|8/28/2013 3:56:00 PM|
growing, a joint effort
There is a feeling of fall in the air, and some heads are already turning towards winter.
Chelan, once known only as a summer town, now readily services a burgeoning off-season market that extends through September and October and deep into the winter. This is known as the fringe market, and until recently it has not been very steady.
That is starting to change, according to local business owners.
"What we're doing is looking to create a holiday and off-season destination experience," said Lynn Nelson of Lake Chelan Vacation Properties. "Hosting time with family is a struggle for lots of people, because you need a lot of space and good amenities. We try to provide that."
Lake Chelan Vacation Properties manages more than 170 houses, condos and cabins in a variety of locations throughout the Chelan Valley and along the Columbia River. For more than 15 years they have tried to convince people that Chelan is a good bet outside the summer months.
"There are different components that are in place that just didn't exist before," explained Nelson. "We have the wineries now, and we have a lot more eateries. Social media has really changed our ability to reach our customers. There are three outstanding golf courses, and the Chamber of Commerce has done an excellent job creating major events in January and February."
What this means, according to Nelson, is the hope of more tourists from September through May. The market during this time is different, however. While plenty of visitors still flock from Seattle, says Nelson, much of the off-season market consists of people closer to home, say, Wenatchee or Leavenworth.
The expanding off-season market is an important aspect of overall growth in Chelan, says Nelson.
Lake Chelan Vacation Properties employs some 40 people, from housekeeping staff to security, and the for the local job market, more folks visiting Chelan in the off-season means more local folks employed. Keeping more staff employed, says Nelson, means stabilizing families who might otherwise have to leave Chelan in the winter or simply do without.
"We just want to keep expanding employment throughout the year," said Nelson.
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