With the goal of taking the weekly farmers market and making it into an area known public market, the Oakdale Travel and Visitors Bureau (OTVB) along with Roger Brooks of Brooks International, completed a day-and-a-half community workshop at the Gene Bianchi Community Center to improve tourism to the city.
“Instead of making that left turn at the signal, we have to get people to make a right turn to downtown,” said OTVB Administrator Ramona Howard in Friday’s session on May 30.
On May 29 and 30, Brooks, who prefers to be referred to as a facilitator rather than a consultant, led the group which included members of the public to help “brand” the city and develop the city’s tourism with a 13-step process for a final business plan.
“What sets your city apart?” Brooks asked the group. “Decide what you want to be when you grow up.”
On Thursday, Brooks said the assembled group brainstormed and offered over 12 ideas ranging from outdoor interests, children’s activities, bicycling, western activities, and others of where to go with the city’s “brand.”
At the end of the day, the group decided a public market was the focus.
“We’ve come out of this and found our focus,” said OTVB Chairman Keith Boggs. “This embraces all aspects, celebrating local business, downtown, merchants, and brings in other interested parties. We can grow (it) over time.”
Brooks, whose company has provided guidance to over 1000 cities in 45 states, said a public market was ideal for Oakdale since the Central Valley is responsible for over one-third of the nation’s produce. According to his research, public markets are the number one revitalization project for cities.
For the entire story, read the June 4 edition of The Leader.