Explore Naples NY Inititatives
Branding the seasons in Naples
Seasonal Branding for Year Round Tourism: Another initiative we are doing is to brand our seasons to attract visitors year round. For the fall, we called the September/October months “Naples Valley Harvest Daze”. Anything and everything that happens in Naples can be promoted as a party of harvest Daze. Then comes winter and “the big slow down”. It can be tough during the winter months in Naples, and in the past, it’s been hard to promote traveling to Naples just for a good meal. But one thing that the NAEDC realized is that Naples is known for its great outdoors, and it isn’t promoted anywhere. Our trails, our area parks, our cross country skiing are an outdoor mecca, and we should be inviting visitors to explore Naples outdoor treasures to complement our restaurants and shopping. Naples is like a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. But instead of wonderland, the NAEDC is inviting visitors to our Winter Wanderland. Yes, “wanderland”, where you can make a day or a weekend of hiking, tastings, shopping and eating! So, our initial effort is to compile a handful of village hikes that range from a half mile to almost 6 miles. And we’ll build on it gradually over coming months to include many other trails so that Naples can be a hiking/cross country skiing hub that will also support our businesses. The NAEDC will also brand spring and summer in the upcoming months to use in social media, print ads and possibly radio.
Promoting Naples’ as an Outdoor Mecca
The Naples area is rich with many, many hiking trails of all lengths and skill levels. Explore Naples NY wanted to share the diversity of trails available, as well as to make access to the trails easier, so we developed three hiking brochures featuring 17 different trails: Naples Village Trail Map, Naples Village Historic Trail Map, and Naples Trails Map. There are many other trails, these are just a sampling.
Fall Pop-Up Program
Spawning New Businesses in Naples – The first initiative was to conduct, what we called, an experiment. We asked the question, what if there are businesses, or potential businesses, in the hills that would like to try having a business in the Village? We put out a survey on Facebook in multiple communities and we garnered dozens of responses, but in the end, approximately 12 were realistic ventures. Next, we took an assessment of available spaces in Naples. There were quite a number of them, but in the end, only two could be used. Based on the character of the available spaces, we were able to accommodate four of the respondents from the survey. The Economic Coalition would pay a portion of the rent to make it affordable for the business to give it a try. The NAEDC also offered business coaches and business plans to those who wanted them. A long story short, we ended up with a pop-up shop in Divine Designs Boutique’s empty space, as well as a shop in Bristol Valley Theaters lobby on weekends for two months. Divine Designs had 3 of the survey respondents, along with a handful of local artists’ works. Each entity paid $50-$100 per month rent based on the size of their floor plan, and the NAEDC paid the balance of rent due to the landlord. We also paid a store clerk both days to be there from 11AM to 5PM. The Bristol Valley Theater hosted the Wayland Music Store in its lobby for $300/month rent, of which the NAEDC paid half. The owner of the store, Rick Contantino, shared that he always wanted to try a music store in Naples but signing a lease and paying rent was too risky if it didn’t work out. This is exactly the scenario that the NAEDC was looking for. In the end, the result was two additional shops in Naples that wouldn’t have been there for our two busiest months of the year. Furthermore, Rick was so successful in Naples on those weekends, that he moved his store to Naples! The Economic Development Coalition price tag for this whole program was about $2500. We will most likely try this pop-up experiment again in hopes of identifying more new business opportunities for business hopefuls.