5 Principles to Lay the Groundwork for your Small Town’s Rural Regional Flavor Strategy.

by Joanne Steele on November 23, 2009


regional flavor copyOver the next few posts, I’ll present a way for you build a Regional Flavor Strategy whether you are starting alone as a single business looking to help your area become a destination, a community organization needing a framework to improve your local economy, or an economic development organization designing a regional project to grow your tourism industry.

It has worked in Appalachia where the concept of Regional Flavor was created and now sustains richly diverse communities of craftsmen and locally owned businesses.

It has worked in Southern Ohio,USA, now home to a birding, quilt squares barns and heritage trails.

It is working in Tennessee, USA with their new statewide trails project designed to link urban tourist centers with rural communities in the countryside.

And as you learned in my post last Friday, it is being implemented in the State of Virginia, USA.

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity can be credited with championing the concept of Regional Flavor. Their valuable work is a great place to start in building a Regional Flavor Strategy.

It can work for your community as well and here’s how:

To start, here are AEO’s 5 guiding tenets for what they call a Regional Flavor Framework.

Using these principles:

  • You can build a community everyone will love living in,
  • The kind of visitors you want will flock to your region.
  • Your children will have a reason to stay and grow their futures in their own hometowns.

Regional Flavor is built on the following principles:

1. Help each locally owned business or organization to be world class, unique and continually innovative.

2. Know all the assets specific to your area and develop ways to add value to them.

3. Help weave together the assets of an area such as the artists, specialty food produces, local heritage, recreation opportunities, etc, and create practical activities across political jurisdictions.

4. Encourage visitors and residents to develop long-term emotional bonds with the region.

5. Be strategic about connecting urban and rural areas in the region.

Here’s what you can expect over the next few weeks:

We’ll examine each of the 5 principles including how to implement them in your community.

We’ll design a plan for creating your own a Regional Flavor Strategy.

We’ll look at how to implement your plan based on your current financial and organizational situation.

Let’s get started. See you tomorrow.

Learn about the 5 Regional Flavor Strategies:

1. How Making Locally Owned Small Businesses Successful Contributes to a Regional Flavor Strategy.

2. Your Small Town’s Unique Assets – Regional Flavor Principle #2

3. When Building Your Regional Flavor Strategy, “Network Weaving” is the Craft, Your Small Town is the Loom.

4.  3 Ways Visitors Create Strong Emotional Bonds With Small Tourism Towns. Principle #4.

5. Rural Towns Are Prospering by Connecting to Nearby Urban Centers. Regional Flavor Principle #5.

Note: Thanks to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and Leslie Schaller of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks for the excellent graphic.

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