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Travel & CLEVELAND Tourism

BY LYNNE THOMPSON

Scripting Success CLEVELAND’S BRANDING STRATEGY IS RINGING UP GROWTH

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he most recent numbers posted by the U.S. Travel Association provide a pretty picture postcard of Greater Cleveland travel and tourism. David Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit convention-and-visitors bureau Destination Cleveland, confirms that the area attracted 18.5 million leisure- and business-travel visits in 2017, a 2.3 percent increase over those in 2016. That figure exceeds hikes of 2 percent in visits to Ohio and 1.9 percent in domestic U.S. travel tallied for the same period. “That was the eighth straight year that, on a percentage basis, the growth in the number of visits grew higher than the state or national average,” he reports. “It’s pretty exciting because it shows that travel and tourism is a very significant growth industry [in northeast Ohio] by that measure and by other measures.” A survey conducted by Tourism Economics shows that tourism accounted for $8.8 billion in regional economic impact. Gilbert attributes the increase to the marketing of a brand developed seven years ago, one that he says physically manifests itself in the half-dozen script “Cleveland” signs installed in photo-worthy locations around the city. He describes the brand as “sophisticated grit—world-class experiences without world-class ego” and the feeling evoked by the marketing of those experi18

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ences around the city’s name. Cleveland is employing a number Cleveland, he adds, has hosted of strategies. A “Visit Me in CLE” a number of high-profile events campaign is tapping into locals’ such as the Republican National increasing passion for their comConvention and NBA Finals, sucmunity by encouraging them to cesses that have helped attract invite friends and family to visit. other big draws such as the 2019 The campaign, which launched MLB All-Star Game, the 2022 NBA David Gilbert last August, was at press time All-Star Game and 2024 NCAA slated to culminate in June with Women’s Final Four. a “Visit Me in CLE” weekend of activities But he stresses that Cleveland “cannot and attractions for residents and their outtake [its] foot off the gas,” particularly in of-town guests. highly competitive regional drive markets. “Visiting friends and family is the No. 1 reaHe cites the continuing challenge of market- son that people visit … most cities in America ing to the much-desired demographic of mil- if [they’re] not a Vegas or Orlando or sort of lennials in an age of highly targeted media. a peer tourist destination,” Gilbert notes. The age group is more open to exploring new Workshops also are being conducted to vacation destinations than older travelers foster local entrepreneurs’ and businesses’ who tend to return to the same place year creation of the “authentic experiences” milafter year. And millennials are also less lennials crave. Those can include offerings likely to harbor Rust Belt-era perceptions. such as the existing opportunity to spend a “Burning River, to them, is a beer, not a night in the house used to film the holiday joke about Cleveland,” Gilbert quips, then classic A Christmas Story. Perhaps most becomes more serious. “We are establishing notable, however, is the bureau’s developing a perception with them when [they] may not plan to expand its mission by helping local have one versus changing a perception as businesses and organizations attract and an audience generally gets older,” he says. retain people as well as forge longer-term reThe best way to establish a favorable lationships with the travelers making those perception or change an unfavorable 18.5 million visits a year. Gilbert notes that one, Gilbert says, is to get travelers to visit the effort is essential in a city still fighting Cleveland. To reach its goal of attracting 20 an unfavorable image, albeit an outdated, million annual visits by 2020, Destination inaccurate one. n


