Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tough Economy?

My dad was in town this past weekend, and we went out to dinner twice. Sunday night we went to Limoncello's in Goshen, and last night (Monday) we went into the city to Nanni's, a nice little italian restaurant on East 46th Street. I was amazed, in both instances, at how crowded these restaurants were. Remember, this was a Sunday night and a Monday night -- not traditionally big nights for dining out.

I spoke with one of the waiters at Limoncello's and he indicated that they are busy there every night. And, in fact, they have been busy every night I've been there. But, this was the first time I had been there since the economic downturn, and I have to say, I was really surprised. Especially since I've read that consumers are choosing less expensive, fast food restaurants over fine dining.

So, what is it that these restaurants are doing to stay so busy? Is it the $10 off coupon to Limoncello's? Is it Nanni's location right near Grand Central? Or is it the great italian food many of us find so hard to resist?
Let us know what you think Hudson Valley, and if your eating out habits are changing because of the economy.

June Bisel
BusinessCardContacts.com and
BBG&G Advertising, Inc.
(845) 695-1880
or email helpdesk@businesscardcontacts.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A busy time of the year for business

I know I should write in this blog regularly - heck, I preach it. But when business gets so busy, the little "extras" seem to slip by the wayside.
Yesterday morning Deborah Garry, my partner, and myself had our first talk radio show gig on Business Journal Radio. Aside from the first time I spoke, in which I said "um" 27 times, I was pretty comfortable with the way things went. And, it was actually a lot more fun than I realized it would be.
The show discussed marketing (go figure), and we did have a discussion on the importance of blogging.... which is why I'm here today.
The thing that's really been bugging me about not blogging lately, is that I have so much to talk about. So let me give a quick rundown of the things that have been happening in the Hudson Valley, in case you've missed any of them.
- Friday, October 17th was the first airing of Business Journal Radio, with Debbie Kwiatoski editor of the Hudson Valley Business Journal. It airs on the Hudson Valley Radio Network, with three different AM stations throughout the valley. It will be airing every Friday at 10am. Each week will be full of good advice. I believe the guest next week will be giving advice on how to save money on our heating bills this winter - we can all use that!
- on Thursday, the 16th, was the Rockland Business Association's Business Expo. I volunteered at the registration table for a couple of hours, and had a great time. Attendance was excellent - kept us on our toes. When I was done at the registration table, I walked around a bit, met a few people I've never met before, caught up with some people I haven't seen in awhile, chatted with some friends, and became familiar with some businesses with products or services I'm interested in. Lots of fun. Good for business. It's all about relationships, and the RBA has a nice group of people with some good networking opportunities.
-On Wednesday, the 15th, I had gone down to SUNY Purchase on some business. What a beautiful campus they have there. I'm in the area regularly, and I am somewhat familiar with the campus, but the day afforded me the opportunity to really walk around and take it all in. And, it was an absolutely beautiful fall day to boot, so I really enjoyed it. The college offers an opportunity for a high level of education in the conservatory arts and liberal arts & science, but it is also a wonderful cultural resource for the entire community, with the Performing Arts Center and the Neuberger Museum of Art. The college is located in Westchester, in the town of Purchase, just a couple of miles from 287. 
- And speaking of Westchester, the Half Moon is currently docked at the Yonkers Pier and will be there for a couple of weeks I believe. It will also be in Newburgh after that. You can check the exact dates by visiting the Westchester Tourism web site, or the Orange County Tourism web site. The Half Moon is a full scale replica of the boat that Henry Hudson sailed on his exploration trip up the Hudson back in 1609. I will be visiting the Half Moon this Sunday and for me, it is a little bit of a head start on the quadricentennial celebration, which marks the 400th Anniversary of Hudson and Champlain's early voyages along the Hudson.
We'd love to hear what you've been up to and about upcoming events - business or recreational. This is your web site, Hudson Valley. Use it to inform, promote, or just toot your own horn.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Orange County Chamber proves Trade Shows are Still Alive and Well

There were over 200 Exhibitors at yesterday's Orange County Chamber Trade Show, held at Anthony's Pier 9 in Newburgh, and for a long-time Chamber member, I've found that walking through the show gets to be more fun every year. 

