“We are going to come out of this fine.”
That’s the opinion of Princeton’s director of tourism and economic development, Gary Schatz.
As businesses get back to work and the province implements its reopening plan, the municipality is wasting no time with its own economic recovery strategy.
“Princeton is in a good position,” said Schatz. “For the most part, our town is very fortunate.”
Much of Schatz’s optimism centers on recent downtown beautification, the wooden gateways on Vermilion Avenue and Bridge Streets, and the installation of 15 large bronze wildlife statues.
Those projects — at a cost of $315,000 — were initiated in 2019 and are being completed this spring.
Recently the town filed for the trademark name “The Bronze Statue Capital of Canada” as part of its plan to market the community’s attractions.
The trademark cost about $1,500, according to Schatz, and will be used in advertising campaigns to draw people to Princeton.
His department is also working on a walking map to highlight the statues.
“We’re focusing on a product here, for people to come and see.”
Over the past several months Schatz has developed several projects to promote Princeton, which will cost about another $300,000.
At least a third of that money comes from a provincial grant to promote the statue park.
Other initiatives include two new town standalone websites for tourism and business and industry, an upgraded Princeton phone app, a tourism book and new entry signage.
The town is also promoting a Discover Princeton theme with a hashtag, and will produce a virtual tour of the museum.
The marketing projects will offer equal opportunities for inclusion to all Princeton businesses. However, Schatz was quick to point out the town is unable, under the community charter, to offer direct grants or assistance to businesses that are struggling with the COVID-19 economic downturn.
Schatz has spoken with worried retailers.
“It’s always a concern for me when I see any business struggle,” he noted.
Schatz said he is available to meet with any business owner to offer advice and guidance.
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