NEW MARKET — With its eye on increasing the number of visitors to town while also growing its economy and exposure within the Valley, the town of New Market recently hired an events and marketing director.
Brittany Clem, 27, took on the part-time role March 19. Clem, the first person to work for the town in this capacity, said she hopes the job will develop into a full-time position.
Town Manager Evan Vass said staff didn’t have the time necessary to spend on promoting local events, so officials created the new position. He pointed out that nearby Valley localities, including Harrisonburg, Luray, Woodstock and Winchester, have brought on staff in some capacity to focus on this type of activity.
“I see lots of surrounding communities creating more activities for people within the towns, and I see more visitors going to those towns because of those activities,” Clem said.
She added that by holding new events in New Market, she hopes to improve the town’s quality of life, enhance the historical character and attract more visitors.
The budget of $21,000 for her position is funded through a 1 percent increase in the local hotel tax. Clem will receive a wage of $16.50 per hour, working about 20 hours a week.
The remaining money in the budget covers her training and startup money for events, Vass said.
“We don’t have plans immediately, but certainly it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the position could become full time,” he said. “I think it’s largely depending upon what we can do with this initial effort in terms of Brittany’s time and energy and what kinds of events and marketing she comes up with.”
Clem grew up in Shenandoah County, and she lived part of her life in New Market. She graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Quicksburg in 2005 and then graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg in 2013 with a kinesiology degree with a concentration on sports management/marketing and a minor in business.
She also works at Jack Brown’s, a restaurant in downtown Harrisonburg that has exposed her to the planning for the annual Rocktown Beer and Music Festival. Clem said she could use her work experience, for example, to help make plans if New Market were to host music in the park event.
She would like to enhance New Market’s farmers market by publicizing it and possibly changing the date and hours when it is held.
Upcoming events include a complimentary pancake breakfast to show gratitude to volunteers on April 5 and the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Market re-enactment on May 16 to May 18.
Clem, who now lives outside New Market, is happy to be involved in marketing work, and getting this kind of job was “the icing on the cake” for her.
“I was excited to see that there was this opening in New Market, so I
… could stay in the area and do the job that I love, instead of having to move away and one day come back,” she said.
Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org