A Much-Anticipated Signal Mill Redevelopment


The Signal Mill Preview Party is this week and we are very excited to see what this beautiful building is about to become. It is great to witness some of Chattanooga’s iconic historic places being brought back to life.

Originally, the building was built in 1916 as a textile facility known as the “Knitting Mill”. Later, two additional buildings were added to complete the complex of the mill. For over 70 years, the Signal Knitting Mill employed more than 1,700 employees and was an important employer in the Chattanooga area. Later it became home to Signal Mills Antique Mall and Food Works restaurant.

Last year, the building was purchased by The Woodbery Group and is being redeveloped to become a retail destination with boutiques, restaurants and offices. Some of the most anticipated and talked about future tenants are Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Blue Ridge Fly Fishing and Mean Mug Coffeehouse.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que is a Nashville-based restaurant known for its smoky barbecue. Not only it will feature a great dining space at the new Signal Mill location, but also a large patio. Mean Mug Coffeehouse is a well-known coffee house in the area that serves great espressos and cold brews along with delicious breakfast and lunch options. Another new addition to Signal Mill is a Blue Ridge Fly Fishing where anglers of all abilities can find the best fly-fishing equipment and test their casting abilities from the front lawn.

If you would like to see the beautiful Signal Mill transformation, come join us for the Preview Party on Thursday, June 1st from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.!  We think you’ll enjoy tastings from the restaurants along with some Blue Grass music from Slim Pickins.  We’re suggesting a $20 donation to another historic entity, Little Miss Mag Early Learning Center.

Little Miss Mag turns 100 this year and has a significant connection to Signal Mill. In 1917 Mayor Jesse Littleton asked the Junior League of Chattanooga to establish a place for working mothers to bring their children while they worked at Signal Mill to support World War I efforts.  We’re excited to see this relationship come full circle.

Join us in the celebration!


What to Do for Mother’s Day in Chattanooga.

mothers-dayMother’s day is around the corner! What a great opportunity to thank our Moms for their dedication and unconditional love. If you are looking for ideas on how to celebrate this special day, here are some great options for you.

Urban Grind Café will have their first annual Mother’s Day Brunch on May 14th . You will get to enjoy their brunch bar, live jazz band and mimosas. If you are interested, here is the ticket and event information.

If you prefer to celebrate with beautiful views around you, Mother’s Day on the River Lunch and Dinner Cruise might be a great option for you. It is a two-hour cruise with live music, prime rib buffet and a full bar. Celebration starts at 1:00pm, May 14th.

Mother’s Day Cruise on River Gorge Explorer would be a great option for nature lovers. It’s a nature cruise where you can experience wildlife and animal encounters; they will also have a cash bar available. The cruise starts at 1:00pm, May 14th.

The Chattanooga Market is celebrating Mother’s Day with great selection of locally made treats, wine and champagne. There will also be a special performance by the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. Sounds like a great way to celebrate Moms.

The Chattanoogan Hotel will have a Mother’s Day Brunch on May 14th from 10:30am to 3:00pm. The event will be held in Chattanooga ballroom with a great menu selection.

We hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

A Day in the DPR Office


Walking into DPR for my mini-internship, I was a mix of nervous, anxious, and excited. I expected a formal and structured business environment, but I was SO wrong. The cozy and colorful office space summed up the very identity of DPR – vibrant and welcoming. I was immediately greeted by Andy Derryberry and promptly introduced to the whole team.

After meeting everyone, I was shown some of DPR’s past work and learned more about the company. DPR has a diverse client base, which showed me the many different facets of public relations and confirmed my desire to pursue a career in public relations.

After discussing DPR, I was thrown into office life by going on a field trip with Andy and Kelsey. We headed to Baylor School to observe one of their clients, Dr. Rob Headrick, displaying the Da Vinci Robotic Surgical technology for students.

Next, we headed back to the office, and I got to have a hands on experience there. They tasked me with researching material for some of their upcoming projects. Before I knew it, lunch crept up and I was treated to Champy’s with the team.

After a delicious lunch, I finished up my research, and then went on a second field trip to the Walnut Street Bridge. DPR does PR for the rebuilding of Walnut Street Bridge so we took pictures for their social media. My mini-internship at DPR surprised in me in the best way possible.

A day in the life at DPR was exciting and unpredictable, which I loved and it is the best part of Public Relations. The ability to immerse myself in the many different projects at DPR was unforgettable.

– Abby Ray, UTC student

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Chattanooga, you’ve had quite a year. You’ve been stretched to the limit to understand senseless death, (literally) surrounded by fires, and, trying to get your arms around how the ‘Best City Ever’ could possibly have a gang problem that is so hard to stop.