Travel & AKRON Tourism

Father’s Day at Stan Hywet Hall

ANNUAL CAR SHOW TELLS DISTINCT CHAPTER IN GREATER AKRON’S HISTORY BY JILL SELL

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he 20 millionth Ford, a 1931 Ford Model A, rolled off the assembly line at Dearborn, Michigan, in 1931. Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, were on hand for the ceremony. The Slant Window Town Sedan wound its way across America on a two-year goodwill tour. The ’30s were tough times for Americans in the Great Depression. But the manufacture of Fords and other vehicles with great styling was a source of pride for a tired country. While the 20 millionth Model A won’t be in attendance, you can see other beautiful vehicles from the early ’30s at the Inner Circle of the upcoming 62nd annual Classic, Antique and Collector’s Car Show in Akron, presented with the Ohio Region Classic Car Club of America. The annual Father’s Day Show is one The annual Father’s Day Car Show at Stan Hywet draws in visitors from across the state. of two major vehicle shows held at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens this Gregg Mervis tional Park, an expanded Akron At this year’s Father’s Day Show, ten circle year. The second is the seventh Art Museum, Blossom Music cars are featured, including Fords, Packannual Molto Bella Auto Show in September. Center, Akron Civic Theatre, EJ Thomas ards, Lincolns and Buicks. An additional The Father’s Day Car Show generates Hall, and Lock3/Lock4 among numerous 450 vehicles dating from 1915 to 1994, will $70,000 in economic impact for Stan Hy- others. Sports fans can cheer on the Akron be parked Sunday, June 16, on the beautiful wet alone. But the event’s financial and RubberDucks at Canal Park or catch the grounds of the historic country estate in educational arms reach much farther than Akron Zips’ sports teams as well. Akron. The 70-acre property is the former the estate’s decorative entrance gates, says But for many families in Ohio, Father’s home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Gregg Mervis, president and CEO, Akron/ Day at Stan Hywet is a tradition. According co-founder F. A. Seibring and his family. Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau. He to President and Executive Director Sean “This show is for authentic, non-modified points to the car show at Stan Hywet as the Joyce, in recent years about 8,000 people cars. No hot rods,” says Dave Henrichs, Inner kind of event that “allows us to tell distinct attend the show, making it the single day Circle committee chairman and owner of chapters of the Greater Akron history. largest attended event each year for the Heinrichs Vintage Car Shop in Columbia Sta“Equally important, events like this estate. (In 2018 Stan Hywet welcomed a tion. “I grew up in the hobby. My father started contribute to our thriving local hospital- record total of 137,000 guests.) Joyce said going to Stan Hywet in 1974 with his 1917 ity economy when visitors spend money more young people and children are also Winton. Car owners really like going there.” on dining, entertainment, shopping and attending the car show in recent years, Stan Hy wet is also presenting t he overnight accommodations,” says Mervis. taking advantage of the family-friendly seventh annual Molto Bella Auto Show, According to June 2018 Tourism Econom- activities Stan Hywet now offers, like the September 15. The invitational show, in ics, Summit County’s hospitality industry’s pedal car racetrack and the Playgarden. partnership with The Summit County direct visitor expenditures totaled $1.59 “To me, the highlight of the event is the Kidney Foundation, showcases more than billion, including Stan Hywet’s impact. But parade of cars coming in,” says Joyce. “Our 400 cars. Exotic sports cars, rare classics Stan Hywet is just one of many attractions neighbors put their chairs along Portage and custom cars are spotlighted. Both the Greater Akron Area offers, including: Path and watch the cars come in early events shows feature entertainment and Hale Farm & Village, Cuyahoga Valley Na- morning. It’s pretty cool.” tours of the Manor House and grounds. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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Travel & COLUMBUS Tourism

Capital Achievements COLUMBUS GARNERS NATIONAL ACCOLADES FOR ITS EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS

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ake no mistake, 2019 is a banner year for travel and tourism in our State’s capital. But you don’t have to take the word of the staff from Experience Columbus, the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region. The New York Times selected Columbus among its “Top 52 Places to Go in 2019,” just after Houston, but before Plodiv, Bulgaria. Last year, Food & Wine recognized the city as one of the best culinary destinations in the U.S., lamenting the fact that a “Midwestern City” was pulling culinary talent away from the East and West coasts. Architectural Digest called the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum “one of the most important buildings to

BY TERRY TROY

be completed this year” when it Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and DSW opened in October 2018. (Designer Brands, Inc.) among Travel and tourism in the others, Columbus has become a Greater Columbus area provides destination for fashion designers $7 billion in direct spending, which and smaller boutique fashion supports 78,000 jobs, or one in 12 retailers as well—putting its jobs in all of Franklin County. Acshopping on a par with much cording to Experience Columbus, Brian Ross larger cities on the East and West the city and surrounding area coasts. Its central location makes hosts 41 million visitors annually. it a natural focal point for business meetings To be certain, Columbus doesn’t need and expositions, seminars, government and too much help when it comes to business as collegiate and high school sports. well as travel and tourism. With its revitalBut when you think about Columbus, ized and booming downtown, it’s already The Ohio State University Buckeyes come one of our nation’s fastest growing cities. immediately to mind—whether it is football As the headquarters for big box fashions or basketball season. Now you can add the retailers for retailers like Abercrombie & National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue

