Updated, 10:48 a.m.: Loveland promotes itself as "the Sweetheart City" via a remailing program that stamps Valentine's Day cards with the community's postmark.
WithLoveFromLoveland.com, a website that offers free V-Day e-cards, isn't an official part of this project, which is sponsored by the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. But the Chamber president doesn't see the firm as horning in on the city's action.
As the original version of this post noted, I contacted the Chamber and asked a representative named Liesl -- I misheard her name as "Lisa" -- about the company. She told me WithLoveFromLoveland.com is actually part of an operation called WebYourBusiness.com, which lists its bases as Loveland and Fort Collins. She added that since the Chamber doesn't see profit as the primary goal of its re-mailing program, the firm's approach was perfectly fine by local officials. But when I asked her full name, the call ended abruptly. From my end of the line, it sounded as if she'd hung up on me rather than identity herself for attribution. Moreover, I didn't receive a call back, even though I shared my full name and affiliation at the outset of the conversation.
Nonetheless, Brian Willms, the Chamber's president and CEO, who reached out a few minutes after our post went live, insists that Liesl didn't purposefully cut me off. Instead, he says the Chamber has been having problems with its phones -- although there were no such difficulties during my conversation with him. He adds that Liesl didn't register my name or that of Westword, so she couldn't phone back.
Whatever the case, Willms notes that WithLoveFromLoveland.com is a member of the Chamber in good standing, as well as one of numerous local businesses selling the official Chamber Chamber of Commerce's 2011 card design, seen here:
The site also includes a page devoted to the history of the re-mailing program, accessible from the "About Us" button.
Willms points out that the re-mailing program is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, with approximately 160,000 participating cards going in and out of local post offices this year. It's only one part of Loveland's Sweetheart City PR approach, which includes the naming of a Miss Loveland Valentine and a business-decorating contest.
As for WithLoveFromLoveland.com's free Valentine's Day e-cards offer, he sees it as "absolutely a positive" when it comes to spreading the message about Loveland -- the kind of place where no Chamber of Commerce employee would ever hang up on a reporter on purpose.
Here are some sample e-card designs.
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