Chattanoogans are a unique breed of people. When fire fighters from Florida announced they’d be staying through the holiday, volunteers stepped forward to wash their clothes and provide food and water to keep them powered up to continue their fight.

Chattanoogans waited for hours to donate blood to those impacted by the Woodmore tragedy. They also opened their wallets to meet both present and future needs. Woodmore families are Chattanooga’s families and not one of them will be alone on the path on which they walk.

While Chattanoogans can’t understand how the gang situation has escalated to the point it has, one thing we know for certain: we support our law enforcement. In fact, random acts of kindness seem to be occurring regularly to thank them for what they do. A simple word of thanks or quietly picking up the tab for officers taking a break for a meal has now become commonplace…and it should.

While we’re talking about the kindness of our fellow citizens, Chattanoogans are also some of the smartest business people around. They meet challenges, size up the competition and yes, in some cases, they take a wrong turn; however, in these instances, there’s usually another Chattanoogan to provide guidance to get business back on track. It’s just what we do. We know that what benefits one of us, benefits all of us.

And no matter what side of the political aisle you were on in November, one thing is certain: Chattanooga is well positioned politically for future efforts that will make our economy one of the strongest in the U.S. Who would’ve ever thought that ORNL would have an office here and invest so much in our business innovation? And, thanks to having not one, but two members of the most powerful committee in Congress from Tennessee, the Chickamauga Lock is back on track and there’s lots of hope for what the future holds.

So Chattanooga, here’s to the word of the year to describe you: resilient. We wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons and are grateful for the opportunities and challenges we’ve been given this year. You see, we’re Chattanoogans too, which means we’re also pretty resilient.

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November 9 Can’t Get Here Soon Enough!

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We’re all tired. From the summer that wouldn’t end to a political season that has been equally hot, it just seems like we’re all worn out. Friendships have ended over this political cycle and respect for differing opinions has seemingly gone out the window.

So how about a little PR strategy to get you thru the rough patch of the next few days?

1.) Can’t stand the heat? Stay off of social media.

We’re seeing opinions ramped up to unprecedented levels with those expressing disagreement getting personally attacked. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just stay away from the crossfire.

2.) Vote early.

Hamilton County is seeing large numbers of early voters. While the line to vote may be long, it won’t be nearly as long as it will be on Election Day. Vote early and be done with it.

3.) Don’t believe any polls.

The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. This is where you can make a personal statement and a difference.

4.) Can’t vote for him? Can’t vote for her?

Make your vote impactful. As one voter recently said, “I couldn’t vote for either one of the candidates and thought about not voting at all. Then I thought about the military that serves us. I’m voting for the candidate who will best support our military.” In short, put a face with your vote.

5.) Remember, the world isn’t going to end on November 8.

Take some time to let the outcomes of all of the races sink in. The next President and Members of Congress will be sworn in on Friday, January 20. There will be plenty of jockeying around holiday tables and gatherings between now and then. Just roll with it.

6.) And speaking of the holidays, enjoy them.

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Labor Yay!

labor day

The history behind Labor Day suggests that someone, (debate still rages on as to whether it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter, or Matthew Maguire, a machinist), proposed a holiday to celebrate the hardworking individuals who worked long hours day after day.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, and the holiday was countrywide by 1885. In the beginning, the celebration of Labor Day surrounded street parades, followed by recreation festivals for workers and their families.

Today, we celebrate the holiday in all sorts of ways. Many think of Labor Day as a day for grilling out or boating, others, as a time to take a vacation. However you choose to celebrate the holiday though, the idea remains the same: it is important that we celebrate those who work hard day in and day out to change our cities for the better.

Over the last several years, the people of Chattanooga have been working hard to revitalize the city. A downtown area, now known as the “Innovation District”, has become a major destination for techy entrepreneurs to bring their startups. The Southside is a place for local artisans to show off their creations. Larger corporations like Plastic Omnium and Volkswagen have set up shop here, creating thousands of jobs.

The people of Chattanooga have put their blood, sweat and tears into their community, and the hard work has paid off. We can’t think of a better place to live and work.

Chattanooga wasn’t named “Best Town Ever” for no reason, after all.


Need help getting the word out about how your laborers are bettering Chattanooga? Give us a call today!

BRAND MANAGEMENT: The Tale of Three Guys with a Lot on the Line

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By now we’ve all heard the story of Ryan Lochte and the huge international incident he and three other swimmers caused in Rio. Lochte who is 32, wasn’t expected to make the next Olympics in four years. He needed to go out on top and rack up endorsements as he publicly toyed with the idea of being the oldest swimmer in the pool in Tokyo.

