MALONE –– Franklin County Local Industrial Development Corp. officials announced Wednesday they will be using the services of a company called Workshop, based in Lake Placid, to help with the tourism and promotions contract the corporation was awarded in December.
“We needed a firm like Workshop to do a lot of the heavy lifting,” said LDC CEO Jeremy Evans.
Workshop was one of two other companies that had submitted a proposal to provide the tourism promotion services after the Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism, which had held the job for five years, opted not to seek a renewal.
Workshop had also previously worked with ROOST when that organization held the county’s tourism promotion contract.
“There is a professional relationship with ROOST and Workshop but it is not at all like anything that we are proposing. I don’t know what they provided to them but they were not a principal firm with ROOST,” said Evans.
LDC board members approved plans to go ahead with Workshop on Wednesday, but said some additional steps need to be taken before the contract is signed.
The contract with Workshop will run for one year and Evans said it will be for an amount not to exceed $245,000.
“I am comfortable with the amount but we need to do some work on what will be done within that budget and that is still evolving,” said Evans. “It is pretty close.”
The latest hire follows on a decision in January to hire two former ROOST employees to handle the LDC’s tourism effort.
The agency hired Kelly Brunette and Phil Hans to help with tourism and marketing efforts to fulfill many of the same duties they had when they worked with ROOST. At the LDC, Brunette will handle the southern part of Franklin County, while Hans works the northern half.
With the addition of Workshop, Evans said his team is starting to fall into place.
“It has been a couple of months of trying to figure out what to do and now I feel like we are starting to move forward,” said Evans.
While Evans is not shy about admitting that no one on the LDC board has any professional training in tourism and promotions, he said they have a huge interest in Franklin County and helping to promote all that it has to offer. “I am also excited to let the community know that we have a plan,” said Evans. “It is also important to say, ‘look we are putting together the team and that team includes one of the best tourism marketing firms in all of New York state.’”
Not everyone on the board was enthusiastic about bringing on Workshop. Archie McKee was the only board member to vote against the resolution.
“It is a little premature,” said McKee. “We are approving a partial product,”
McKee said another reason why he voted against the agreement was because he simply does not have enough information about Workshop or the agency’s plans for Franklin County.
“I am uncomfortable approving something that I have not even read,” said McKee.
Evans say the LDC board approved plans to hire Workshop without a contract in place in order to avoid further delay in starting the promotion effort. Had the board not acted Thursday, it would have had to wait another month or schedule a special meeting before Workshop can start promoting tourism.
With the hiring of Workshop, Evans said, everyone will benefit.
“They will also build a story, a brand and some content that will share that brand and then build out on … the digital infrastructure, which includes social media, websites and things like that,” said Evans.