|12/18/2018 1:41:00 PM|
Beasley to head Chamber board
By Sue StaffordNick Beasley of Cascade Street Distillery is the incoming president of the Sisters Chamber of Commerce Board for 2019. He is representative of the younger generation beginning to influence the future of Sisters.
Beasley and his sister Katie moved their business from Portland to Sisters in 2015. The distillery and Wild Roots Spirits share space in the barn north of the Conklin House, in the North Sisters Business Park. Together they are the fourth largest distillery in Oregon.
"We located here from Portland because we could stand out in a small town and it's a great place to live," Beasley told The Nugget. "We want to sell Central Oregon in a bottle."
Their labels, created by local artist Dan Rickards, depict the surrounding mountains. Beasley would like to have someone in Maryland see that label and say, "I know that place," the way people identify Lynchburg, Tennessee with Jack Daniels.
Their tasting room on Cascade Avenue is the face of the business. Beasley admits that the seasonability of Sisters' economy would make the tasting room unsustainable if not for the fact that selling their liquor throughout the United States is providing the lion's share of their revenue.
Beasley sees their business as a good example of the need for more traded-sector businesses in Sisters: Make something locally and sell it elsewhere, bringing outside dollars into Sisters and providing local employment.
Beasley's number-one goal as the Chamber president is to work to make Sisters an organically sustainable four-season town. He believes that by continuing the same business model that has existed for 50 years, Sisters will continue to have six prosperous months and six lean months with businesses coming and going, leaving empty storefronts.
He said it is businesses like his and Metabolic Maintenance Products and Three Creeks Brewing Co. that create local employment opportunities while bringing in outside dollars that can help create a sustainable year-round economy in Sisters.
Beasley indicated that relying on tourism to sustain the economy is fraught with problems, some beyond anyone's ability to control, like harsh weather in the mountains that makes the passes treacherous to travel and wildfires that keep tourists away during the busy six months of the year.
On the other hand, with events like the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and the Sisters Folk Festival, Beasley said, "The town is flooded with visitors, creating large crowds, long waits, and making it difficult to provide good service to customers."
By continuing to promote the already well-established big events, which attract the same people every year, the new president said, "We are not broadening our base of customers. We need new blood, new visitors." He would like to redirect marketing dollars to attract new year-round businesses to help sustain the economy.
An indoor venue for events in the winter would be helpful to promote the shoulder season, Beasley thinks. He also likes the idea of an ice rink like the one in Redmond's Centennial Park. He floated the idea of lighting up Village Green Park during the Christmas season to attract people to town.
"We need to figure out what we can do for winter and work toward it," he said.
"The growth of lodging in Sisters is important," Beasley pointed out, to have the ability to house more visitors yearround. He sees partnerships between lodging facilities and restaurants, shops, and galleries as an effective marketing strategy.
Beasley believes that what keeps a city rolling is businesses that focus on crafted industries with products sold elsewhere. He would like to see more independent, quality manufacturing like the business at the airport that manufactures airplane parts.
He asked, "How many paintings will someone buy?" He would like to "steer away from the arts and focus on crafted industries "from which repeat purchases are made frequently.
"EDCO has been successful in getting grants and lobbying for Central Oregon businesses. They provide a good support system and are a good source for information. They also have hundreds of businesses to promote," he said.
He is looking to the next generation of customers, as he wants the City to, asking, "Will it make them drive over the pass?"
Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2018
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I loved this article and your ideas to bring diversity and year round business to the Sisters community. Retail space affordability is an issue that concerns prospective small business owners.
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