York County brand, 'Have it Made Here,' gets financial boost from grants

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
Silas Chamberlin, CEO Downtown Inc, speaks before representatives of North Star gave input during the Downtown York and York County Research and Strategy Presentation at the Capitol Theatre Dec. 13, 2017. North Star, a destination firm out of Nashville, Tennessee, decided on the York County brand with input from a survey filled out by people who live and work in the county. The rebranding project was initiated after Downtown Inc and the York County Community Foundation received a tourism grant from the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau this summer. Bill Kalina photo

The York County Tourism Grant Committee has awarded nearly $612,000 in tourism promotion grants to 17 projects.

Among the awards,  funded by the county's hotel room tax, were two grants to promote the new York County brand, "Have it Made Here."

Explore York, formerly known as the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, received a grant for about $59,000 to update its signage and other promotional materials with the new brand.

And the York County Brand Initiative, in conjunction with Explore York, received $100,000 to help local businesses and organizations integrate the brand into their operations.

"We are the administrator, if you will, of the larger effort," said Laura Gurreri, president of Explore York.

Seven organizations are part of the brand initiative: Main Street Hanover, the York County Economic Alliance, Downtown Inc, the County of York, the York County Community Foundation, Explore York and the Cultural Alliance of York County.

The other organizations nominated Explore York to be the brand leader, Gurreri said, so Explore York will spearhead the countywide effort to educate businesses and other organizations about how to best integrate "Have it Made Here" into their regular marketing.

"If we’re going to be leaders, then we need to lead by example," she said. 

Explore York administers the tourism grants, but the committee that decides the grant awards comprises seven people: Eric Menzer, president of  the York Revolution; Dave Hogg, of Springwood Hospitality; Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance; state Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover; Emily Freiert, public relations director for the Hanover Chamber of Commerce; Rob Berkebile, from RKL LLP; and Kristy Bixler from York County government.

In 2018, the York County Community Foundation received a $150,000 grant for the York County and Downtown York branding initiative.

The 2019 round one grant recipients are:

  • Appell Center for the Performing Arts: $20,000 to book and advertise eight acts in the 2019-20 season.
  • Caputo Brothers Creamery LLC: $75,000 to create educational displays and experiences.
  • Eichelberger Performing Arts Center: $20,000 for marketing beyond a 50-mile radius of York County.
  • Explore York: $59,032 to rebrand the organization's signage and other promotional materials with the new county brand, "Have it Made Here."
  • Hanover Chamber of Commerce: $23,000 for the printing, development, production and distribution of Discover Hanover magazine.
  • Hanover Chili Cook-Off:  $5,000 for marketing the event to visitors beyond a 50-mile radius of York County.
  • Susquehanna Folk Music Society: $30,000 over two years to add a root stage for progressive folk music entertainment to attract 25- to 30-year-olds.
  • Susquehanna Heritage Corp.: $45,000 for the third stage of development and marketing.
  • Wyndham Garden York: $28,000 for the Pennsylvania Bus Association and Maryland Motorcoach Association booth registration to increase participation of Explore York members.
  • YMCA of York and York County: $31,000 for improvements to the Graham Aquatic Center to encourage and sustain aquatic meets.
  • York Bar Foundation: $25,000 to build the Hard Bargains sculpture at Pershing Avenue and Philadelphia Street, across from the new York County History Center.
  • York County Brand Initiative, in conjunction with Explore York: $100,000 to further implement the new county brand.
  • York County History Center: $100,000 over two years for marketing to visitors beyond a 50-mile radius of York County.
  • York County Poultry Fanciers: $2,500 over two years to host a poultry show at the York Expo Center.
  • York Symphony Orchestra: $25,000 for marketing to visitors beyond a 50-mile radius of York County.
  • York XL, in conjunction with Philanthropic Endeavors: $14,800 over two years for the creation of a new event, A Million Dreams, to be held in downtown York City.
  • Young Women’s Christian Association of York: $8,600 to market the 16th Annual Y-Tri event to visitors beyond a 50-mile radius of York County.

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