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Jackets to the mix, as well as Minor League Baseball’s Columbus Clippers in summer. “Ohio State does a wonderful job of bringing visitors to our city and it’s not just the football and basketball teams,” says Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus. “Without Ohio State, we wouldn’t have the NCAA Women’s Final Four, or other collegiate events like swimming or track. “But our Greater Columbus Sports Commission also plays a very big role in our success because they bring in sports like fencing, volleyball and other amateur sporting events that are very well attended, too,” Ross adds. “Then you start to look at Ohio high school sporting events and all the state championships and finals that are held here in Columbus each year.” But our capital’s crowning achievement is the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, officially designated by Congress. Construction of the 55,000-square-foot facility began in 2012 and cost $82 million. The idea was a dream of many, including

the late U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn from Cambridge, Ohio. “From a travel and tourism standpoint, we are very excited and tremendously optimistic about the museum’s overall impact on the community,” says Ross. “It should bring people in, as well as extend some overnight stays to people who want to visit.” But there’s a little more to it than simply economic High school athletics and championships contribute heavily to the city’s travel and tourism industry. impact, Ross is quick to add. “It’s the only museum and memorial of its kind in the nation,” he says. who may have a son or daughter who did “It is dedicated to the individual stories of not come back. the men and women. It’s about what hap“This museum is about the people who pened to them during their enlistment or made sacrifices to keep us free. And in service, or when they got out of the Army, some cases, the ultimate sacrifice. So it is a Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, very emotional and rewarding experience or the ultimate impact on their families, for all who visit.” n

AN INDY SUMMER TRADITION

27TH ANNUAL

INDIAN MARKET & FESTIVAL JUNE 22 & 23

One of the Midwest’s most unique and memorable cultural experiences is a short drive away. Experience Native cultures and shop for exquisite art from more than 100 Native artists. Enjoy performances, food, family activities and more at the Eiteljorg Museum, an Indianapolis treasure. Adult discount tickets at Eiteljorg.org (17 and under free June 22 and 23) SPONSORED BY:

#EJIndianMarket

ENTERTAINMENT STAGE SPONSORED BY:

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY:

Christel DeHaan Family Foundation

The Mrs. Robert S. Eccles Fund

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Travel & CINCINNATI Tourism

Always Something New CINCINNATI’S MANY ATTRACTIONS MAKE EACH VISIT DIFFERENT

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hether it’s eating Cincinnati-style chili during a Reds game or exploring the former brewery lager tunnels in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, there are some experiences and traditions that are absolutely unique to the Greater Cincinnati area. Visitors from all over the country flock to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to see Fiona the hippo. Thousands more attend the Cincinnati Music Fes-

tival, the largest urban music festival in the country and held this year July 25 through July 27. Hundreds of thousands more hit the 16 roller coasters at nearby King’s Island Amusement Park. Not to mention the hundreds of events and attractions that can make each experience new and unique, no matter how many times you visit. When you add it all up, it amounts to more than 26 million people visiting the

BY TERRY TROY

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OHIO FARMING FEELING THE PRESSURE

COLUMBUS’ BIG LOTS HAS BIG PLANS


Greater Cincinnati area each year—folks throughout its urban core and beyond. who collectively spend more than $5.3 bil- This progress is not by happenstance, it’s lion, according to the most recent studies the result of a committed tourism and from the Cincinnati USA Convention & hospitality industry whose success impacts Visitors Bureau. the entire region. “ “Tourism is a key economic The Greater Cincinnati’s local driver in Cincinnati and has a hospitality community undersignificant impact on our local stands the importance of visitors businesses and our commuand embraces the idea that every nity’s quality of life,” says Julie interaction matters—whether Calvert, president and CEO of it’s at a hotel, restaurant, local the Cincinnati USA Convention attraction or just walking down & Visitors Bureau. “As the Cin- Julie Calvert the road, notes Calvert. cinnati region welcomes more “Toget her, we’re creat ing visitors, whether for leisure, business or positive experiences for our visitors so conventions, we are injecting new money that they’ll feel compelled to visit again into our economy, which builds up the and be ambassadors for our region,” she community’s general fund. says. “Our team is incredibly passionate “From those funds, we’re seeing new lo- and dedicated to promoting Cincinnati as cal developments, increased and enhanced a destination to host meetings, conventions public services and greater opportuni- and events. ” ties to continue moving our destination The biggest celebration this year is also forward,” adds Calvert. “Cincinnati is a celebration of our national pastime. experiencing an incredible revitalization This year marks the 150th anniversary of

the Cincinnati Reds, the country’s first professional baseball team. “Our rich baseball heritage is being honored with throwback uniforms throughout the season, special tours and an open house at Great American Ball Park, a total renovation to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and much more,” says Calvert. This year also marks the inaugural Major League Soccer season for FC Cincinnati. Plans to build the team’s stadium in the city’s west end neighborhood are in the final stage of design. “The positive economic impact will be seen through the creation of jobs and increased traffic for businesses like bars, restaurants and shops in the area,” says Calvert. “We’re also looking forward to welcoming visitors from other teams to the Queen City. The meteoric rise and success of this young team is so representative of the Cincinnati spirit and hometown pride that we feel here.” n

