Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Okemo Valley Chamber Jan. Newsletter

The Chamber wishes everyone a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. We look forward to continuing to promote and market your business and events in the coming year.

We would like to thank Sandy Gregg for her years of service to the Chamber and wish her the best in her early-retirement. Sandy & Peter have sold The Golden Stage Inn to Julie-Lynn & Michael Wood. Welcome Julie-Lynn & Michael to our Chamber community.

The Chamber would like to welcome Denise Cote of Chester to the team as the membership assistant. Denise will be working Wednesday and Fridays 9a-5pm to serve your membership needs.

Thank you to Bret & Nancy Rugg of the Fullerton Inn for hosting our Annual Meeting. The Inn was decorated beautifully for the season. Governor-elect Peter Shumlin was our speaker, along with Commissioner Bruce Hyde and Deputy Commissioner Steve Cook from the Department of Tourism and Marketing. Megan Smith was just appointed as the new Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing. She formerly owned The Vermont Inn in Mendon. I look forward to working with Megan.

A big Thank You to Donald Dill. Donald has been taking all the ribbon cutting pictures for the Chamber at a moments notice.

We're excited to bring you more value for your chamber membership. Our guidebook is now online at OkemoValleyGuide. It is also on our homepage (under Special Packages).

We're also the first region in the State to offer a FREE mobile app! Our guests can use their mobile devices to navigate around the Okemo Valley. This is a free download in the app store and our keyword is okemococ. We will be marketing this app on your 2011 window clings, posters around Towns, and 4 x 6 cards that will be given out in New York and Boston travel shows in February. The app mirrors our website and is another way for guests to find your business. If you are one of the first 100 businesses to participate (introductory rate of $100.00), you will have 3 pages for your business, (one being a special offer), you will receive your own username and password, and you will be able to push LIVE your event and/or special! Your business will be highlighted by a location pin on the GPS enabled map. Users will be able to see where they are at the moment in relation to pinned locations around them. Each Town will have their own page and we will link to Towns' websites.

Our Okemo Valley App will have 5 sections or tabs that run across the bottom of the App and are always accessible from any location within the App:
1. Home - Our Towns, Local Info, Local Events, Local History and Things To Do; by Land, Water, Snow.
2. Map-has a pop-up navigation tab which when single tapped, pops up and when double tapped, takes the user to that businesses App page.
3. Explore - Accommodations, Dining, Entertainment, Real Estate, Transportation, Religion/Non-Profit Organizations, Services, Shopping and Things To Do
4. Special Offers-listed by 8 categories above
5. More-About this App, Search, Photos, Share, Favorites/Bookmarks

Hurry and call the Chamber to be a part of this. We will launch by January 15th (if not sooner).

Be sure to watch footage from our Annual Meeting and the interview with Debra Boudreau, Area Business Advisor for the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) on lpctv.org this month.

As part of Ludlow's e-vermont grant, there will be another training program on January 26 about Social Media. It will be held at the Fletcher Memorial Library in Ludlow from 5:30-7pm. Please rsvp the Chamber if you would like to attend.

It's not too late to sign up for our Ireland trip May 1-10, 2011. You do not have to be a Chamber member to travel with us.

Route 100 Scenic and Recreational Byway project is in its final stage. We look forward to presenting our Corridor Management Plan to the Towns and Select Boards for final approval before presenting it in February to the Vermont Scenery Preservation Council for designation.

2011 Board of Directors

(back row l-r)
Brian Halligan, Okemo Mountain Resort/ Jessica Alberty, Hawk Inn & Mountain Resort/ Laura Williams, Calm Moments Spa Services/ Liz Crowley, CZ Construction Management/ Dan Cote, Inn Victoria/ Donald Dill, Images by Donald Dill/ Mark Verespy, The Killarney/ William Dakin, Dakin & Benelli PC

(front row l-r) Barbara LeMire, Peoples United Bank/ Tesha Buss, Good Commons and The Good Bus/ Michael Alon, DaVallia Art & Accents

Not shown in picture:
Sheldon Ghetler, Stone Hearth Inn & Tavern/ Laurie Marechaux, Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts/ Lynne Reed, Misty Valey Books/ Jim Szabo, The Vermont Country Store/and Jim Kubec, The Governor's Inn.