His actions and how his PR team handle this matter will tell the tale of how he will be remembered. Unfortunately, the approach taken so far has positioned Lochte as sorry for being caught, not so much for his actions. He confessed to ‘over-exaggerating’ the story (as opposed to under-exaggerating?).

Here’s what we’d counsel:

Get back in the pool and give back to others- – -fast, with kids, lots of kids (and photo ops). Show how sorry you are by becoming the poster child for giving to others. Encouraging future would-be Olympians is a nice start.

Offer up a heartfelt apology in an on-air interview that will be carried around the world and reflect a true spirit of remorse. Say the words, “I’m sorry. I screwed up.”

Whatever sanction or discipline the IOC hands down, take it and be thankful for it.

As far as endorsements go, you’re toast. Focus on what you can do to make a difference, not what you can’t. If you are lucky, you might be asked to come to Tokyo as a commentator, but that’s only if you establish a track record of lessons well-learned.

BOTTOM LINE: His future in his own hands, and that’s scary.

Just last week the Trump campaign made significant changes to their management team. Within a matter of hours, the candidate was making a speech that resonated with the public as he expressed remorse for his words and provided some absolutely quotable comments.

Trump said, “We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt- and we must all work together to lift each other up. Working. Building. Restoring together.” Sounds downright presidential, right?

The other significant step he took was in going to Louisiana. He worked with volunteers and provided food, clothing, toys and other items to those in need. Photo op? You bet. But it was proactive and showed Trump’s concern before Hillary or even President Obama did. He got there first, connected with those in need and challenged his opposition to do the same.

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump resonates with many and says the things they think…until he goes off the rails.

Here’s what we’d counsel:

Stay on message and listen to the really smart people who surround you and craft those messages for you.

Keep showing up in places like Louisiana, because wherever you go, the press follows and that means the people in Louisiana will stay on the collective radar screen. When you go, do good work. It may be seen by some as a photo op; however, to those on the ground, it will be authentic. They’ll remember this in November.

Keep sending your children out to speak on your behalf. A lot can be said about a father who raises amazing kids, and yours are smart, well-educated, and well-spoken. (But so is Chelsea.)

Doing all of the above can make the race a little more interesting come November; however, both sides have to prepare for the inevitable October surprise.

BOTTOM LINE: Up to the voters.

And then there’s Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated Olympian of all time.  Several years ago, Phelps came to Chattanooga about 30 days after the infamous ‘bong photo’. We were honored to spend some time with him while he was here. He was simply a very nice guy, who at the time, was struggling to manage his fame.

It got worse before it got better. He was arrested for DUI. He lost endorsements. Many said he was done. However, something pretty amazing happened as he checked into rehab. His long time friend former linebacker Ray Lewis gave Phelps a copy of the book “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. It changed his life as he emerged with a new commitment to healthy living and those he loved.

Phelps announced that his purpose was to come out of retirement and prove to the world (and himself) that he was still a great Olympian. His stellar performance both in and out of the pool changed his life. Endorsements? Check. Beautiful family? Check. Showing an amazingly humble attitude? Check.

Phelps announced his retirement; however, he also noted that he may not be done in the pool. His new purpose is to help stop the second leading cause of death in children under 14: drowning.

Here’s what we’d counsel:

Continue to be the poster child for the greatest turnaround ever. Reach out to others who could learn from your experience. Share the lessons you’ve learned and get ready for a very busy life. (Give Lochte a call, he could use a friend about now.)

Determine exactly what you want your future to become and surround yourself with the people who will support you in achieving it.

You are positioned to be the go-to guy for Tokyo in four years. Enjoy the status of ‘Senior Statesman’ for Olympians and kids around the world.

BOTTOM LINE: Life (and PR) lessons well learned.

How’s your brand fairing these days? Got some challenges? Give us a call. #ItsHandled

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5 Questions with Bruce Hartmann

DPR’s ‘5 Questions’ series highlights a client or friend of the firm each month on our blog. We are excited to share some pretty amazing people with you!

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For this edition of ‘5 Questions,’ we sat down with Bruce Hartmann, President of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

1.  You’re not only in the media, but you’re also a daily consumer of media. With this in mind, what’s the first section you turn to each day in the TFP? 

I read front page and main news first, followed by business, then sports. I also scan the digital editions of the Wall Street Journal and the Knoxville News Sentinel each day. And since I am a Vikings fan, I read the Minneapolis Star Tribune sports section.

2.  With an industry that is constantly changing, how does the Times Free Press reach new audiences while maintaining a traditional audience?