Each year there are more and more familiar faces. And, sometimes, you run into people who you may not have seen since last year's trade show! But, more often than not, the people who are involved in the Chamber are also involved in other community events and organizations. Having been involved in the Orange County community for over 20 years now, I have had the opportunity to meet a good number of my fellow Chamber members and community leaders. Orange County is lucky to have a very strong Chamber, under the direction of Dr. John D'Ambrosio. The benefits of membership are many, and businesses of all sizes should check it out at www.orangeny.com

Being in the field of advertising, I know how trade show attendance is slipping in recent years. But you would never guess it from yesterday's show. It is a bit hard to navigate from room to room at Anthony's, but with some determination (and help of the floor plan that's handed out at the door) you can make your way through the 5 or more different rooms... and it is well worth the effort.

I always enjoy meeting new people and learning about new businesses in the area. There are so many resources for your own business, as well as for your home and personal needs. I also find it very interesting walking through the show and observing how some exhibitors really engage attendees and make the show work for them, while others just sit back and almost seem unapproachable... even if you are interested in their product or service. I often wonder why these businesses even bother making the investment in the first place, if they're not going to invest in the training of trade show staff.

For those of you who had booths at the show.... make sure you take the time within the next two weeks to follow up on all those leads. You should be categorizing your "hot leads" from your "not so hot leads" during the show, to make follow-up more fruitful. There's no sense in just gathering a bunch of business cards and then putting them in your desk drawer. Develop a follow-up system, and stick to it. A good follow-up system will make your trade shows well worth your investment. 

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations
and BusinessCardContacts.com
email: HelpDesk@BusinessCardContacts.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Fall brings Focus

The kids are back at school, and we can feel the crispness in the night air. And, if you're like me, you have come to the office this morning with an invigorating "can do" attitude.

We all seem to be a big laid back in the summer months, but this year seemed a bit more pronounced than usual. The past couple of weeks, emails and phone calls were drastically reduced. And, I have been awaiting this week with much anticipation. 

There's a lot happening here in the Hudson Valley, and if you're a business person, you know that the fall is just full of Galas, Tributes, Business Expos, Breakfasts, Dinners.... events of all kinds, where we all gather in support or in recognition of the leaders in our community. It's a busy time. A fun time. An exhausting time!

It's a time when a lot of business is done. Much is accomplished. New bonds are formed. New partnerships are undertaken. Everyone seems revitalized and ready to take on the world.

I'm glad that fall is here. I encourage everyone to get focused and move ahead with those plans, whether they are business plans or personal plans. Now is the time to do it! There are so many resources available for whatever project you're looking to tackle. Get the help you need and get the job done!

I also encourage all Hudson Valley businesses to take the time right now and sign on to BusinessCardContacts. Make sure your products and services are clearly listed so when someone is looking for you, they can easily find you.

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations

Monday, August 11, 2008

Affordable Vacations

It is no secret that I'm a big fan of New York. In fact, you could say "I Love New York"! So, it is only natural that I spend my summer vacations in my favorite state. And with gas prices the way they are this summer, we are lucky to have so many adventures awaiting us within such a short drive of where we work, live, and play.
Living in the Hudson Valley gives me the opportunity to have mini vacations within a short drive of my home on a regular basis. But last week my sister, my 4-year-old niece and myself headed up to the Adirondacks for a week-long camping trip. Alpine Lake Camping Resort is a fun, affordable family vacation that offers more activities than I can list, to keep all members of the family happy.
It is the perfect place for kids to ride their bikes. My son learned to ride there years ago, and my niece went from a novice to an expert on training wheels within a week!
And if you have a dog you want to take along on vacation, camping is perfect. There was an incredible amount of dogs at the campsite, and dog walking around the lake is a favorite pass-time of many campers. Saturday was Pets on Parade day, where if you didn't already have a dog, you could adopt one.
Only 3 hours away from my house in Orange County, and about 1/3 a tank of gas, this New York vacation couldn't have been better.
And later this week I'm heading back up to Saratoga County with my three kids (all adults now) and our horses for some horse camping.
We're interested in hearing what other great vacations people are having in or within a short drive of the Hudson Valley. I know there are lots of great places to go. Let other people know about your summer adventures while there's still a little bit of summer left!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ten Pins, a Heavy Ball, and a Great Time!

