Destination Osoyoos teams up with chamber on pilot project to promote local businesses

By on August 6, 2014
Gail Scott (left) and Alicia Osland show some of the local information available to tourists at the Destination Osoyoos office. They also have local merchandise, some of which is on the shelves behind them. (Richard McGuire photo)

Gail Scott (left) and Alicia Osland show some of the local information available to tourists at the Destination Osoyoos office. They also have local merchandise, some of which is on the shelves behind them. (Richard McGuire photo)

Destination Osoyoos (DO) has teamed up with the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) on a new pilot project to try and promote local businesses and the services they provide.

The project includes a new display that recently opened in the front entrance of the DO head office on Main Street next door to town hall.

As well, SOCC administrative assistant Alicia Osland will be working from the DO storefront office 30 hours per week over the next several months to meet with visitors and locals alike to inform them about local businesses and promote the community.

The name of the new pilot project is “Discover Osoyoos,” said Gail Scott, who accepted the position of managing director with DO almost three months ago.

The idea is to promote local businesses and the goods and services they offer, while also providing hands-on customer service to the many people who visit the DO office every week, said Scott. Scott said she wanted to make it very clear that Discover Osoyoos is not in direct competition with the services offered and provided at the B.C. Visitors Centre located on Hwy. 97 and Main Street.

Discover Osoyoos will feature a kiosk inside the DO front entrance that sells T-shirts and features pamphlets and promotional material for numerous local businesses, said Bonnie Dancey, the chief executive officer of the SOCC.

“The idea is to promote local businesses, while providing visitors with a little bit of information about Osoyoos,” she said. “We’ll also be showing and selling a few local products produced by local businesses. We’ll sell things like T-shirts, soaps, jewelry, that sort of thing,”

The pilot project will last until the end of this year at which time management with DO and the SOCC will determine if a permanent storefront operation should be set up at the DO office, said Dancey.

“We will be keeping stats to see how many people visit the office and how many items we sell from local businesses,” she said. “If we see a need for this to move from a pilot project to a permanent thing, then we’ll make decisions soon after the pilot wraps up.”

Town of Osoyoos council recently signed an agreement with DO’s board to not only become the town’s official marketing and promotion agency, but also its economic development arm, said Scott.

“This pilot project is in direct response to the expansion of DO’s role in being responsible for economic development,” she said. “One of the best ways we believe DO can reach out and support local businesses is to showcase their goods and services and help them increase sales and that’s what this project is all about.”

Because of the central location on Main Street, dozens of tourists visit the DO office since she started her new job and having Osland on hand to answer all of their questions is a big part of the partnership agreement between DO and the SOCC, said Scott.

“Alicia has lived in this community for many years and she knows what’s going on and what businesses offer what services and her expertise is going to be very helpful to all of the people who visit our office,” she said.

Osland will also be working every Saturday morning for the rest of the summer to answer questions and provide information to the hundreds of people who attend the Market on Main farmers market, said Scott.

The Discover Osoyoos office will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

 

 

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