From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
How to survive ‘Summer Tourist Season’
by Rae Gosling | Grayling Main Street Program Director
Greetings readers! I am so delighted to get to share with you, each week, things that are happening in my office, downtown, and around our community. In recent weeks, I have talked about training, building awareness, and GMSt serving the downtown merchants better. Today I want share a few thoughts about tourism, and how as a community, we can survive the Summer Tourist Season.
I’m certain some of this will be old hat for our more seasoned residents. Regardless, I hope these tips for making it through the summer in a military training town and tourist gateway will be a good reminder, or lesson.
Suggestion #1: Walk or ride your bike to as many places as possible! There is an incredible increase in traffic here during the summer, especially Thursday through Sunday. We are a gateway to many beautiful destinations, including our own community. If we make it easy for folks to get in and out of Grayling their perception will be better, and a return trip becomes more likely. An added bonus to this is the double health benefits: 1) less stress from not sitting in traffic, and 2) toned buns… I mean better heart health from the cardiovascular workout of walking or riding your bike.
Suggestion #2: Grocery shop on a week night, the best nights would be Monday-Wednesday. This suggestion is for two reasons. First, traffic avoidance If you are like me, a car is required to shop for your family. I would never make it home on a bike with a full load of groceries. Secondly, there are fewer folks stocking up for their weekend adventures. Much like the traffic scenario, save yourself the frustration of long grocery lines, and create ease for our visitors.
Suggestions #3: Go downtown to eat, shop, and enjoy the day or evening. Locals make the place! You are all part of what makes our community spectacular. Show that off! Yes, the lines and waits may be a little longer, but there is nothing more reassuring to a tourist, than seeing a waitress greet a local at a restaurant. Also, don’t forget to rate our businesses on Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
Suggestions #3A: Be proud of Grayling, and be helpful. Wear your Downtown Grayling button, sport that Vikings or ARCM tee, join a conversation when you hear folks mention an asset in our community and talk it up! I know that last bit sounds a little forward, but I strongly recommend helping the visitors to our community find the things that make us amazing. Advocate for our businesses and destinations.
Suggestion #4: Be patient. We see thousands of new faces every year. They don’t know the shortcuts around town, they may not understand the Michigan Left their GPS is trying to force on them, or they may be overly excited about something we experience every day. How many other one screen theaters have you run across in your life? This suggestion is particularly true regarding the visiting military personnel and units. They often travel in caravans and large groups, and might only have one night off base from their rigorous training regimen to enjoy the community.
In short, be kind. While we do have amazing year-round assets here, the summer tourist season is vital to many of our businesses. Let’s make summer great for everyone!
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.