Trying to separate the business side of weekends and entertainment media from actually enjoying relaxing time off each Friday night, Saturday and Sunday with your family, is more difficult all the time. At least in my world. Timing is an element in this tumultuous and fascinating drama—the market is more in the moment than ever.
Look around: the blanket of bad times has receded into pockets and the pockets are disappearing. I have heard about the rise and fall of summer house real estate. But whatever that early 21st century bubble-up may have meant in the Lake Michigan area market, it’s obviously over.
I learned this easy way on my most recent visit to Harbor Country (and the vineyard appellations) in southwestern Michigan, trying to wind my way around construction projects—not just roadwork—expansions of tourism-based businesses. Some of the things I’ve heard and seen include: A brewery that needs more parking spaces, additional places to sit and a bigger facility to make more craft beer. A winery that has grown into a distillery that has morphed again to include a bistro. And the little engines that can, like the small batch coffee bean roasters who started selling their brand through church basements and counter-spaces in small towns and villages around the region, the off-beat businesses that went to the market rather than waiting for the market to come to them, have endured.
Brilliant ideas and one-hit wonders come and go, but the staying power is with the consistently high-quality goods that deliver at an equally consistent high level of service. This moving target is a very sweet spot. I used to think that media had an edge in the game because we could talk directly to our customers before I realized that quality and consistency are their own forms of communication. And that it is as important to our brand—opening doors, endorsing those high-quality products and services, introducing our audience to products they could not even imagine—as it is to those very special, new and innovative companies and retailers.
I guess to summarize I have to congratulate the market-makers at every level in our magazine’s footprint: the small, specialized, group of agriculturists and artists who come together to create the destination outdoor shopping spaces; the planned vendor communities like Emerald Avenue that have joined forces to provide a variety of experiences that add up to an excursion and then, of course, the families, institutions and organizations that work for years to reach the critical mass they need to be profitable and highly-sustainable by getting every detail right.
This month Shore will be at the classic Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff looking for the best booth, along with the steady line-up of parties and benefits that have become as competitive and innovative as any other industry I know in our next issue.
See you then!
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