Chamber Office Staff

Marji Graf,
Executive Director

Danielle Lilliard,
Marketing Assistant

Denise Cote,
Membership Assistant
Chamber Mixers

Join us for our monthly Chamber Mixers on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. Bring a door prize if you can.

All Mixers are from 5:30-7:30pm


January 12- The Good Bus will be taking us to Mountain View Ranch in Danby. Bus leaves Chamber office promptly at 4:30pm. Only available for first 20 people who rsvp. Business people only.

February 9- The Message For The Week-Chester

March 9- Endless Creations Pottery Studio - Chester

April 13- Bonnie's Bundles Dolls - Chester

May 11- Outback Pizza - Ludlow

June 8- Canvasworks Floor Cloths - Weathersfield

July 13 - Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts - Ludlow

August 10- 3rd Annual Okemo Valley Open House at Green Mountain Banquet and Conference Center - Chester

September 14- The Village Green Gallery - Weston

October 12- Berkshire Bank - Ludlow

November 9- Jackson Gore Inn - Ludlow

December 14- Annual Meeting at Stone Hearth Inn & Tavern - Chester
Membership Committee News

The membership committee will meet again January 21st at 8:30am at Java Babas. Please attend if you would like to be on this committee.
Welcome New Members

American Home, LLC - Ludlow

Vermont Apple Pie Bake Shoppe - Proctorsville

Route 103 Auto Repair - Chester

White Glove Cleaning Service - Ludlow

Tuckernuck Shoals - Ludlow

Marketing Committee News

The marketing committee will meet again on January 11th at 3pm at the Cool Moose Cafe in Ludlow. Please attend if you would like to join this committee.

Now Available: We are rolling out an Okemo Valley app for mobile devices. We have negotiated an introductory first year rate of $100 for the first 100 participants. All participants after 100, will be billed at the regular yearly rate of $295. Each participant will have 3 screens with one being a coupon or special offer. Sign up quickly!!! Call Marji for details. This will be a free app for guests to locate services and businesses within our seven Okemo Valley towns.

Special Packages. Please submit your packages on the States website www.vermontvacation.com and then send us a link. We will add them to our Special package page. E-mail them to Danielle.

Upcoming Travel Shows: Still looking for packages on rack cards that we can market at these shows.

We are attending the 2011 Boston Globe Travel Show on February 11-13. We are sharing our booth with Stowe. If you would like to participate its $250 day plus lodging. You would be able to hand out your own brochures. Can't make it? Marji can take your brochures for $50.

We are also attending the 2011 New York Times Travel Show on February 25-27. We are sharing our booth with Stowe again. We have room for one more business. $250/day plus lodging.

We will be attending the 2011 AAA Annual Travel Expo in South Jersey on Saturday, April 2 & Sunday, April 3 from 10am-4pm at the Weaton Arts Center and Flyers Skate Zone in Millville and Voorhees, NJ. It's $250/day.

Web Stats:
June 2010 our first full month with new website:
5500 unique visitors.

Since July 2010 we've averaged over 10,000 unique visitors each month and 40,000 page visits per month.

June 184 visits per day
July 243 visits per day
Since August 300 visits per day and so far this month 68.65% new visitors!!!!

(comparison: another well established Chamber averages 345/day).


Our Chamber Legislative Day is February 17th at 8:30a. Breakfast in the Statehouse, sitting in on meetings and lunch with our legislators at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. SAVE THE DATE.

News from our Members:

Ron Theissen, CPA, CFP announces the expansion of his tax and financial planning services business in Chester, VT. Theissen opened his Chester office in 2004, specializing in financial consulting and comprehensive personal financial planning, working with individuals, closely held small businesses, partnerships, corporations, S-Corporations, LLC's and trusts and estates. "With the rapid and complex changes in both federal and Vermont tax laws - and to keep pace with expanded business - larger office space and increased staff is essential to help meet my clients' growing needs." We're delighted our new offices are now located on the main floor of the Henry Office Building in Chester, VT where I will continue to specialize in full service tax consulting, planning, tax return preparation, IRS representation and multi-state representation," says Theissen. 802-875-8100.

