Have You Considered a Familiarization Tour?

August 2013

Every community has assets to market from an economic development perspective.  This may include existing buildings, raw land for development, redevelopment or brownfield sites or tourism attractions.  There are countless ways to try and market these assets such as utilizing the CT Sitefinder or LoopNet, preparing brochures for each property, posting properties to your town website, doing print advertisements, working with commercial realtors or utilizing e-marketing campaigns and social media.  All of these methods can be effective especially if conducted in a comprehensive manner.  Another tool that the Suffield Economic and Industrial Development Commission has utilized and found helpful is to organize a familiarization tour. 

At least once a year, the Suffield EDC invites developers, property owners, commercial realtors, architects, engineers, bankers and regional and state economic development professional for a familiarization tour of the community.  The tour usually consists of three components.  First, we do an hour and a half bus tour of industrial and commercial districts in the community. Second we have a networking lunch at the Suffield Country Club.  Finally, for those who are interested we have a round of nine on a beautiful course. 

The invitations to the tour are sent by e-mail and participation is first come first serve.  A local real estate firm, Merrigan and Lefebvre, has covered the costs of the bus each year and First National Bank of Suffield hosts the luncheon.  The Suffield EDC pays for the greens fees. 

It is important to map out the route that the bus will take and drive it before the date of the event.  Remember that a bus will go slower than a car due to more difficult turns, etc. so build that into the time.  We prepare a packet of information that includes an overall map of the tour and information on various key sites and buildings.  During the tour, we provide commentary about unique assets in town, our goals for various properties, information on our approval process and available incentives. 

First National Bank of Suffield provides us with bags each year that we fill with information and giveaways from our Chamber and local businesses that are provided to each participant.  We provide everyone name badges and encourage interaction between participants.  Those who have attended the tour have found it very helpful to visualize the area and the specific properties we are marketing.  We believe it keeps Suffield in the minds of important decision makers.  You just never know where the next lead is going to come from!

- Patrick J. McMahon, Director of Economic and Community Development

Member Login Login