On my last blog, I told you about my favorite indoor summer activity, playing pool. Another good idea for a fun event with friends or family is bowling. Putting on the goofy shoes and hurling a heavy ball down the lane is a sure way to brighten up a dull summer day or night. If your friends or family are looking for bowling in Middletown, Middletown Lanes is an exciting destination. Personally, I am not a bowling enthusiast but I`ve still had great fun just going to the bowling alley with friends as they bowl. Middletown Lanes has a snack bar called Perky`s and Sully`s that I usually go to for mozzarella sticks while I watch the guys try to hit the pins. There is also a bar for the over 21 crowd. From 3-5pm, the price for bowling is $3 plus a charge for shoe rental. After 5 o`clock, the open bowling rate goes up a dollar or two. You can call them at 845-343-8121 for detailed pricing information. Wednesday and Saturday nights are Cosmic Bowling nights. I have gone to Cosmic Bowling and although paying the cover charge when I don`t bowl usually peeves me, the night usually turns out to be fun anyway. The black lights go on, the music gets turned up and the party starts. It is a great way to spend a night with friends and meet new people in the club-like atmosphere created by the low lighting and popular music. Wednesday night is Ladies Night for Cosmic Bowling when ladies get in for $5, and guys get in for $10 and Saturday nights Cosmic Bowling is $15 for all.

Another great bowling alley to visit is Colonial Lanes in Chester, NY. With its colorful, vibrant d├ęcor, Colonial Lanes is as much fun to look at as it is to bowl. Adult weekday prices for a game are $4.50 per person, weeknight prices are $4.75 per person and weekend/holiday prices are $4.95. Shoe rental is an additional $2.75. Colonial Lanes offers a bowling special for every day of the week. Friday and Saturday nights are their Cosmic Bowling nights with a $16 cover charge that includes shoe rental and 3 hours of bowling. Friday nights, Cosmic Bowling goes from 10pm-1am and Saturday night, it lasts from 9pm-2am. Personally, my favorite bowling special of theirs is the Sunday’s `Dollar Night.` From 8-11pm, admission is $5, each game is $1, shoe rental is $1 and they feature a special $1 menu. With tables set up right by the lanes, Colonial Lanes makes it convenient to bowl over a bite to eat. Speaking of food, Colonial Lanes makes it worth the empty stomach to come hungry with GW`s Sports Grill. This is a full service restaurant with reasonable prices on a complete menu that includes hamburgers, wraps, soups and salads, steaks and ribs. Don`t forget Happy Hour Monday-Thursday, from 4-7pm, and 3-7pm on Friday. GW`s Sports Grill showcases live music on Friday and Saturday nights and staying true to its name, their 8 TV’s are always tuned in to your favorite sports. GW`s Sports Grill is a must see for anyone planning on bowling Colonial Lanes.

Leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite local bowling alley.

Justin Peele, Summer Intern
BBG&G Advertising
and BusinessCardContacts.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Staying Cool by Playing Pool

In the summer months of July and August, relaxation and time for venturing out of the house are plentiful. The summer heat of those months also brings the inclination to watch the hours drag by in front of the TV. Let`s face it. Nearly every show you watch can be seen online sometime later. Some of us can even Tivo them. Summer activities are often the reason you bought TiVo in the first place! But when its hot and humid and you`d much rather be inside, there are plenty of off-the-couch things to do in the Orange County Area. Finding things to do can be a bit frustrating without knowledge of what`s out there. Mustering up enough energy to peel away from the couch for an afternoon or evening will open up a world of opportunities for fun with friends and family.

One great activity to do with friends is shooting a couple of games of pool. Pool is a cool, casual game that guys and girls can both enjoy. Guys, don`t forget the classic, `Let me show you how to hold the cue` date move. Use with caution as it only works when it`s done properly.

A great place to play is Pop`s Pool Hall on Dolson Ave in Middletown formerly known as Classic Cue Billiards Club. Pop`s Pool Hall has recently moved from the old location on the second floor of the Playtogs plaza, to the building formerly occupied by Weidy`s Furniture Store. Although they are still renovating from their move into the new building, this is nothing like the shady, back-alley pool halls as seen on TV. Not what you think when remembering old episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters. This is a family owned and operated billiards hall where you can take your family, or feel comfortable with your teenager and their friends going for a few games. I have gone to play pool plenty of times at Classic Cue at the old location. It has always been a fun thing to do with the guys, as well as with a girlfriend. I went to the new place with my girlfriend and a friend that came to visit from college, and it has the same charm as the original location. Although they have some work to do in polishing the aesthetics of the new place, it still has the same welcoming feel as it did in the old location. It costs just $6 per person/per hour on weekdays and $8 per person/per hour on weekends. Every Wednesday is Ladies night, when ladies play free when accompanied by a gentleman.
Do you know about any cool pool halls in your local area? If so, let us know!

Justin Peele, Summer Intern
BBG&G Advertising
and BusinessCardContacts.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Weekend in Goshen

The Great American Weekend
It's a Goshen Tradition that gets better with age.

Hot and humid seems to be the forecast every Great American Weekend, but that just adds to the charm of it all. And, it's the reason that heading to Goshen's Ice Cream stand "What's the Scoop" for a chocolate shake after spending the day walking around the village green, meeting friends, eating philly cheese steaks, and shopping till we can barely walk anymore, has become a tradition for my family.

The Great American Weekend is held each year in the Village Green by the First Presbyterian Church in the center of Goshen. And every year there are more and more vendors making the event more interesting. For Goshenites, it's hard to take a few steps without running into people you know. But year after year, attendance seems to grow, and people from other areas of the county are drawn to this craft fair on steroids.

If you're not a craft fair person, don't be turned away, because this is more than a craft fair. It's a community event. A place where people gather, friends meet, and the exhibitors get to show off their talents. There are jewelery makers, sign makers, woodworkers, local artists and authors, flower arrangers, and even menopausal survival kits, to name a few. You can buy a raffle ticket from the local fire department, fund the Class of 2009 graduating class, support your local churches, go for a hay ride, a kiddie ride, and even see the local canine unit demonstration.

It's just an all-around fun weekend. And anyone who lives in Orange or a neighboring county and missed it, should make sure they put it on their calendars for next year.

The Great American Weekend is a Great American Tradition.
Now if we could only get back the Star Spangled Spectacular at Thomas Bull Memorial Park ....

June Bisel, owner
BBGG Advertising
and BusinessCardContacts.com

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Feet Hurt? Where to Find the Perfect Shoe Fit

An article in the Times Herald Record called Bad Fit: Most of us wear shoes that are too small, provided a wealth of information about people wearing shoes that hurt their feet and stunning statistics about people wearing the wrong sized shoes. The article says that in 2005, Americans spent $2.3 billion on shoes. Out of those people who bought billions of dollars worth of shoes, only 1 in 10 women and 1 in 4 men bought the right size. The reporter spoke with podiatrists Dr. Michael Wodka of Middletown and Dr. Sharon Valencia of Goshen as well as Monticello pedorthist and shoe repairman, Rocco Bellantoni, gathering a myriad of tips and advice for getting the right fit in the right shoe.

However, with all of the facts and helpful hints, there is one crucial cornerstone of foot comfort that the reporter, Wodka, Valencia, and Bellantoni all neglected to mention. Where in the Orange County area does a person whose feet hurt go to buy shoes that will not hurt their feet? The doctors are right. Most department stores are self-serve, and most popular sneaker stores hire people without giving them the slightest idea of how a shoe is really supposed to fit. There are local shoe stores in the Orange County where someone can buy shoes and sneakers whose comfort are a step above what can be found in the department stores. So I think it would be a good idea to let you know where you can go to have your shoes fitted properly.

Groo`s Shoes, Athlete`s Action, and Frank`s Custom Shoe Fitting are three local shoe stores in Middletown, NY that personally fit each customer that walks through their doors with shoes and sizes that will work for them. Groo`s Shoes and Athlete’s Action in Middletown, are great sources of shoes and sneakers for the entire family. Under the same ownership, they sell the top brands in men`s, women`s and children`s shoes and sneakers in the sizes and widths that will fit every foot. They also sell innersoles that will provide arch support. And don`t worry if something isn`t in stock in your size because as long as it’s made by one of their manufacturers, Groo`s Shoes can order it. Frank`s Custom Shoe Fitting is another shoe store in the Middletown area that specially fits and sells running shoes. Frank, the owner and a certified pedorthist himself, also makes custom inserts for arch support that can be put into shoes and sneakers. Frank`s is also willing to order shoes for their customers if they don`t have it in stock. Both stores also work well with fitting people with diabetes into the proper footwear.

A person`s feet are the foundation of their entire body. When they hurt, everything seems to hurt. These local shoe stores work very closely with the local podiatrists and pedorthists to attain the highest benefit for the customer and make sure that every shoe is fit properly and comfortably. Do you know of any similar stores in your area?

