Cowley First recently sponsored nine Cowley County businesses to attend a Colorado-based business improvement “Destination Business BootCamp,” where they learned hundreds of new methods to bring more customers and tourists to Cowley County.

They were among a group of business owners from across North America who attended the intensive 20-hour workshop that spanned 2 1/2 days in Longmont, Colorado.

The Destination Business BootCamp program, which was created by marketing consultant Jon Schallert, teaches independent business owners how to re-position their businesses as “consumer destinations.”

A business using his Destination Business strategies can compete effectively with larger brick-and-mortar competitors, along with online giants such as Amazon, according to Schallert.

He said it is not uncommon for destination businesses to create change in an entire city by drawing consumers from miles around, from outside the immediate marketplace of a community.

Business owners and personnel from Cowley County who attended the BootCamp included:

  • Tawna Golightly — owner of Timber Creek Floral and Gifts in Winfield;
  • Alex Gottlob — owner of Gottlob Lawn and Landscape in Winfield;
  • Kristeen Jane’t — co-owner of Flawed Perfection in Arkansas City;
  • Kayleigh Lawson — owner of McDonald’s Used Books in Arkansas City;
  • Connie Reed — owner of Sassy Lady Antiques and Tea Room in Burden;
  • Martin Rude — owner of The Barns at Timber Creek B&B in rural Winfield;
  • Carolyn Seeliger — owner of Field to Fabric Quilt Co. in Winfield;
  • Tara Sutton — co-owner of Cowley Fitness in Winfield;
  • Stephanie Turner-Weigle — co-owner of Turner’s Farm Kitchen at 421 Main St. in Burden;
  • Kerri Falletti — director of Cowley First and Cowley County community coordinator.

“With the principles we learned at the BootCamp, we will be able to satisfy more of our customers’ needs and make visiting Cowley County a much more enjoyable, fun experience,” Golightly said.

“We were able to sponsor this first group of a variety of businesses from across Cowley County through our Cowley County E-Community program,” said Kerri Falletti, director of Cowley First, the Cowley County Economic Development Partnership.

“We will continue to work together as a team on the principles, tools and resources gained from attending Destination Business BootCamp.”

“Destination BootCamp was a fantastic experience! I learned so many strategies and ideas on how to improve our business,” Jane’t said.

“I also built some great relationships with other local Cowley County businesses. Thank you to Cowley First for this wonderful opportunity!”

“With what we’ve learned, there’s no reason we can’t attract shoppers, dinners, visitors, groups — you name it — from hundreds of miles away,” Falletti said. “We hope that we will be able to send another group of businesses next year to keep the momentum growing.”

Schallert’s Destination Business BootCamp is held seven times annually in Colorado. He has worked with independent business owners since 1983, speaks to thousands of businesses every year and is the president of The Schallert Group, Inc., which is based in Longmont, Colorado.

One newspaper called Schallert “the marketing guru rooting for the retail underdogs.”

Those interested in learning more may call Cowley First at (620) 442-3094 or (620) 221-9951, or email Falletti at kfalletti@cowleycounty.org.

This information was provided by Cowley First Director Kerri Falletti. Editor’s note: Kayleigh Lawson is the co-owner of Ark City Daily Bytes.