goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Popularity Contests and the Consequences

I admit it. There have been times in the past when I looked at my ballot and realized I had NO idea about the candidate. I had not read anything about that person nor the one running opposite. How was I to choose?

How about you?

Do you just vote for a name just because it is familiar? It’s familiar because of massive advertising, perhaps. The issue of money in campaign marketing and how elections have changed significantly since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision comes up each cycle, but when money from outside the state is injected into local elections, the issue becomes of even greater concern.   Do we want people who live in another place in the world influencing our life in small rural towns?

Suppose you see some tv personality is running for office?  We have a number of politicians who achieved popular appeal because they were in your face daily or weekly or at the box office.  You are comfortable with them; after all, you invited them into your home on a regular basis as an entertainer. At what point do you begin to think that entertainment equals competency in other areas?  Can you even speak about that candidate’s stand on issues?

Some of these people have had a surprising ability to be thoughtful and careful in their representation of the people who elected them.  Unfortunately, most of the others just continue on their way without much effort at learning things that were outside their scope of experience.  We can easily name several of these in both political parties.  And you voted for them?  Because you saw them on tv? Really?

We have a new face on the local political scene. She is presenting herself to the public as a candidate for mayor and has been doing an amazing job marketing herself on social media with lots of posts, mainly supporting local restaurants and shops around town. She also started presenting the state’s daily infection report and very mixed messages about compliance with the governor’s mask-wearing order.   Her following is growing.  Comments are glowing, lauding her for being “fantastic”.  But there is no direction being given.  And no one says specifically what is so “fantastic” about her other than she volunteered to pick up trash, as many others do in Mac.

She has recently offered a survey with restricted choices to see what people’s attitudes are about “bullying”, possibly because she is beginning to feel “bullied”.  Most people will feel the survey is great, but the survey is poorly designed and does not offer a full range of responses nor permit any comments from anyone.

And no solutions offered  But that is not even the most important thing people need to recognize this coming campaign.

Between the pandemic and the civil rights demonstrations, many of us recognize that there are things that MUST be fixed, such as equal access to affordable health care as well as equal access to affordable housing. And yet, a whole segment of this city feels anyone who is needy is flawed, but NIMBY is just not going to be a viable option any longer.  (Even the current administration recognizes that as bankruptcies and foreclosures occur, the number of people who will become houseless will be rising over 45% next year.  Abd the current administration, being who is in charge, is doing nothing to prepare for that.)  This coming influx was not caused by anything any government official did either here in McMinnville, Yamhill County, nor the state of Oregon. We need leadership to help us come together to help our neighbors. 

In the coming months, we have a real choice, people. We can continue narrowing what is acceptable and end up with a community that has chosen to fail.

Or we can stop right now and agree there are times like now, in the midst of several crises, that we MUST pull together to survive.

What are we waiting for?  Your action is needed. Your vote counts.


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Marketing the Markets

When Graham and I researched where we wanted to live when he retired, McMinnville, Oregon stood out. Not only was it in the middle of Pinot Noir wine country, which appealed to Graham, but the growing season and small farm practices in the area would provide us healthy local food options, which appealed to me. Yamhill co farmland

With my background in urban planning, I also looked at how the city had evolved over time and what its economic health appeared to be now, following years of a stressed national recession.  I was pleased to see that a group of residents and business owners had recognized the need to do something in the 1980s, when the downtown business district was, like so many other towns across the country, losing business.

The McMinnville Downtown Association was formed and took a few steps that started to set the tone. First, they worked on getting the area designated a National Historic District.  Then, using available grants and private donations, they planted trees, added attractive lighting, made sure there was plenty of free parking,  provided benches, and installed mid-block cross walks, all helping to present the downtown area as accessible and attractive. McMinnville sculpture

Meanwhile, wineries got the great idea that having tasting rooms in a town center would help attract people who may not drive the back roads of the wine growing areas.  The chance that a tourist would chose the right road was small. Heading into a town like McMinnville increased the chances that tourists would visit the tasting rooms and purchase wines.r stuart

The McMinnville Downtown Association does a tremendous job marketing the town with its website, Facebook page, and a number of brochures.  There are a good number of festivals  and activities, like the monthly Art and Wine Walk that draw people into downtown.

There is more marketing from the Chamber of Commerce with its website, its Facebook page, and many brochures, pamphlets and newspaper inserts that share a lot of what businesses operate in McMinnville.  Additional marketing is handled by Grow Yamhill County, with its website and its Facebook Page sharing information about businesses throughout the county.

These websites have a lot in common:  great info about existing opportunities to enjoy coming to McMinnville and, unfortunately, a very slow or inactive presence in social media..

logog SMALLAnd that’s where CreationsByBG comes in. Having just spent the last two years marketing the markets for fresh local food in the  Huntington, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio tristate region and throughout the State of West Virginia, I have some good experience bringing the business to the public’s attention. Even more importantly, I can bring the public into the business to spend money.

Some shops and other businesses in McMinnville have blogs and Facebook pages, but few are active. Why? Well, time if the most frequent issue–when you are doing everything you need to do to run a business, taking 30 minutes a day to market is hard to do. Secondly, some people just feel they can not write; that it is just too difficult to put words to “paper”.

I can help. I can come visit your business, take lots of photos and listen to your story. I will ask lots of questions and then, I can write about you.better-blogger-557x362

If you have a blog, I can become your writer. If you have a Facebook page, I can add to the content there on a more regular basis.  If you don;t have a blog, we can easily establish one for your business which would provide a marketing tool for residents and visitors. The more they notice, the more business will enter into your shop.  We can set up your Facebook page that all blog entries will load automatically, spreading the news. We can also  add your content on to the MDA  Blog and Facebook page if you are a member, spreading the news to all their readers.

brokeSpending money to make money may be a truism , but it sounds like an oxymoron. How can you spend money when the cash flow on your business is strained?  Keep the costs low by using social media and hiring me to take care of its management.

Call me at 304-654-5634 or email me at CreationsByBG@gmail.com to set up a time when we can meet to explore how low cost marketing like this can boost how many people walk into your shop.