Since December 2014, the Hive Paonia has hosted “Hive Economy Dialogues” on different aspects of our local economy. Hundreds of people have attended to listen, comment and become inspired about the many great things happening in our valley. On April 1, 2015, this third Hive Economy Dialogue of 2015 focused on the impact of winemakers and local producers of other libations and how they affect our local economy.
This dialogue discussed opportunities to expand marketing for the North Fork Valley as a destination for wine, beer, cider and distilled spirits. The format was a “fishbowl” style facilitation allowing the Core Participants to express their strengths & challenges and paint a picture of the best destination business scenario. In the second tier, participants of the Destination Marketing Bootcamp offered suggestions. Finally, the entire group joined in brainstorming.
You can read the meeting notes below and watch the full dialogue here, filmed by Volunteer Videographer Pat Frank on 4/1/2015, 6-8pm at the Hive Paonia.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING
Core Participants: Mesa Winds Winery, Leroux Creek Vineyards, Jack Rabbit Hill/Peak Spirits, Stone Cottage Winery, Revolution Brewery, Myles Spirits, Big B’s Hard Cider, 5680 – Black Bridge Wine.
Destination Marketing Participants: Debbie Pennington, Art Wisehart, Mary George, Mike deDianous
Other businesses represented: Lodging & Food – A Simpler Time, the Bross Hotel, Fresh & Wyld, The Living Farm Café & Inn, Wisehart Springs B&B, Back Country Bistro. Events – Mt Harvest Fest. Economic Development – DCED, Paonia Chamber of Commerce
Most interesting & exciting about your business:
- Revolution: We bring people together and offer quality small batch products.
- Stone Cottage: We are still in business.
- Big B’s: We get free hard Cider
- Myles Spirits: Holy Terror Apple Jack
- Leroux Creek: Sharing the experience of the North Fork Valley
- 5680/Black Bridge: We take the winters off.
- Jack Rabbit Hill: QUALITY grapes, hops, & distillery
- Mesa Winds: Seeing the effect of a diversified system
If you could create the BEST destination business, what would it look like?
- Location “near” a big city
- Great media outreach
- Regular entertainment/events
- Great local food
- “Top of Mind.” People immediately think of the destination
- Lodging choices for everyone
- Strong downtown Main Street
- Personal connections strengthen the bond to customers
- There is a venue to tell the story of the region
What are our STRENGTHS?
- There’s lots to do here
- Some businesses market outside the valley and create an interest for visitors
- We have a reputation for quality (Food, drink, landscape, etc.)
- We are part of the Locavore – Farm to Table scene
- Exceptional landscape
What are our CHALLENGES?
- It’s difficult to show an itinerary
- Most find the North Fork Valley by accident
- Communication from state wine association is not specific for our area
- No central visitor’s center or “concierge” service
- Spotty Cell and Internet service
- Competition: Other producers, ski resorts
- Oil & Gas threats
DESTINATION MARKETING Suggestions
- MAKE SOME NOISE!
- Invite others from similar industries in the Region to visit and see what is here.
- More Regional press releases.
- Marketing needs a consolidated strategy and a website to represent the NFV.
- This is both an individual and a team effort.
- Create stories (vs. advertising). Target customers and pull on emotions.
- Encourage a better “downtown feel.” Business open more hours to meet customer needs.
- Need Regional/County information space that points to specific destinations.
WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS???
- The Paonia Chamber has a plan to produce videos about the NFV and individual towns.
- Need to expand on existing events. Once people are here & enjoying the Valley, they should learn about other opportunities to come back.
- Need more timely announcements about events including wine trails, entertainment venues.
- How about filling empty store fronts? Negotiate with owners to put something interesting in the windows.
- Cross-market web links. Support each other, chambers and events. Create a page that all websites can point to. Seth Schwartz will collate web links. Send him your logo & link at Seth@BigBs.com by April 15th
- Create a “North Fork Proud” type sticker/campaign
- Make use of social media messaging.
- Need 1-2 Full time positions to assist in marketing efforts. Paonia Chamber is hiring someone who can help with visitor information.
- Let a marketing entrepreneur create a new business to do the social networking, press releases, messaging and marketing planning that will contribute to the success of the beverage businesses and events.