Final Results and Deliverables

Our Findings:

1. Businesses face several barriers to creating an effective social media and marketing presence.

  • Due to either a lack of time or technological understanding, several of the five businesses     interviewed have little marketing or social media presence

2. The proposed plan for creating a forestry center to educate visitors has had mixed to mostly negative reviews

  • Some businesses like the forestry center while others did not.  They all liked the idea of it being a virtual place before it possibly becomes a physical one.

3. Poor internet speed

  • Very slow internet speed is hurting small businesses as well as driving away some tourists who would otherwise stay overnight at a motel.

4. The wood pellet provision in the partnership’s plan is drawing attention away from helpful plans.

  • More attention should be put on the good economic plans the partnership is proposing and not on the wood pellet provision.

5. Positive reactions to the proposed grant program

  • The partnership’s proposed programs for grants and loans for rural wood and tourism businesses for various needs were all heavily liked by all of the businesses interviewed.

6. Lack of distribution for small woodworking businesses

  • Small woodworking businesses are not able to distribute their products as much as they should and are not doing as well as they could.

7. Several family run businesses are concerned with what will happen to their businesses after they retire.

  • The aging population in the region is creating a troubling figure of family businesses that are unclear as to what will happen when the owner retires.

8. Concern that government regulations may hamper businesses.

  • Fear that government regulations could interfere with business are present in this region.  However government financial assistance is well received.


What We Recommend:



 The MTWP should pursue a virtual forestry center that includes information about the region, and also provides business owners with a place to market their own business.

A virtual forestry center will provide people from all over the world with information on what the region has to offer and also serve as a marketing tool for local businesses. Due to people becoming more and more dependent on technology, the information on the region will be very easy to find for people looking to visit. It will also allow the MTWP and the state to form a more concrete plan on building the actual forestry center.

The MTWP should emphasize the marketing opportunities available to businesses that are in need of help.

Contracting outside the region is a major marketing opportunity for wood and tourism businesses in this region due to lack of internet. After learning about the success the Red Rose Motel has had since investing in a marketing company called Main Street Hub out of Austin Texas, lack of Internet no longer becomes a concern. These opportunities need to become known and available for wood product and tourism-based businesses in the area.

The MTWP should consider hiring local and/or regional marketing specialists in the area to help connect local producers to local and regional consumers.


As stated in finding one, marketing is a major issue in the region and the MTWP aims to help the issue in two of their seven programs. One specifically focuses on technical assistance catered to specific businesses. We recommend hiring local or regional marketing specialists that will work alongside business owners of the area to help connect businesses with the local consumers. This will also provide jobs to the area.

The MTWP should promote a regional fair that allows local artisans, woodworkers, and other local business owners to sell and advertise their products.

The MTWP wants to use the forestry center as a way to promote the area. The business owners we interviewed like the idea, but believed there were better ways to promote the area. We recommend a regional fair, which will get people out to region, and also provide another form of marketing for local businesses.

The MTWP should provide additional support to help the process of getting high speed Internet to the region.

Internet has been a major issue in this region, and has halted the growth of many local businesses. People are in need of constant stimulation, and will look for that capability when choosing a vacation spot. For wood product businesses, high-speed internet is a necessity for marketing, and reaching buyers. We recommend the EEA and the MTWP provide additional support to help get Internet to the area.




1. Five business profiles each focusing on one challenge that each business overcame.  These are inspirational profiles for other businesses in the region



Overcoming the Challenge

Zoar Outdoor

Diversification – In order to run a successful outdoor center, the activities offered must be diversified over the years in order to cater to the different generations of guests. Bruce has offered several activities such as cross-country skiing, and sea kayaking, but both were eventually eliminated. He has upgraded his zip lines, added lodging, diversified his staff, and wants to grow his online store.

Stump Sprouts

Sustainability – Lloyd and his wife needed a way to sustain their business since they are the only two employees, and cannot keep up with increasing business. Hand built a lodge where guests can stay. Added solar power to lower energy costs. Limited marketing in order to keep up with all the business they get.

Kuklinski Woodworking

Distribution – Since Tom makes large specialty dining room tables, and coffee tables; he has a difficult time packaging them for distribution. Gaining ecommerce capabilities to start selling small items such as cutting boards, and Zen meditation benches.

Giovanni’s Red Rose Motel

Marketing – Tourists have to be aware of what is in the area they are visiting and where they can safely spend the night. Most people find that information online which is why the Red Rose Motel needed to update their marketing platforms. Invested in Main Street Hub from Austin Texas. They handle all social media accounts and other marketing platforms. They do a photo-shoot, respond to comments, post updates, etc.

Hall Tavern Farm

Competition – Struggles to find loyal consumers because other businesses offer discounts when people buy everything from them. Specialty service vs. multi-service providers Networks with other businesses through the Chamber of Commerce in order to expand his customer base.


2. An inventory of wood and tourism businesses in the 21 town region.

Our business inventory can be found at the following link:


3. A table of model programs.

Initiative Description Differences Beneficial Programs

Southern Appalachian Working Group (SAWG)

explores the abundant forest resources in Western North Carolina and ways to meet local demands for those resources. (Land-of-Sky Regional Council, 2008) It is an interesting and germane report prepared for the Southern Research Station. They have marketing specialists and regional marketing specialists to match make forest landowners and local customers. (Land-of-Sky Regional Council, 2008)

National Heritage Area

commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources.

(Vincent, 2013)

Lands that are designated by NHA stay in nonfederal ownership.

(Vincent, 2013)

Managing federal areas as a parts of National Park System is too expensive. Small federal investments in heritage areas have been successful in attracting funds from other sources. (Vincent, 2013)

South Mountain Partnership

a regional, landscape-scale conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania. (South Mountain Partnership, 2017) This is a planning effort that coordinates the natural resource management of Federal, State, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions and regional partnerships within a landscape, focusing on the conservation challenges. Mini-Grants were intended to support small businesses that are related to the objectives of South Mountain Partnership. Since 2009, over $215,000 worth of grants and $485,000 worth of  matching funds leveraged by the grantees have been awarded. (South Mountain Partnership, 2017)

Vermont Sustainable Jobs fund

Non-profit organization working with state government private sector businesses, and nonprofits to reinvigorate economy, society and ecology of Vermont. (Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2017) It is a statewide initiative. (Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2017) Vermont Forest Products Value Chain Investment Program was created to help Vermont forest product industry with technical support, and market development expertise.
VT Wood Products Resource Manual contains information for finding and purchasing local wood products for consumers.
Flexible capital for sustainable businesses is an investment fund that provides flexible risk capital to growing Vermont companies. (Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2017)

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC)

Since 1974, they have conserved over 70,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland and scenic beauty of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. (Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, 2017) Keeping forests as forests is what both SAHC and MTWP want. They work with landowners to find out a way to permanently protect and preserve the land. (Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, 2017)