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Travel & LAKE ERIE SHORES + ISLANDS Tourism

Tying the Knot ERIE AND OTTAWA COUNTIES FORMALIZE THEIR PARTNERSHIP BY TERRY TROY Larry Fletcher, president of Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

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hen it comes to the travel and tourism industries, Erie and Ottawa Counties are kind of like a couple that was engaged for years before getting married. In this case, almost a decade and a half. Talk about the nuptials coming as no surprise. For the first time in their 14-year history, employees of the Erie County Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau are officially working for one organization. At the beginning of this year, staff at the two visitor’s bureaus all became employees of a new 501(c)(6) called Lake Erie Shores & Islands, with a newly formed board as the employer. “What we are doing with the new organization is to officially formalize the partnership,” says Larry Fletcher, president of Lake Erie Shores & Islands. “We felt this was a step that could solidify our relationship moving into the future.” Prior to the agreement, two separate county convention and visitor’s bureaus had been operating under a marketing agreement to promote the area cooperatively as the Lake Erie Shores and Islands, says Fletcher. Under the new partnership, the staff of the previous two organizations is now employed by one, much more efficient, entity. “We now have one policy manual, one health care plan and one plan for all of our 24

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operations,” says Fletcher. “We still have two welcome centers, and will continue to have two separate county visitor organizations because of how the bureaus are funded through the state. Each county visitor’s bureau also has its own board and agreement with the respective county commissioners. But the majority of funds coming in are now directed to the new organization.” Which will allow commissioners from both counties to look at the big picture and focus on major issues that impact the entire region, says Fletcher. As you might guess, the travel and tourism industries are a big economic driver for both counties. Tourist attractions in the area are too numerous to list, but include major attractions such as Cedar Point, Putin-Bay and Kelleys Island—not to mention boating, sailing and fishing. According to the most recent study conducted by Tourism Economics, one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, visitors helped generate $2.12 billion in tourism sales in the area in 2017, an increase of nearly 8 percent from a 2015 study. In addition, one-third of the total tourism sales in Northwest Ohio ($6.5 billion in 22 counties) are generated in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region’s two counties, Erie and Ottawa. It’s estimated that close to 11 million visitors traveled to

the Shores & Islands region in 2017. In this case, total tourism sales include direct, indirect, and induced spending and represent a number of different economic activities including transportation, recreation, retail, lodging, and food and beverage. The direct sales spending breakdown by sector for the area is approximately 31 percent retail, 20 percent recreation and entertainment, 19 percent food and beverage, 18 percent lodging, and 12 percent transportation, which doesn’t include gas costs, which are included in retail figures. In the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region, tourism also provides jobs. One in every four jobs in Erie County is tourism-related as well as one in every six jobs in Ottawa County. Almost 14,000 people are employed within the travel and tourism industry locally. Tourism wages were $357 million in 2017. “Our mission here is to grow the region’s tourism economy through collaborative promotion that increases visitation and makes Lake Erie Shores & Islands the ideal place to play, live and work,” says Fletcher. “These numbers help reinforce the fact that tourism is a major economic driver for our region.” In 2017, the tourism industry in the region also generated $255 million in taxes. More than $75 million in State of Ohio taxes were generated by Erie and Ottawa County tourism activities. n


CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY

We have five locations across Columbus. Contact us for more information! northcommunity.com | 614-261-3196

North Community Counseling Centers provides a continuum of mental health and addiction treatment services in central Ohio, and our staff are integral to the life-changing work we do. Their continued growth and making positive changes in our community are our top priorities.

North Community Counseling Centers (NCCC) is a nonprofit mental health agency that has been serving central Ohio for over 50 years. With five locations and home- and school-based programs, NCCC is able to reach individuals, couples, and families throughout Franklin County and help them with challenges related to mental health and addiction. In 2018, NCCC opened the Center for New Americans in Reynoldsburg and began a partnership with the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO) in order to expand our services to help those who are new to the country and struggling with acculturation issues as well as their mental health. In addition to counseling, NCCC offers medical and psychiatric care, case management services, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, medication-assisted treatment, and housing coordination. NCCC is also partnered with Worthington City Schools, Columbus City Schools, and Groveport-Madison Schools to provide mental health services to children within these districts. In addition, NCCC launched the Youth and Adolescent Outpatient Program in 2018 to serve children over the age of five and prevent hospitalization and residential placement. During the summer, NCCC also offers summer activities to our youth clients to provide mental health services in therapeutic and enjoyable ways. The summer program includes equine therapy, cheerleading, MMA/boxing, yoga, a community garden, mental health groups, and more. In 2019, NCCC acquired four properties that provide permanent supportive housing and mental health services to adults with psychiatric disabilities. This program, Next Generation Housing, aims to integrate these adults into the community and help them live as independently as possible. In the same year, NCCC began the Women’s Empowerment Program to prevent and address challenges that women in Columbus may face, including substance abuse, unplanned pregnancies,

