The Lake News Online
  • My view: The lake is more than a seasonal stopover

  • Labor Day has come and gone.

    Summer is over.

    Now what are we going to do?
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  • Labor Day has come and gone.
    Summer is over.
    Now what are we going to do?
    There’s a huge misnomer among some people that come mid-September, gee, summer is over, our season is over, so we need to begin the hibernation process. That’s the type of wrong-minded thinking that gets a lot of businesses in trouble.
    We all remember the days when the lake virtually shut down from Labor Day to Memorial Day. It isn’t so any more, but remember rule No. 1: In perception there is reality.
    There is life after Labor Day. Because there isn’t a major event scheduled on the west side or the east side every weekend doesn’t mean we all should hunker down for the winter.
    Rule No. 2: In adversity there is opportunity.
    The chambers of commerce, the cities, the CVB and TCLA have done well to expand the tourist season into what’s commonly called the shoulder season. Bikefest in September, Harbor Hop in October, holiday celebrations in November and December, Eagle Days in January, St. Patrick’s Day parades and parties in March. And more.
    But, still, there’s a mindset that because kids are back in school, because most vacations are over, because the weather begins to change that it’s all over until next spring.
    The three-county area that surrounds the Lake of the Ozarks has a year-round population of 89,315 based on 2013 U.S. Census data. Add to that a growing number of second homeowners who come her often, and there’s a huge and untapped market. Those people buy food, fuel and home furnishings; they appreciate good food and drink; they like to be entertained.
    Realistically, our “locals” are the core of our economy. Or at least they should be. Everything else — our friends the tourists — should be the gravy. The dessert.
    I’ve long contended, though it’s fallen on deaf ears, that we in the media should develop year-round promotional campaigns that target our local, full-time residents. Without them, our local businesses cannot sustain the rigors of the offseason. So, why not offer them the same opportunities as we do the vacationers, the tourists and the weekenders from April through mid-September?
    The mindset that we can’t survive without the in-season visitors is shortsighted. Pardon the cliché, but it’s putting too many eggs in one basket.
    The Passport to the Parkway organizers didn’t set their promotion when the lake is teaming with visitors. Their vision was to reach out to their bread-and-butter — us locals. It’s all about relationships, and building those relationships with those of us who live here full-time is thinking outside the box.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Lake of the Ozarks is a retail center. Look at us as one gigantic mall. Developing a cohesive, lakewide marketing program for our local people establishes an economic base.
    The rest is money in the bank.

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