What is distinct about Manchester?

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ARTICLE COVER Branding Word Cloud 5 JUN 23 article Brian Chicoine file photo

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Branding Manchester

I have been reading about how the city is currently going through a branding initiative, which is good in my opinion. Having Manchester known beyond New England would be cool, so instead of having to explain that we’re about an hour north of Boston and telling people that not all of New Hampshire is farmland, one could simply say something else. (Although I’ve had several recent conversations with people from across the country who already knew about Manchester because of the SNHU online programs or because of the FIRST Robotics community. Many people know about these things. The people that I spoke with had also heard about ARMI / BioFab USA, due to specific interest, which I don’t generally have people ask about…but it was cool). 

Manchester is distinct in many ways, and it’s that distinctiveness that makes it special. It is my hope that the company selected to develop branding for our city, (North Star Place Branding of Jacksonville, FL), does it justice by not only holding community-wide events, such as the one recently held at the Rex Theatre, but that they actually go into the various neighborhoods to experience our distinctiveness for themselves. That way they can discover what truly makes Manchester stand out. According to an article regarding Manchester’s branding initiative recently written for Ink Link, North Star has stated that they have had success in the past with communities like Sun Prairie, WI as well as many others, but no two communities are exactly alike so my hope is that the branding really promotes the distinctiveness of Manchester. .  

So what is distinctive about Manchester?  I have listed two key things that make Manchester distinct.

Past and Present MHT Millyard 5 JUN 19 article Photo Brian Chicoine Collection


Manchester is a city that has adapted. Founded as a company town, it has evolved into a city that boasts things such as major aerospace companies, technology firms, medical manufacturing and supply companies, and is a city that is on the forefront of regenerative medicine and the biofabrication of human organs.

Imagine that a town founded on the premise of manufacturing dominance; a company town that became the leading textile manufacturer in the world, was able to adapt when the manufacturing economy collapsed and is now a city that not only boasts many companies that are major economic players, but is a city that is on the forefront of medical technology that was more science fiction twenty-five years ago. 

MHT MIllyard Flood of 1936 Photo Credit National ArchivesPerseverance

As I have previously written, Manchester is a city that will not die. Our city went from a company town that benefited from being the largest textile manufacturer in the world to a ghost town in which about 23% of its population were left jobless…literally overnight. Then came the flood that caused major damage throughout the city and all but eliminated any hopes of re-opening the mills. And as if that weren’t enough, about 30 months after the “Great Flood,” a category 3 hurricane hit our city and once again caused major damage and destruction in our city, leading to the people rebuilding…for a third time.

So, over the span of a little less than 20 years, Manchester experienced the Great Depression, the closing and bankruptcy of its primary employer, a massive flood, and a major hurricane. But the city kept bouncing back, the people finding other ways to make money, survive, and grow the city. Even major natural events that have happened since the ’30s, such as floods in 1942, 1944, 1969, 1999, 2006, and 2008 as well as hurricanes Carol, Donna, Gloria, and Bob didn’t keep the city – or its people – down. And who can forget the Blizzard of ’78? But through it all, Manchester and its people have persevered.  

MHT drone image Brian Chicoine collection

The little things

While many people may not have had the opportunity of growing up with a close relative or friend that shared stories of Manchester’s past, these are the stories that matter. Stories are some of the “little things” that help us remember our past; that help us remember what makes Manchester distinct. 

These are the little things that will make any branding “distinctly Manchester.” These are the things that I hope North Star Place Branding gets. 

I’d love to read your thoughts! Send me an email at bchicoinemht@gmail.com


About this Author

Brian Chicoine

Brian Chicoine is a New Hampshire native who moved to Manchester from Raymond in 1980. While a student at Notre Dame College here in Manchester, Brian transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, where he met his now wife, Jackie. Brian and Jackie spent the next 20 years living in Providence and Manchester, returning to Manchester with their two sons, (who are proud Manchester natives), in the fall of 2017. He and his family intend on staying in Manchester and are committed to helping make it an even better place to live, work, and play.