For more information on the stores mentioned, visit their websites:
Groo`s Shoes and Athlete's Action: www.groosshoes.com
Frank`s Custon Shoe Fitting: www.shoe-fitter.com
Dr Wodka: www.doctorwodka.com

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Women and their wine

Yesterday, June 25 2008, the Rockland Business Association Women's Forum welcomed Deborah Brenner, entrepreneur and author of "Women of the Vine". Attendance was high.... and not surprisingly. In a male dominated industry, Deborah shared with us some statistics that show women are responsible for 71% of wine purchases and 67% of the consumption. Still, marketing is geared towards men.

In her book, Women of the Vine, Deborah interviewed 20 women whose passion is making wine and whose names are behind some of the highest quality wines being made today. Interestingly, they tend to not use their own name on the wine label, and most people do not realize that a woman is behind the label. I haven't read the book yet, but after hearing her speak, I am looking forward to the read. She has some wonderful stories to tell!

Deborah spoke of challenges women entrepreneurs face in today's business climate, which is still dominated by men. She expressed that some of the challenges she faces is due to her upbringing and that women in general are too modest and need to learn how to toot their own horn. Deborah has now formed Women of the Vine Cellars, which has united award winning women winemakers under one label. Check out Deborah's web site at www.womenofthevine.com .... she even has an interesting story on how she obtained that web address!

As a woman entrepreneur myself, I share many of the struggles that Deborah spoke of. The RBA Women's Forum is a great resource for women, as it gives women a chance to network with other women in business and offers an educational value as well. Held the last Wednesday of each month, the Women's Forum is a worthwhile monthly event that women in business should attend. If you're not already a member of the Rockland Business Association, this group is reason enough to join!
Check out the RBA's web site at www.rocklandbusiness.org or call 845.735.2100 and ask to speak to Joan.

RBA members also receive a considerable discount on their BusinessCardContacts.com listing, with $40 off a Basic Package OR $110 Off Enhanced or Premium Packages. Visit http://www.businesscardcontacts.com/listing.html for more information on the available packages.

If you're interested in trying one of the wine trails in the beautiful Hudson Valley, check out my blog on the 10 Tips for a Successful Wine Trail Adventure.

June Bisel, Partner
BBG&G Advertising / BusinessCardContacts.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Can Getting Organized Benefit your Health and Well-being?

Well, it would seem so. It certainly reduces stress for me.

Last night about 20 people met at the Goshen Gourmet Cafe to hear Lisa Montanaro from LM Organizing Solutions share her ideas about the benefits of organizing. Lisa's workshop was sponsored by Linda's Office Supplies in Goshen and was filled with helpful tips on getting organized.
Lisa used the acronym SPACE as a guideline for effective organizing. It goes something like this:
S - sort into categories.
P - purge. Lisa suggests getting rid of anything you don't love, use often, or need
A - assign a home.
C - containerize. This simply means to find a place for everything. It doesn't necessarily need to be a container.
E - equalize / or maintain the system (this is, by far, the hardest part for me)

I just love being organized. It makes me feel in control of things. When my whole life seems out of control at times, I can reclaim that junk drawer or that corner of the basement, and feel like I am so on top of things!

But being organized is a constant battle, because of the whole maintenance part of it. Having two boys, age 18 and 20, living at home sure doesn't make it any easier. And the amount of mail we receive every day can turn an organized desk into a mess in less than a week. It's not even the junk mail that bothers me that much. I have no problem just recycling it. It's the mail that I may need to keep, or the mail I need to follow up on that's really annoying to me.

Lisa suggests keeping a horizontal paper tray, stacked 2 high on your desk, with the top box being an "Inbox" and the bottom box being the "Action Box". She also suggests a portable file for "Reading Material", which is such a great idea! For bills, Lisa suggests keeping them visual in a vertical file holder, in chronological order, with the most current due bills up front. I have to say I was very proud that I am currently keeping a vertical holder with my bills on my desk. I hadn't, however, thought to put them in chronological order. Such a simple solution, but I'd just never thought of it.

My favorite suggestion, and one I can't wait to act on, is a Memory Box. Something you can quickly grab, in case of fire, that contains all the treasures you wouldn't want to lose. Burlington Coat Factory in Middletown carries some beautiful little boxes that would be perfect for a Memory Box. Mine will contain my kid's baby books, their drawings from elementary school, some pictures, and other memories from their childhood. My kids just love looking through this stuff, and it would be great to have them all in one place. Right now they're scattered around the house... in an organized fashion, of course. :) Just not together.