domestic violence, and low self-esteem. This program serves women between the ages of 12 and 40 and focuses on providing the tangible tools and resources that women need to achieve independent and fulfilling lives. NCCC currently has five locations across Columbus and can serve most individuals regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. We believe recovery is possible, and we know what affects one of us affects us all. Most importantly, we treat our clients with compassion, care about our community, and celebrate our diversity. For more information, visit www.northcommunity.com.

Our Services and Programs: • Next Generation Housing • Bhutanese-Nepali Community Outreach • Refugee Community Outreach • School-Based Programming • Youth and Adolescent Outpatient Program • Women’s Empowerment Program • Substance Use Disorder Treatment • Individual, Couples, and Group Counseling • We believe that compassion is a verb. • We care about our community and celebrate diversity. • We know what affects one of us affects us all. • We believe recovery is possible.


Travel & MAHONING VALLEY Tourism

Unbuckling the Rust Belt ART, WINERIES AND OUTDOOR RECREATION THRIVE IN THE MAHONING VALLEY

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alk about breaking through old stereotypes. For many folks in our state, the mere mention of the Mahoning Valley area conjures up images of shuttered factories, padlocked gates and cracked concrete parking lots. But there’s a flower breaking through the cracks of that old pavement that’s blossoming into true economic growth. Travel and tourism have grown into an integral component of the economy of the Mahoning Valley, every bit as important as heavy manufacturing. Travel generated $565.4 million in direct sales in 2017, according to a 2018 report generated by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economic

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Company. (It’s the latest date for which economic impact figures are available.) That number jumps to $855.5 million when you add indirect sales into the mix. While heavy manufacturing has seen better days in terms of overall employment, the travel and tourism industries employed 9,531 people in 2017, with a total of $199.4 million in wages paid, making up 8.3 percent of total employment in the area. And word is quickly spreading beyond the boundaries of the Mahoning Valley. For people in the know, the area has become a destination with endless opportunities for recreation and leisure. The area is also seeing increased visits to its

BY TERRY TROY

many wineries, promoted through a wine trail on Youngstown Live. “Mahoning Valley has become a wine lover’s destination,” says Linda Macala, executive director of the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which runs the website Youngstown Live. “Each of our wineries offers a unique atmosphere and experience that any wine enthusiast will enjoy. Our ‘Wines of the Valley Wine Trail’ was created to increase awareness of the great wineries in our area.” Hitting a major milestone this year, the world renowned Butler Institute of American Art is celebrating its 100th anniversary, reaching its zenith in October


with a special celebratory gala. Known as “America’s Museum,” the museum’s extensive collection has more than 20,000 individual pieces in all media, covering four centuries of work. It features works by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent, to name a few. But there is also plenty to do for those who like the fresh air. And the weather is almost perfect in summer. “We are known for challenging, wellmaintained affordable golf courses,” says Macala. “We have everything from a Donald Ross-designed course at Mill Creek [Park] to a links-style course, the Links at Firestone Farms in our area. And local hotels offer Stay-and-Play Packages.” Outdoor recreation is certainly a draw as well, notes Macala, with Mill Creek MetroParks offering miles of trails and other recreational opportunities right through Youngstown and beyond. Within the parks, visitors will find Fellows Riverside Gardens, one of the finest public display gardens in

The Butler Institute celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

the country, along with Lanterman’s Mill & Covered Bridge, perhaps Mahoning Valley’s most historic landmark. The mill grinds wheat and corn as it did in the mid-1800s. Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course also features thoroughbred racing. More family-oriented entertainment can be enjoyed at OH WOW! The Rogers & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, as well as the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. The Covelli Centre and Stambaugh Auditorium bring national touring acts to

Youngstown. In addition, the brand new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre will open this month, an outdoor option for concerts and other special events. “It’s adjacent to Covelli Centre and connected via a walkway through the new Riverfront Park,” says Macala. With easy accessibility via major interstates to markets like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, affordable lodging, great food and wines, and world class attractions, is it any wonder travel and tourism are growing in the Mahoning Valley? n

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