria.

"And I guarantee you, if this helps me dance, my wife will buy a pair, too," he said of the boots.

It's exciting to see the project reach this point, Vivian said, explaining he'd eventually like to see people wearing their Victoria boots down the street or out on the dance floor.

"This is a way to build pride in our community, or take a chance to show off everything there is in Victoria," said Vivian, whose black boots with the "X marks the spot" logo matched his black leather vest.

Victoria newcomer Jesse Adams attended the unveiling to support the community and get a look at the boots. He said he liked what he saw, and although he wasn't sure, might buy a pair.

"I like that they incorporated parts of the city into the design," the Farm Bureau insurance agent said.

Boot design is a long and detailed process, said Curtis James, Lucchese Boot Co.'s account manager for Texas. Designers discussed Victoria slogans, designs and other ideas with Bise and developed prototypes before settling on just the right look.

The convention and visitors bureau worked with Lucchese Boot Co. since April, Bise said, and the finished product costs between $400 and $500, depending on the style.

Boots are available at High Brehm Hats and Western Wear and people can also customize the leather, toe shape and heel height, if desired.

A portion of the proceeds from boot sales will go toward building a visitors bureau in downtown Victoria

Bise said she had never been so proud to be a Victorian as she was Tuesday.

"I feel like all this really hard work that we have put into this campaign is coming full circle today, and I really hope that the residents will ... feel like they want to be a part of it now," she said. "Because they can own a piece of what our brand is."

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