In 2006 the Texas Department of Agriculture suggested the Blanco Chamber of Commerce consider my company, Growth Resource, for assistance in developing the Blanco Lavender Festival. I was very fortunate to have been selected over other consultants to help with the annual event. This June, I completed my fifth year working with the festival, although my role is much smaller than when I first began.
My company coordinates or consults with as many as 12 annual festivals in South Texas each year. I am writing this letter because I want the City of Blanco to know how lucky they are to have such a great Chamber of Commerce. I have worked with many non-profit organizations and Chambers of Commerce in the past 20 years. The Blanco Chamber has not only a professional group but a very committed group. They truly believe in their mission of creating commerce for Blanco. The economic impact this festival has for Blanco is far-reaching. The money enjoyed by Blanco businesses from this event is not just money spent in Blanco on the weekend of the festival; the media coverage alone shares with the world the benefits of visiting Blanco. This year the Chamber purchased a pull-out from the Austin American Statesman that went to over 200,000 homes in the area. That pull-out included the schedule of events for the weekend and had many ads that were purchased by local businesses. The additional media coverage was also extensive and the expansion into social media again forced Blanco to the minds of the viewers. People who visit Blanco for the Lavender Festival will come back! Most importantly, they learn something about Blanco, other than that you “pass through it” on 281.
I too am a native of a small community much like Blanco. While we know growth is coming, many local folks are not too crazy about the idea. I can tell you that, no matter what we want, growth is coming so it is always best to be pro-active than re-active and the Blanco Chamber of Commerce is just that.
The tax revenue generated by the Blanco Lavender Festival helps everyone. If it does not help your business directly, it does so indirectly because locals who do receive direct benefit shop your store or buy your merchandise and purchase your services. The taxes generated help the city pay for services and help keep your property taxes down. It is not uncommon for some businesses and individuals to comment that the event does nothing for them or that “I stay home because I can’t even get around town!” Yes, I have heard all of these statements in every town I have helped with festivals. I have also seen the results when festivals of this size close down.
Blanco should be proud of the wonderful, professional event it has developed. It has a very good reputation and a wonderful group of local volunteers who work hard and have a good time while they do it. It also has wonderful support from many businesses in town that are smart and know the benefits this type of event brings to their doors year-round. Blanco also has a City Council and Mayor who are committed to making this event the jewel of Blanco County and a group of local citizens who have carefully and lovingly cared for the Blanco Courthouse in such a way as to make it the beautiful centerpiece of the event.
As an outsider, I just wanted to brag that I have had such a wonderful experience working in Blanco and look forward to doing it again. Those of you in your city who have not had the joy of volunteering for a couple hours to give back to you community need to know that you are missing a great opportunity to do so. The businesses in this community need to know that participation at any level is appreciated by the Board of Directors of this Chamber of Commerce and by the other merchants who have supported the event year after year. Your participation is noticed and it counts dramatically in the minds of those close to this project.
Finally, the community might want to understand that the local lavender growers are just farmers trying to make a living. They are not making a killing growing lavender, but they love growing lavender. They graciously work their tails off during the event when it often costs them a great deal of money. Why? Because they believe in what they are doing and they want to share it and they believe in Blanco.
Thank you for the opportunity to let me talk about your town. Please know that, if I did not love my own hometown as much as I do, I would move to Blanco. You are all so lucky to have such a great Chamber and such great neighbors. Thank you so much for letting me be part of it.
God’s Blessings to this wonderful little town,
Principal, Growth Resource