Winter Carnival Adopts Lovin' Ludlow Theme
Scheduled for February 10-13, 2011, the Lovin' Ludlow Winter Carnival will play off the Valentines Day theme.
"Our goal is to continue to expand the event and increase awareness via marketing such that we make Ludlow Winter Carnival a week-long event and Ludlow becomes a destination, thereby bringing additional visitors to our town," says event chair Liz Crowley. "Our goal is to develop a sustainable brand and carnival that becomes the defining event of Ludlow for the week of Valentines Day." Multiple events are planned for each day, as well as some continuous events such as the town-wide ice sculpture competition, a traffic-building village scavenger hunt and early-bird dinner specials. "Once again, we will be having a parade on Saturday night," Crowley adds, "so we encourage everybody to participate and join us at Dorsey Park for the bonfire and spectacular fireworks!" The carnival committee has identified several sponsorship opportunities, ranging from overall carnival sponsorship to individual event sponsorships. Sponsorships can be paid in cash or through in-kind services. There are two sponsorship levels. Red entitles your business logo on the t-shirt, business name in print promotions and if possible on the event banner. The Pink level entitles your business name on the t-shirt and in print.
Contact Liz Crowley at 228-2126 for details to host/sponsor an event, or for carnival sponsorship opportunities.
"The January 3 deadline is approaching," Crowley adds, "so please help support this event by contributing as a sponsor. Let's all work together to make this the best winter carnival ever!"

Business owners throughout the Okemo region should be receiving letters from LPCTV regarding its 2011 underwriting opportunities for local businesses. Gain exposure for your business on local TV & on the web while supporting your community television station. It's a low-cost alternative to spending your advertising dollars and you can feel good while doing it, as your tax-deductible contribution will go to support a valuable non profit community organization. In addition to broadcasting local programming on 2 local cable TV channels and on www.lpctv.org, LPCTV offers equipment, training, and support to individuals and organizations on a first-come, firs-serve non descriminatory basis. The organization, founded in 2001, offers many free and low-cost opportunities for educational, recreational, and entertainment purposes. 2011 will mark a big year for LPCTV, as it prepares for its major building project and move into its new home, in the former Ludlow Armory "tank barn". Business underwriting has been identified as an important revenue stream for LPCTV to develop, as the funds will help offset the increased expenses that will come along with the new facility. For 2011, the LPCTV Board of Directors has reduced the rates for underwriting, as a means to encourage more businesses to join. More partners means stronger relationships between the business community and LPCTV. Go to www.lpctv.org for more information or to enroll, or call Patrick at 228-8808.

Congratulations Stone Hearth Inn & Tavern for becoming a "certified green restaurant" as well as Inn.

Congratulations to Blue Sky Trading on their 15th Anniversary.

Congratulations to Outback Pizza on their one year anniversary.

Upcoming Events:

Please submit your events to us 2 weeks in advance.

Both Chester and Ludlow Winter Carnivals are listed in January/February 2011 issue of Yankee Magazine!


About Our Organization

Our Chamber provides the following member benefits:
*Health Insurance provided by Cigna,
*Dental Insurance provided by Delta Dental,
*Free listing on our website with web link,
*Free listing in our regional guidebook,
*Free placement of your business brochures in our welcome centers in Ludlow and Chester,
*Free monthly chamber mixers,
*Free educational programs,
*Member to member discounts,
*Co-op advertising,
*Marketing and Promotion
*Events publicized,
*And much, much more!!!

Our Vision Statement:
The Okemo Valley region, consisting of the Towns of Andover, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Mount Holly, Plymouth and Weston, is recognized as a four-season sustainable Vermont destination to be enjoyed by all.

The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is recognized as an organization providing leadership, support and services vital to the health and future growth of the member businesses in the communities that we serve.

Chamber members are ambassadors for the Okemo Valley region, promoting the area as a vibrant place to live and to visit.

Our Mission Statement:
The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization. It is the voice of its members and the business communities in the Towns of Andover, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Mount Holly, Plymouth and Weston, Vermont. It provides advocacy, support and unified regional marketing to promote and enhance our regional businesses and four-season economy

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