The most common question visitors ask is “what is there to do here?” When I work in a community during an embedded experience I help them find better ways to answer this question. In Avon, MN I asked them what they liked about their community. The majority of the answers were pretty generic, something like this:
- The location is close to a major highway and a larger town
- The lakes and the resources that are available
- Trails system is good
- Great schools for our kids
- The small town feel and family friendly environment we have
- Our voters invest in the district
- There are many creative people in the community
- We have community events like Spunktacular
Those things are really nice. In a head nodding kind of way nice. They don’t compel me to take a vacation there. Here’s how I encouraged them to start working on their answer to ‘what is there to do here’:
- Lake Wobegon Trail
- 63 miles long, paved the entire way, open to walking, rollerblading, biking, snowmobiles, this trail is a year-round attraction. Minnesota’s storyteller, Garrison Keillor, broadcasted from the fictional Lake Wobegon and there are tourists itching to find more about you!
- Avon Hills
- 80 square miles including your town, this natural resource has rare plants and animals, wood ducks breed here, and is a loud call to bird watchers and hikers. The DNR and Land Trust are working on creating a customized land management plan as well.
- Three lakes in town
- Upper, middle and lower Spunk give fish anglers plenty to brag about. There’s plenty of access and a public beach right next to two popular restaurants.
- 5 Star School System
- Every parents dream is getting their children a good education. You have that ability in your town.
- Close to the cities, but not the cities
- St. Cloud and St. Joseph are 10 minutes away. Minneapolis and St. Paul (called the cities) are just an hour away. Access to I 94 makes it easy for travel, to get to work if you live in the cities, and to allow visitors easy access to your town.
It’s a start, be more specific. Talk about what makes you different. Then expand on it. Could you use this information somewhere else? Of course, in your marketing of the community this can be used. Everyone can use it! Share these things, build upon them, connect them to your business. This is all a part of your story.