Happy New Year! One of the best things about a new year is that it’s a fresh start, a chance to better yourself and your business and to grow in some way throughout the coming months. The other thing is that it gives you a chance to look over everything you have accomplished in the last year.
So, here we go. This is our look at 2018 in review!
We gained 68 new members this past year! These members included newly-opened businesses, such as Camino Real, Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grille & Cantina, Country Road Family Medicine and Acupuncture, Custom Touches by Christi, Compass Tea Room, Happy Mini Mart & Deli, The Valley Cork, CoxFedLaw, Hawksbill House Inn, SunRiver Designs, Escape 211, and Stanley Antique Mall & Indoor Flea Market. Long-standing businesses and organizations such as Uncle Buck’s, Mama’s Treasures, Zane’s Locksmith Shop, Steve’s Archery & Guns, Page County Girl Scouts, Alzheimer’s Association Central & Western Virginia Chapter, Luray Little League, and Masonite. Businesses from outside of the county, such at Copper Fox Distillery, CBM Mortgage, Massanutten Timeshares, and Rivercrest Farm and Event Center. Patrons including: Eric and Becky Smith, Vaunice Conway, Faris Hamarneh, Audra Beers, Nancy Krause, and Edward Dwyer. And so many more: Shenandoah Community Library, Lori’s Pic-A-Place Travel, Cabins at Deer Run, Mattie’s Soft Serve, Integrated Bodyworks, Quality Inn of Luray, First Street Apartments, Burger King, Signs R Us, Harmany DJs, Arctic Fox, Mavins, Apexnetwork Physical Therapy, Xpression Photography, Rudy’s Diner, Page Valley Getaways, A Desk 4 Me, HUBZone Staffing Solutions, Healing Oasis & Bella Donna Skincare, Younce Enterprises, Lydia J. Designs, Fedscale, Living Legacy, CUED-IN, Old Wagon Ridge, Green Mountain Landscaping and Trail Construction, Mayne Construction Services, Page County Public Forum, Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging, OPTAVIA - Certified Health Coach, Page Valley Arts Council, Burner’s Beef, The Appraisal Center, Arise of Page County, Shenandoah Mutual Fire Insurance, Hearing at Home, Grandstaff Insurance Agency, and Green Hill Cemetery Association.
We hosted 74 events over 52 weeks, meaning our staff had approximately 1.4 events each week, not including FAM tours, non-member ribbon-cuttings, appreciation events, and other forms of outreach. Our 74 events included: monthly Business After Hours, bi-monthly Business Networking Breakfasts, Women in Business, Young Professionals, LeadShare, member ribbon-cuttings and grand openings, and monthly radio shows. It also included our Job Fair and Non-Profit Expo, Wedding Forum, Cabin Forum, Annual Banquet, Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance, Movie Nights, Small Business Saturday, Small Business Week, Holiday Open House, Calendar Planning, and Elf on the Shelf campaign.
This year we also broke a record! Our Business After Hours events continue to grow in popularity and attendance. This year we had 757 members and guests sign in at these events, ensuring that we easily had between 800 and 1,000 attendees between all 12 events (since we know we always miss some people and some choose not to sign in when they arrive). This year, we had 130 registered attendees at the Valley Cork Business After Hours in October, which broke the previous record of 112. This was a close first place as the Mimslyn Inn’s December BAH with 121 registered attendees. It was truly a great year for our Business After Hours events with lots of new and exciting locations, we cannot wait to see what 2019 brings in terms of attendees, networking, and moments shared.
We hosted 16 ribbon-cuttings throughout the year with the help and support of the towns of Luray, Stanley, Shenandoah, and County of Page! These events didn’t include the non-member ribbon-cuttings hosted by our community partners. Meaning that over 2 dozen new, moved, and anniversary ribbon-cuttings were hosted between the three localities. This includes: Free Range Psychiatry, Downtown Studios Unlimited, Appalachian Outfitters, Camino Real, ALCOVA Mortgage, Compass Tea Room, the Healing Oasis, and The Valley Cork in Luray. Burger King, Emily’s Essential Massage, Signs R Us, Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grille and Cantina, Custom Touches by Christi, WigWam Village Playground’s Expansion Part I, and CoxFedLaw in Shenandoah. And, the Kibler Library’s Room for More Expansion in Stanley. We also participated in ribbon-cuttings for SoLace Studios Fine Handcrafts in Elkton and Brown Edwards & Company, L.L.P. in Harrisonburg.
The 5th Annual Blue Ridge Mountain Mudurance 5K Mud Run hosted approximately 300 runners. Thanks in major part due to our over 100 volunteer, countless photographers, and dozens of spectators cheering on our participants as they made their way through the course and conquered the challenge we set for them. 300 people took on 22 obstacles, 3.1 miles of varied terrain, 9 water/mud challenges, and each other to build a stronger team, make memories, prove to themselves they could, and, overall, just have fun! We expanded our categories this year to include winners for: Best Corporate Team, Police, Fire and Rescue Team, Overall Team, Youth Team, Youth Male (ages 8-12), Youth Female (ages 8-12), Adult Male (ages 13-18), Adult Female (ages 13-18), Adult Male (ages 19-35), Adult Female (ages 19-35), Adult Male (ages 36 and up), and Adult Female (ages 36 and up).
Additionally, 2018 saw continued support from the Page County Board of Supervisors for our marketing programs. The towns of Luray, Stanley, and Shenandoah also supported the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center monetarily and through their support of our 8th consecutive grant from Virginia Tourism Corporation. We also applied for and received a specialty grant from VTC highlighting the ways to Crush Friday in Luray and Page County. We utilized the funds to create a new radio commercial for our annual digital radio campaign and are in the process of creating short video clips highlighting the different things to do and see in Luray and Page County, including, canoeing on the Shenandoah River, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, shopping antiques and old-fashioned decor, and so much more. We’re looking forward to wrapping up and utilizing these new digital marketing tools in 2019 and cannot wait to share their with our members, community, and visitors.
Overall, it’s hard to believe that 2018 is already behind us and we are already halfway through the first month of 2019. It’s fun looking back on everything our staff, volunteers, businesses, and community accomplished in 2018. And, it’s even better to see it as a challenge to out-do, overperform, and get an even better turnout for 2019! Thanks for coming along with us!
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center