Marketing Ridgefield — to both outsiders and residents — is the mission of a group of community leaders and business owners spearheaded by local jeweler Wayne Addessi that has met several times since last fall.

The promotional group — still not officially branded — unanimously voted Tuesday, Jan. 30, to spend $7,250 to hire Sandy Hook-based marketing firm SandorMax. The money, which has been raised privately by Addessi, will go toward creating an investor package that will be used to raise more funds.

Addessi has raised $45,000 so far, and aims to reach $100,000 later this year. That sum will go toward building — and sustaining — a new tourism website that could be launched as soon as May.

“The first step of this process is hiring a professional organization, like SandorMax, that will help us get moving toward launching a website,” said Suzanne Brennan, who joined Addessi Jewelers last June to help with business development and community relations.

“This marketing initiative will be a benefit to both business owners and homeowners,” she added. “It’s not just about reaching outside our borders, it’s about inviting the community to get involved in the process.

“This is the first effort in town history to bring everyone together under the same umbrella … it’s about unifying.”

Addessi was scheduled to speak in front of the Board of Selectmen Wednesday night — too late for The Press’s print deadline this week — about forming a non-stock corporation.

“We want to put our money into the town’s Friends of Ridgefield fund, which is a 501(c)(3),” he told the group Tuesday. “This is about creating a liability barrier for our many stakeholders.”

SandorMax, which has created websites for town’s like Washington, Conn., was represented by Julia Nable and Zoltan Csillag at that meeting.

Nable estimated that the website design cost would be $22,500 with an additional $12,500 going toward several months’ worth of content — blog posts, newsletters, and social media campaigns.

After that initial $35,000 is spent, the group’s stakeholders would be responsible for ponying up about $3,000 a month to keep the content train running.

Allison Stockel, executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse, suggested negotiating that price and creating less expensive, in-house content to keep the new website updated.

The group, which includes Economic and Community Development Commission Chairman Arnold Light, agreed that negotiating that price tag was imperative before any additional money for SandorMax was approved.

“We need to raise more money because the main goal here is sustainability,” Addessi said. “We don’t want to launch a website and have it die. We want this thing to keep going.”

For more information about the unnamed marketing initiative, call Addessi at 203-438-6549 or email waddessi@addessi.net