We are constantly seeking to expand our audience. We know our niche is local news, and we work very hard to bring that to our readers in whatever format appeals to them. We provide up to the minute information on digital and mobile platforms, and we provide the in-depth coverage our readers count on each morning in our print edition.

3.  If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?

If I was just working for the fun of it, I would probably be doing something outdoors like a ski instructor or some sort of lake job. But my natural abilities lie in relationship building. I truly enjoy meeting and working with people, so I would probably be in something that requires those skills.

4.  As someone who moved to Chattanooga from another city, what are the top three things you most enjoy about your new hometown?

I enjoy the vibrancy of downtown Chattanooga. Living downtown, we take advantage of all the events, restaurants, outdoor activities and of course the many offerings at the Tivoli.

We have met some really great people in Chattanooga, and appreciate the warm welcome everyone has given us.

And we love the location, with easy access to mountains and lakes as well as other cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and Knoxville. And I was pleasantly surprised by the airport, how many great flights there are at great prices, which helps when one of your children lives as far away as Chicago.

5.  In your position, you are asked to serve on a variety of boards as well as volunteer your time for various efforts.  At this time, is there an effort or organization that really excites you; and if so, what are they doing that is so meaningful?

I definitely have a heart for the Tivoli, just because I became so involved in the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville and saw the pride the city took in that. I feel the Tivoli can be the same or more for Chattanooga. But the organization that I appreciate the most is the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce because of the great work they are doing with business and economic development.

Bruce came to Chattanooga and the Times Free Press in 2014. Prior to being name CTFP’s president, Bruce was in Knoxville, where he was chief revenue officer and vice president of sales and marketing for the E.W. Scripps Co.’s publishing division, working with newspapers from California to Florida. Before that he spent more than 20 years at the Knoxville News Sentinel, beginning as advertising director and rising to the position of president and publisher.
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We’re Live in 5…4…3…2…1

Whether you agree or disagree with the opinions expressed in the interview between CNN’s Don Lemon and Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, there are several great lessons that can be helpful for on camera interviews.  We’d like to share a few of these with you.

1.  Command the space.  Interviewer Don Lemon’s over use of his hands shows him trying to reach out to Sheriff Clarke; trying to underscore a point; or, show the importance of his question.  In response, Sheriff Clarke commanded his space by sitting very straight and making direct eye contact to make his point.  In some instances, the sheriff used his eyes to glare at the reporter.  Throughout the interview, whenever Sheriff Clarke made his point, Lemon could be seen looking elsewhere, a sure sign that he was looking for something else to say.

2.  Stick with the message.  No matter how many different ways Lemon tried to ask his questions or sway him to another message, Sheriff Clarke stayed on message throughout the interview.  He remained calm, yet very assertive in his answers. He also used his message to turn the table and make Don Lemon the interviewee instead of the interviewer.

3.  Patronizing an interviewee never works.  After seeing that he couldn’t change his interviewee’s message, Lemon tried to patronize his subject which only made him look bad.

4.  Prepare for the interview.   CNN knew the opinions of Sheriff Clarke before he was brought on camera.  Don Lemon would have had a far better interview had he prepared for it.  By knowing how the subject of an interview reacts and interacts, the interviewer would have had a far better interaction.

There are several other lessons to be learned from this interview.  Want to know more?

Give us a call.  Derryberry Media Training will have you prepared for your close-up!

July 16: One Year Later


Mural credit: Kevin Bate

Every Chattanoogan can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news about the active shooter on July 16. It wasn’t until later we would tragically learn about the deaths of the five soldiers.

The shock rippled citywide. Within mere hours, many came to honor the memory of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith. The beloved sons of Chattanooga. The Fallen Five. Their lives and their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

In the midst of a senseless tragedy, the way our community pulled together to support one another and most importantly, the five families was a thing of beauty. Citizens lined the streets for the funeral processions, memorials were built, flowers were lain, donations were made, foundations were started; the response was immense. You can’t drive around town without seeing Nooga Strong on everything from billboards to bumper stickers, business walls to t-shirts.

During this time of reflection, we can’t help but look at how it relates to today. Tensions are rising and there is senseless, needless violence not just in our hometown, not just across our country, but all over our world. It’s becoming so routine, we’re growing desensitized.

It is hope-inducing, promising even, to look back on a time when we were so hurt, so outraged, that we refused to succumb. We rose up together, Nooga Strong. We united to make our city more of a community. One year ago, we learned we are capable of unification. Let’s remember to keep at it.

Let’s continue to honor our Fallen Five by trying a little harder every day to set aside our differences and come together. Let’s speak messages of love rather than hate, cooperation rather than dissension. Let’s make our home, our community, and our country better. Let’s do it to honor the lives lost.

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