While you're looking to declutter, Lisa has some suggestions for places to donate items. She mentioned a couple at the workshop, like www.tangiblekarma.com, Safe Homes in Newburgh, the Red Door Thrift Shop in Goshen. But, for more info, check out Lisa's web site at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com or visit Lisa's BusinessCardContacts listing under Organizing Solutions.

For great food, visit the Goshen Gourmet Cafe www.goshengourmetcafe.com
For great gifts and plenty of organizational tools, visit Linda's Office Supply in Goshen.

And have fun getting organized!

June Bisel, Partner
BBGG Advertising and Public Relations
and BusinessCardContacts.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leadership Orange Class of 2008 Graduation

Friday night, June 20th, was the graduation of the Leadership Orange Class of 2008 -- The Class of Change. The event, attended by over 150 leaders in business, was held at the Ontaroga Estate in Goshen, and celebrated 15 Years of Leadership.

As a member of the Class of 2008, I can't help but feel our class was incredible. And as all Leadership Orange alumni are aware, every class boasts their superiority over past classes. Our class did more than boast.

Put to a challenge presented by Leadership Dutchess, we participated in our own version of "The Apprentice". And after raising $27,000 by proceeds from a journal, the Leadership Orange Class of 2008 were the first recipients of the Leadership Challenge trophy. In addition, each member of our class received personally signed congratulatory letters from Donald Trump.

Also big winners were the 15 non-profits our class chose to be recipients of the proceeds of our fund-raising, as well as the 15 non-profits we chose to donate our time.

The theme of the journal was based on the 15 year anniversary of Leadership Orange. Our class chose 15 community leaders who have inspired us and asked them questions like "Who inspired you?" and " What is your advice to future leaders?". The results were enlightening.

So many people contributed to the success of the evening. Erin Pascual from Club Ontaroga worked with the BOCES culinary students who helped in preparing the delicious food and worked as wait staff. Rose Shevchuk from Goshen Gourmet Cafe supplied the incredible desserts. Our entire class donated their time and efforts to decorating, event planning, and the development of the journal. Our agency, BBG&G Advertising donated the design and production of the journal and coordinated with the graphic design class at BOCES. Vanessa Foerster, a BOCES graduate and Goshen resident who is now attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, designed the artwork that was chosen for the journal cover.

The Leadership Orange program was a wonderful experience. If you live or work in Orange County, New York, I encourage you to visit their web site at www.leadershiporange.org

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marketing your B2B Business

This morning, the Business Marketing Association of the Hudson Valley presented SUNY New Paltz President Steven Poskanzer with their annual Business Leadership Award in recognition of his contribution to economic growth within the Hudson Valley.

The event was held at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center, which is a great place to hold this type of event. Both the food and service was great.

Jonathan Drapkin, President and CEO of Pattern for Progress introduced Poskanzer as a man with a vision for SUNY New Paltz and the entire Hudson Valley. I had never met Ms. Poskanzer before, and had never heard him speak, but after his short presentation this morning, I'd have to say Mr. Drapkin seems to be right on the mark.

Mr. Poskanzer highlighted the importance of marketing and brand stewardship in his role at SUNY New Paltz. He presented the results from the 2007 SUNY New Paltz Economic Impact Study, showing that through direct and indirect means, the college brings $274 million annually to the Hudson Valley. And when he also mentioned that the college was voted one of the 25 "hottest" colleges in America by Newsweek, I realized how things really have changed for the better in recent years. SUNY New Paltz has become something that we, in the Hudson Valley, can all be proud of. Hats off to Mr. Poskanzer and everyone who has worked so hard to make such a big difference!

I have been on the board of the BMA-HV since it first started in 2002, and it is a great way for those involved in business-to-business marketing to learn about the latest marketing techniques, as well as to do some great networking with businesses in the Hudson Valley.

This morning's breakfast was very well attended and the purpose of the event was to honor Mr. Poskanzer, but most BMA meetings are educational in nature. With a summertime break in July and August, the BMA-HV will start their monthly meetings again in September. As of tomorrow, I am officially retired from the board, but I'm looking forward to seeing what is in store for the upcoming '08-'09 year.

If your product or service is geared to other businesses, you could benefit from attending these Business Marketing Association monthly meetings. Check out their website at www.bma-hv.org now and again in September, when I'm sure their schedule for the '08-'09 season will be posted.

