Fountain Festival of Arts and Crafts turns visitors into residents.
A semi-retired winter resident and property owner stopped by the Chamber to learn more about membership for his part-time consulting business.
He was inquiring about joining. We started talking about how long he and his wife are here and bam, he said it, “We came here for the art fair with friends from Gilbert about 6 years ago. We absolutely fell in love with Fountain Hills and decided to buy a condo here.”
This retired radio executive shared with me how he’s working as a consultant and wants to grow a small group of clients in the area. His plan is to spend more time here as needed because, let’s face it, who likes ice and snow when they can have sunshine and warm weather.
I hear similar stories frequently. People visit for the art fairs, a holiday or another Town special event and decide to move here.
Other than our local Fountain Hills realtor members, it’s often our Chamber staff and volunteers who field questions about quality of life, school system, crime, senior activities, parks/recreation and much more.
Let’s face it, who else is open regular business hours and is familiar with the needs of visitors. We provide this free service as a benefit to our members and the Town of Fountain Hills. The Town nor the State support our operations. The Visitor Center at the Chamber of Commerce also contains statewide visitor resources, a restroom, free bottled water and a computer to assist people with directions, print-outs and lists of businesses.
While tracking who actually moves here based on a conversation is difficult, I’m certain there are many who have simply worked with a local realtor and never mentioned their stop at the Chamber’s Visitor Center again. Although we would prefer to have this data, as proof of our impact, we are comfortable knowing that by contributing to a positive experience, visitors will consider Fountain Hills as a great place to live, work and play at some point in the future.
Younger generations might argue that a website, Twitter or Instagram can answer all of their questions, however, our process works very well for the typical 50+ year old person who lands at the Visitor Center’s doorstep.
They want to talk to a live human being, not visit a website, not watch a video. There are no appointments, just show-up while visiting the area and pick the brain of our array of staff and volunteers.
We share everything with transparency. From low taxes, community programs and convenient airport access to shopping and low crime. If asked we also provide a complete list of realtor members. Our staff and volunteers seek to help people understand why living in a small town is different than the big city.
There’s really no way to put a price on this experience and it’s very difficult to quantify. The anecdotal evidence is significant enough for me to consider this a strategy for the Town and the Fountain Hills Visitor Center located at the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce.
If you moved here, or know of someone who did, please reach out to me as I would like a few minutes of your time to understand how you made your decision and who or what influenced it.