Shenandoah County Artisan Trail Seeking Businesses
Tourism Network Taking Applications
Posted: December 28, 2012
Applications are being accepted from businesses interested in joining the new Shenandoah County branch of the Artisan Trail tourism network.
Area businesses can apply on a rolling basis, but those that wish to be included in the print brochure should apply as soon as possible, said Doug French, a member of the Shenandoah County Artisan Trail committee and business owner.
The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors voted in June to join the network, a statewide program that works with local governments to promote local businesses and artists by bringing them together in a coordinated marketing campaign.
The Artisan Trail Network already has taken root in several Virginia cities and counties, with individual “trails” in such localities as Nelson, Albemarle and Augusta counties as well as the cities of Staunton, Waynesboro and Charlottesville.
The goal of the network, spearheaded by the Artisans Center of Virginia, is to create a comprehensive guide of locally operated restaurants, bed and breakfasts, markets and craft vendors that would normally be harder for tourists to track down.
French said the committee wants to get as many businesses on board as it can before the brochure goes to print in late March or early April.
Business owners may apply to the trail at the Artisans Center of Virginia website: www.artisanscenterofvirginia.org.
The process, according to French, is a simple one. To qualify, businesses must be locally owned and operated — no chain stores are eligible, and craftsmen must create or produce their wares themselves.
The trail committee has the final say on membership, and makes a collective decision after a visit to the premises.
“There are some requirements that can eliminate you,” said French. “You must be able to get to your site using a two-wheel-drive vehicle, and if you have a dog that is mean, [for instance,] we might eliminate you.”
French is also the only business owner signed up under the “lodging” category. He owns the Shenandoah River Lodge in Woodstock.
“I’ve always been for [businesses owned by] the individual,” he said. “I feel that if we can employ a lot more people at home doing what they want to do, they’ll be happier.”
The trail is still unnamed, but after a successful naming party in October, five options were selected as finalists. The Artisan Trail business owners will vote on a name next month.
Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org