A new social media presence, including new Facebook and Instagram pages, is the latest step in Florenceville-Bristol's comprehensive efforts to brand itself as an exciting destination for tourists and entrepreneurs.
The town's Tourism and Business Development Manager Bobbie O'Donnell, who began her role last year, encourages the public to check out Florenceville-Bristol's enhanced social media presence and help spread branding hashtags — #ExploreFlorencevilleBristol and #FrenchFryCapitalOfTheWorld.
O'Donnell said the new Facebook site launch is only a small part of the comprehensive branding plan for the growing northern Carleton County centre.
She explained that the entire entrepreneurial focus is on the development and marketing of in-demand products, services and experiences to support the trademarked French Fry Capital of the World brand and the region's agriculture heritage.
In an emailed response to the River Valley Sun questions, O'Donnell explained the town's new focus.
"We're looking for new and existing tourism sector entrepreneurs to create themed culinary experiences (French Fries or Fields-To-Flavours), craft brewers/distillery products, touring experiences (guided and self-guided), outdoor adventure (hiking, biking, water), high-quality artist and artisan retail experiences, themed roofed accommodations, and whatever else might come our way," she said. "We're open for business."
O'Donnell said the town stepped forward with incentive and mentoring programs to encourage business and tourism development.
She described the Class of One program as a tourism entrepreneur mentorship program that connects potential or existing tourism sector entrepreneurs with experts in their relative fields. The program's goal is to provide budding business people with the experience, knowledge, understanding and overall business readiness to launch a successful enterprise.
O'Donnell said the town also provides financial support and assistance to business people through its Entrepreneurship Incentive Plan. Entrepreneurs looking to bring their business to Florenceville-Bristol can apply for non-repayable capital assistance through the program.
While Florenceville-Bristol plans to promote special events, such as French Fry Day, the Buttermilk Creek Festival and others, O'Donnell said, the town places an enhanced emphasis on developing ongoing sites and activities of interest.
"I will say our commitment to turn Florenceville-Bristol into a tourism destination is driving us to create quality daily experiences more so than occasional special events," said O'Donnell.
At the same time, however, the town welcomes ideas for special events and festivals.
"We do offer a Festivals and Events Grant to those who wish to host a special event here. They can find all details including the application for financial and/or in-kind support on the town's website," explained O'Donnell.
The new Facebook and Instagram launches are part of the overall enhancement of the town's communication efforts.
"We are working on a brand-new destination website and hope to do a soft launch in the coming weeks," O'Donnell said. "It is going to be fun and fresh and feature a detailed, easy-to-use directory of accommodations, local fair and, of course, things to do."
She said feedback on social media efforts is "positive and encouraging."
"Within 24 hours of our new Explore Florenceville-Bristol Facebook page, we had 271 followers," O'Donnell said.
She said they spent a lot of time preparing the page to deliver relevant content to pique readers' interest.
While inactive, O'Donnell added the town's Instagram page remained in good shape, so they simply renamed it. They are confident it will re-engage the public through the town's signature hashtags #ExploreFlorencevilleBristol and #FrenchFryCapitalOfTheWorld.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun