From the Wires
New Digs for Visitor Center in Downtown Franklin
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 12, 2012 01:15 PM
Growing number of visitors cited as primary reason
FRANKLIN, Tenn., Dec 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Visitors are in for a nice surprise when they walk into the new Williamson County Visitor Center in Historic Downtown Franklin; more space and an enhanced visitor experience. The doors officially opened to the public November 23rd in the newly remodeled storefront located just off the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue in a retail space once occupied by Emmaline. The move means about eight times more space and more services designed to encourage visitors to see more, stay longer and spend more in Williamson County.
Previously, the Visitor Center occupied the historic McPhail building. With only 168 square feet of space to welcome visitors on the main floor, the historic structure was quickly at capacity if two families should happen to arrive at the same time. Visitation numbers at the McPhail building have grown steadily from 7600 visitors in 2008 to a projected 20,000 by the end of 2012.
The Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCCVB) which operates the Visitor Center, began considering a new location when a 2009 research study indicated that only 30% of visitors, who had reached downtown Franklin, had found the visitor center. A growing number of visitors each year made the move even more imperative. The new 4th Avenue location, across from Franklin Mercantile Deli, provides a central location downtown and is in the same building with the WCCVB's administrative offices.
Approximately 1,300 square feet of space has been thoughtfully remodeled with the specific purpose of enhancing the visitor experience in Williamson County. A level entryway, power assisted doors and a handicap-accessible restroom were an intentional part of the makeover. The WCCVB also took a 'green' approach to the build-out of the welcome desk and furniture by hiring local artisans and using reclaimed materials from Williamson County barns. A selection of retail merchandise has been added to cover some of the additional costs of the new location. The uniquely designed items add charm to the space and help the WCCVB extend the destination's brand.
According to Mark Shore, Executive Director of the WCCVB, "the new Visitor Center is a tremendous asset to help us extend the brand, encourage exploration of the county and most importantly enhance the visitor experience. Last year our visitors spent more than 320 million dollars in Williamson County, up 12 percent over 2010, we want to continue the economic engine of tourism running at peak performance. This new Visitor Center is one of the ways we will do that."
SOURCE Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau
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