by Kirby LindsayEach year in October, Fremont retailers, restaurants and service providers must make an important decision - to be (or not to be) included in the wildly popular Walking Guide to Fremont, for the coming year. Registration for the 2011 edition opened on October 10th, and will close on October 31st without fail.
Do It Now!
For the 105 businesses listed in the 2010 edition, acting on the decision to participate is easy. Nan Nordstrand produces the Walking Guide for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce as Cougar Mountain Productions, the company she owns with her husband John. Nordstrand explained that most businesses who choose to renew will keep their listings the same, and do not need to fill out a new application. They can check the accuracy of their listing from last year, on the website, and submit their renewal fee. “Rates are the same as last year,” she explained. A listing costs $160 for non-Chamber members, members pay $140, and a listing is included in the membership purchased by Chamber Premier members.
For business owners who wish to change their listing, and businesses that haven’t listed before, applications can be filled out on-line. The application includes contact information – name, address, fax, phone, e-mail, etc. – and a short paragraph (200 characters or less) that describes the business, service or mission. After that, applicants select the location of their business on the grid map, and what category their business belongs in.
For most people, this process takes only a few minutes. For those overwhelmed by the task, including those unfamiliar with English, those without ready access to the internet, or those who simply don’t have the time Nordstrand, and Jessica Vets, Executive Director for the Fremont Chamber, can help. “I absolutely will do that,” Nordstrand admitted, “if it is just a matter of how to word their paragraph,” she said, or helping with content, “if people need it.”
Do It Early!
After doing this several years, the best advice Nordstrand would like to give is, “do it now, do it early! We have so many people that wait until the last minute.” Space is limited, and the first to apply get in. Last year, with the economic downturn, Nordstrand admitted that they expected fewer applications – and got more. As to what turnout she expects this year, she stated, “I honestly don’t know.”
In early October, Nordstrand will deliver a reminder flyer, and copies of the Walking Guide, to most Fremont storefronts. Notices also go out electronically to a contact list of over a thousand businesses – for a publication with room for 100+ listings (105 in the 2010 Edition.)
“The day before the deadline, we’re short and scrambling,” each year, Nordstrand disclosed. On the eve of Halloween, they’ve started looking at photos and other fillers they could use in place of listings, until that flurry of last minute applications come in.
“The people we work with really like it,” Nordstrand admitted. They like the exposure, they like the publicity, and they like the people that come walking into their businesses, a Guide clutched in their hand. Since 2004, when Cougar Mountain first produced the Walking Guide – the 2005 Edition – Nordstrand has been pleased at reactions she’s encountered. Also, “we’ve had a tremendous response to the new layout,” introduced in the 2009 Edition and, laughing, Nordstrand admitted “if there are people that hate it, they haven’t told us!”
To find out more about the Walking Guide To Fremont, and how to participate – or get a copy – go to the Fremont Chamber website or apply at www.historyhouse.org/2011WGAp.htm. According to Fremont Chamber President Marko Tubic, and his entirely self-serving, purely anecdotal information, there exists a direct correlation between businesses that list in the Walking Guide and those that stay in business – so list yours today!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.