Sunday, November 13, 2016

When Pies and Wine Sweeten Economic Growth- Julian Michigan

One of the old beauties of California is the popular tourist destination of Julian California. Started in 1850 by an English settler and freed slave, the town became a gold rush and transformed from a tent city to a permanent settlement overnight. Since that time Julian has become a know as a resort town that offers wine, pies and bed & breakfast establishments.

With a median household income of $51,000, high home ownership rate, and population of 1,500 people, the economy relies heavily on tourism income that include Gold Rush structures, quint stores, mine tours, wine bars, and restaurants. Future job growth is expected to beach national average at 39.4%. Revitalization has occurred through maximizing tourism income and popular attractions.

Many American cities have not been so lucky and small businesses have failed to survive (Gunwell & Ha, 2014). Some success has been found in anchor institutions such as companies, industry, higher education, or healthcare. However, many small towns do not have these institutions to start building related industries.

Cities that survive find some niche that works well for them and in which they can capitalize on and make additional money. For example, Julian Pies, western souvenirs, wine bars or bed & breakfast tourism may provide a sound base for the local economy to expand. They can't compete with large businesses but would do better seeking something unique to them and creating new opportunities.

It will also be beneficial for small towns to diversify their offerings to develop and maintain employment while not changing their flavor and culture. For example, marketing pies to a wider market and building a stronger food production industries could be one way to go while manufacturing western gift souvenirs could be another.

The main point is that they can continue to brand their small community and build upon its present strengths to maintain their vitality. Small communities offer opportunities to create new kinds of businesses that appeal to specific demographics through local entrepreneurship and stronger marketing. The question small town residents might need to answer is whether or not bigger is always better.

Grunwell, S. & Ha, I. (2014). How to revitalize a small rural town? An empirical study of factors for success. University-community collaboration with a ssmall hisstoric rural tourism town. Journal of Rural & Community Development, 9 (2).

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