Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A few thoughts on the Opera House

I know the discussion surrounding the April 7 ballot question about a 1/2 percent sales tax currently being used to renovate the library being continued and used to complete the remodel of the McPherson Opera House is a hot one right now in McPherson, but I'm going to give my two-cents anyway.
I went on a tour of the auditorium this morning and learned a few things. The bottom floor of the Opera House will have space for the McPherson Arts Council which will offer a wide variety of children's programs. I really like the idea of the Opera House housing something kid- and family-friendly. I was kind of on the fence until I heard this.
The auditorium recently had the second balcony reinstalled after being removed in 1925. We stood on stage and looked up at the balconies. It was very impressive to think what that must have been like when the Opera House first opened in 1889. I got goose bumps.
My concerns that the Opera House would be an elitist institution were laid to rest today. I see it as a community building more now instead of as a potential draw for visitors. It's still that, but now I can get on board and support the sales tax question wholeheartedly -- as CVB director and a taxpayer. I hope you'll support it too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

You have 3-minutes, now sell it!

One of the exercises we did at the recent We Kan! conference I attended was to make a sign promoting an event in our community. On the sign was the name of our town, the spokesman and the person who would promote the event. Fighting off the urge to go with the obvious idea of having General McPherson in front of the Opera House I opted for Miss Wickersham at the All Schools Day parade. We had 30 seconds to give our "commercial" to the rest of the group. Standing up in front of a crowd, even a friendly crowd like you find at We Kan!, was scarier than you think.
This week we are shooting a 3-minute promotional piece with KWCH for the Kansas Shopper program. This is new territory for me so I'm hoping it goes well. The spots will air in April and May on Channel 12. I'll post the video on Visit McPherson once I have it.
How do you summarize all that McPherson has to offer in a 3-minute segment? Of course, it's important to know who your audience is, but it's also important to think of who your audience could be. Is it families looking for a weekend getaway or retired folks curious about our history? Is it ladies' groups looking for a day of pampering and shopping or an organization looking for a central location to hold its annual meeting? Is it hunters, cyclists or hikers? Is it art enthusiasts or the many people that come into town for sporting events? Is it the person who's been to Mac many times but never made it over the overpass to see the heart of the town or maybe it's the lifelong resident who's become so used to his hometown he's forgotten about all the wonderful opportunities for recreation?
I hope to condense McPherson's many attractions into a fun segment with the host Amy Jo. If nothing else it will be a fun way to spend the day talking about my hometown of choice, McPherson.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Neighbor's cinnamon rolls and the almost famous Shelly

Platter-sized cinnamon rolls. Not plate-sized or as big as your hand, but platter-sized. Neighbor's Cafe owner Shelly Wiggin's cinnamon rolls were featured in a recent issue of Kansas magazine, but much to Shell's chagrin, the photo that ran with the story was not of her (or her rolls).

Check out the article below and a picture of an actual Neighbor's cinnamon roll.

Fresh from the Oven

Warm, moist and gooey cinnamon rolls slathered with creamy icing are decadent treats at any size. We found Kansas restaurants that create irresistible giant versions.

Cinnamon rolls are tempting whether the size of a saucer or a platter. However, it's the giant from-scratch kind that create fanatical followings for the restaurants that serve them. Here's a sampling of sources for rolls of immense proportions.

"Our cinnamon rolls are what we've become known for, and it was kind of a fluke; we never intended for them to be that big," says Shelly Wiggins, owner of Neighbors Cafe in McPherson.

Shelly and her husband, Cameron, purchased cafe more than a decade ago. With only one oven in the cafe dinner rolls were baking, and a batch of cinnamon rolls continued to rise, which led to their enormous size.

"Some people call them hubcaps or frisbee-size," Shelly says of the pecan-filled rolls toppped with coffee-flavored icing and dollops of butter. One cinnamon roll covers an entire platter and easily can feed four people. Although, once in a while someone eats the whole thing!

The long, narrow cafe, with seats at the counter and booths, allows Shelly to keep an eye on her customers (neighborscafe.com).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some thoughts on Go McPherson

I just got out of a Chamber meeting where I heard Gary Hess of Go McPherson Inc. talk about the group's efforts to attract potential employees to McPherson. I like what Gary has to say but, unfortunately for Gary, the recession has dealt his plan a blow by drying up the job market.
What Gary would like to do, if I can capsulize it, is start a landing page at gomcpherson.com that will show visitors what it's really like to live and work in McPherson, hire a community development director and develop ads and a video of McPherson.
When it comes right down to the basics, I think the CVB's goal and Go McPherson's are similar -- to attract people to our community. I will meet with Gary soon and hope we can work together on some projects. Specifically, I'd like to see how we could work together on a Web site presence that is less static and more interactive. There are other advertising possibilities we could partner on too.
Change and new ideas are not a bad thing. Adding 15-20 new employees and their families to the community would be a good thing.