And if you or your child is thinking about attending college, check out SUNY New Paltz at www.newpaltz.edu

Monday, June 16, 2008

Does Your Business Cater to a niche market?

After attending the recent Governor's Tourism Conference up on Lake George, my mind is just spinning with ideas of how businesses can cater to the tourism industry. The whole premise is to first recognize this potential market, and then to be creative in targeting this market.
But there are plenty of niche markets out there that are also untapped. And as I was at a horse show at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery this past Sunday, I couldn't help but think of how many trucks pulling horse trailers regularly drive throughout the Hudson Valley for purposes such as pleasure riding at state parks, horse racing, breeding, and to attend horse shows. The horse industry is thriving in the Hudson Valley! And who is catering to this market?
Being a horse person myself, I know how difficult it can be at times to simply stop for a cup of coffee, a tank of gasoline, or to even get a quick meal because of parking space or just space to maneuver the truck and trailer in general.
Doesn't it make sense for businesses that are located near horse-related destinations such as parks with riding rings, state parks that offer trail riding, farms that hold horse shows, and racing venues, to cater to these large vehicles?
The horse community is very tight knit. I can just imagine how fast the word would get around if a cafe or deli supplied a special spot for horse trailer parking, or had a special menu item of the day for the horse & rider on weekends.
The possibilities are endless. All it takes is some creativity in thinking.
Not into horses? I'm sure there's another niche market that is underserved that is of interest to you. Think about what your business has to offer that might be attractive to that industry and try filling a need that isn't being met. Your business is sure to benefit.
Are you already filling a niche with a creative idea you've had? We'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

10 Tips for a Successful Wine Trail Adventure

10 tips for a successful Wine Trail Adventure

Every year, my friend and I hit the wine trail in Ulster County in late November/early December.

While having fun is our main priority, we wouldn't be able to do so without first being safe. So, here are 10 tips for a fun and SAFE day on the wine trail-- from 2 self-appointed "experts in the field".

Tip #1 - Hire teens as chauffeurs.
This can be so fun if the teens play along. For the past two years we have hired my son and his friend at a fraction of the cost to rent a limo for the day. They are such good sports, and actually add considerably to the fun of the day. And as the day progresses, and our jovial spirits increase, so does their role-playing. Before you know it, they're opening doors and saying things like "let me get that bag for you, ma'am.... Now watch your step".

Tip #2 - Leave the kids home!
Now why I even need to say this is beyond me, but I guess the obvious isn't so obvious to everyone. So take note, parents--wineries are NOT for kids. And take it from those of us who are paying babysitters, your kids should be running around a park-- not a winery. Is there no place sacred anymore?

Tip #3 - If you're on a budget, bring cash and leave your credit cards home.
You will be amazed how the wine at the last couple of wineries tastes SO much better than the wine at the first couple. And if you're toting a credit card, it is amazing how many bottles of wine you can come home with, not to mention the t-shirts, fancy wine corks, cocktail napkins, and other accessories.

Tip #4 - Pack an ice chest.
This is actually one of the greatest ideas. We bring a small ice chest with lots of water, cheese and crackers. And as we drive between each winery, we indulge. It really helps to prevent getting too tipsy, getting a hangover, and prevents me from getting what I call a "red-wine headache".

Tip #5 - Call ahead before planning the day.
For the past couple of years, we have been hitting the wine trail on Black Friday. We never had a problem in the past, but this year three of the wineries on our itinerary were closed. It was a big bummer, which could have been avoided with a phone call, or even by checking their web site.

Tip #6 - Pre-program your GPS.
As frustrating as they can be at times, GPS's are great. Spend 1/2 hour or so the night before and preprogram the addresses, then just give your "chauffeurs" the itinerary with the wineries listed in the correct order. It's hassle-free!

Tip #7 - Dress in layers.
This is especially true in the winter months, but in the summer you have air conditioning to contend with. And, you will find that as the day progresses and your blood alcohol increases, so does your body temperature. Also, the temperatures at the different wineries vary greatly.

Tip #8 - Make dinner reservations.
Good food is just what your body is craving at this point. So end the day at your favorite restaurant. Personally, I like Limoncello's in Goshen, where you get a complimentary shot of Limoncello after dinner.

Tip # 9 - Drink more water.
Before bed, make sure you drink another bottle of water. Your body needs it, and you will be glad you did come morning.

Tip #10 - Don't make major plans for the next day.
You'll be pleased to sleep in and have the day to relax.

June Bisel