KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – Staff members from the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board presented the organization’s newly launched Make It Main Street initiative, a robust and targeted marketing campaign that puts the spotlight on small, local businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Jake Markezin, Executive Director of Operations for the VFTCB, acknowledged the partnership with Montgomery County, Dave Zellers and the Commerce Department, and County Chief Financial Officer Dean Dortone on the $300,000 project, which is being funding by the county through CARES Act monies, and will continue through the first quarter of 2021. Your Part-Time Controller, LLC is assisting the VFTCB with best practices for compliance and audit purposes.

“These business owners are our neighbors, friends, and families, and we are here to help them get back on their feet,” said Markezin.

Director of Business Development, Justine Garbarino, explained the three major elements of the project: videos, media strategy, and website.

Despite its moniker, Main Street doesn’t just mean a business’s actual physical location, but rather a variety of businesses representing some of the county’s 80 hotels, retail stores and boutiques, 1,600 restaurants and cafes, 30 award-winning Montco Makers (breweries, wineries, and distilleries), and 200 arts and culture venues.

The VFTCB worked with the award-winning video marketing agency, 20/20 Visual Media, to film more than 10 businesses across eight towns in Montgomery County. One of the really unique parts of the campaign is “Meet the Business Owners,” where they talk about how their business has been impacted by COVID-19, and ways they’re finding to grow and provide for their communities.

“From Ambler to Pottstown, businesses have been working around the clock to stay afloat, while keeping employees, and customers safe,” said Garbarino. “Their hard work and innovation has not gone unnoticed. Each business as a unique story to tell.”

The call to action in the video sends traffic to the webpage (https://www.valleyforge.org/make-it-main-street/), and the free Visit Valley Forge mobile app, where people can learn more on how to “Make It Local, Make It Main Street, Make It Montco.”

The VFTCB also worked with MayoSeitz Media on the marketing plan, Simpleview on the website design, and Geiger & Executive Promotions on t-shirts. The media buy strategy includes cross-channel platforms through partnerships with data-driven leaders targeting consumers, specifically families, living within 100 miles, or a three to four-hour drive from Montgomery County through various mediums: broadcast/TV, digital, radio, print, regional billboards, social media promotion/influencers, and PR.

The VFTCB’s Director of Communications, Rachel Riley, summarized how the nonprofit will use content on social media and through public relations to connect emotionally with consumers to inspire behavior, invigorate economic recovery for a strong impact that benefits the entire region, drive results for tourism entities, and stimulate jobs.

“Many of them have been there for us during some of the most important moments of our lives,” Riley said. “Now, it’s our turn to be there for them. If they closed their doors, it would forever change the landscape of their towns, and communities. But they are ‘Made Strong in Montco.’ They’re tough and resilient enough to endure hardship.”

Promotional content includes: weekly sponsored posts on all social media channels, with a specifically heavy push on Facebook and Instagram, capitalizing on Small Business Saturday, and crafting weekly vignettes, blogs, image graphics, curated influencer advertorials, and videos (some live) for #MainStreetMondays.

Make It Main Street 2020

Watch: Make it Main Street

The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that actively promotes Valley Forge and Montgomery County, PA as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 500+ member hotels, restaurants, attractions, and services. The award-winning website links visitors, meeting planners, tour operators, and residents to a diverse portfolio of brands focused on reasons to visit the region.