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Finding More in Franklin County
Jessye Deane is the recently-appointed executive director of Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and Regional Tourism Council. We spoke to Jessye about her marketing plans to promote Franklin County and to keep visitors coming back through all four seasons.
Congratulations on your new role Jessye. Tell us about your background and how you came to this position?
I was born and raised in Franklin County, so it could be argued that I have been preparing for this role my entire life! Before coming to the Chamber, I served as Director of Communications & Development for a Western MA-based antipoverty agency. Through that work, I gained a comprehensive understanding of Franklin County’s economic landscape and had the chance to work collaboratively with both Franklin County businesses and nonprofits.
Concurrently, my husband and I had our third child and opened our first business, an F45 Training fitness studio, in 2018 before opening a second location in 2020. As a business owner and nonprofit director, I have had the unique opportunity to connect with Chamber of Commerce organizations and Tourism Councils throughout Western MA. I have always been drawn to network marketing, so much so that I became the Chair of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and joined the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 2018. When an opportunity opened at the Chamber in June, I jumped at the chance to focus my business and nonprofit background to support Franklin County’s success.
I’m nearly 4 months into my new role here and I still pinch myself every day. The strength of the collaborations and camaraderie found in Franklin County is unlike anywhere else and I am grateful to have found work where I get to share my passion for this area with Franklin County residents and visitors alike.
Our readers will be excited to learn about the Chamber’s new marketing initiatives, especially the new website and logo. Can you give us a quick overview?
For the first time, Franklin County has a brand! In April, we debuted our new tourism brand, with the tagline ‘Undiscovered Massachusetts,’ which calls out Franklin County’s reputation as Massachusetts ‘hidden gem.’ During our market research, we found that folks kept connecting Franklin County with this idea of ‘more,’ which led us to the creation of our ‘More to Franklin County’ campaign; ‘More Pumpkins to Pick,’ ‘More Books to Browse,’ ‘More slopes to ski’- there’s always ‘more’ to see and do in Franklin County!
Now that we have a comprehensive brand and a visual identifier for Franklin County, we are looking forward to building brand awareness through social media, SEO, our first-ever tourism newsletter, and our first-ever evergreen Franklin County ‘Look Book.’
We are also in the process of designing a standalone tourism website. We want folks to fall in love with Franklin County starting with their first visit to our website, so we have worked with a design team to build a web presence that is user friendly, brilliantly structured, and makes planning a trip to Franklin County as easy as possible.
While a popular destination, Franklin County is also a hidden gem for many visitors who haven’t been there. How will FCCC entice new visitors to come, while also making sure past visitors keep returning?
We tend to attract visitors looking for great outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and craft beverages. The data tell us that most of our visitors return for a second trip, so our goal is to showcase our can’t-miss destinations through targeted seasonal campaigns, which spotlight the beauty of the area to new audiences. Seeing is believing in Franklin County, so once folks find us, they’re bound to come back! That’s why we say, There’s always more to Franklin County!
What are some of the activities coming up in November and leading into the holidays?
There’s nothing better than fall in Franklin County! Whether you’re looking to taste locally-pressed craft cider at our international CiderDays weekend, catch Santa’s arrival to the Yankee Candle Flagship store, or take in the foliage from Mount Sugarloaf, Franklin County has it all. For those looking to get a jump on their holiday shopping, our locally-owned retail shops and craft fairs like Crafts of Colrain offer an impressive selection of handmade, one-of-a-gift artisan gifts you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re a thrill seeker, Franklin County has world-renowned fly fishing on the Deerfield River, ziplining, mountain biking, and a mountain coaster at Berkshire East, and too many scenic hiking trails to name.
Adventure often works up an appetite, so Franklin County’s wide variety of farm-to-table restaurants like Hope & Olive, the Watershed, and the Blue Heron are a must. Visitors with a sweet tooth often find their way to Sweet Lucy’s Bakeshop, Richardson’s Candy Kitchen, and Adam’s Donuts, which can be washed down with a trip to Tree House Brewing Company, Cameron’s Winery, or any of our amazing craft beverage destinations! Of course, you can’t visit Franklin County without catching a show at Hawks & Reed, the Shea Theater, or Double Edge Theater!
As a lifelong resident of Franklin County, what is your one-minute elevator speech for people who have yet to visit?
I would need more than a minute – I live here and I am still discovering something new to love about Franklin County every day! Fresh farm-to-table cuisine, a vibrant arts and culture community, and the best craft beverages around, Franklin County is a must-visit destination. Plan a trip and come see for yourself – even the ride to get here is pretty!
Thank you, Jessye.
For more information, visit the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce