Local Businesses Attend Online “Destination Bootcamp” With New Tools To Change Business, Attract New Customers


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The Dane Hansen Foundation along with the North Central Kansas Community Network provided grant funding to Solomon Valley Economic Development Director, Heather Hartman to cover expenses for 8 businesses to virtually attend “Destination Business BootCamp”. This Colorado-based business improvement program helped them learn hundreds of new methods to bring more customers and tourists to Mitchell County. The group was among other business owners from across North America who attended the three day, 17-hour workshop. This was the first group of businesses from Mitchell County ever to attend the Destination BootCamp.

The attendees were: Heather Hartman, Solomon Valley Economic Development; Julia Rabe, Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce; Mandy Fincham, The Kettle; Heather Johnson, S&S Drug; Lacy Wichers, Plum Creek and The DUB; Michelle Grove, Wholesale Liquor; Jenny Heineken, Heineken Electric; and Lydia Housh, Becker Autos & Trailers.

The three day “Destination BootCamp”, created by marketing consultant Jon Schallert, teaches independent business owners on how to reposition their businesses as “consumer destinations”. According to Schallert, a business using his “Destination Business” strategies can compete effectively with larger brick and mortar competitors, along with online giants like Amazon. According to Schallert, 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.

“We’re very excited to try to attract customers from a larger area. When businesses work together, we can make the community at large more desirable and a destination visitors want to go to”, said attendee Mandy Fincham.

Solomon Valley Economic Development Director, Heather Hartman was thankful to the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and North Central Kansas Community Network for providing the grant funding for the program. Both entities saw the need for businesses to create a destination within their business and community. “With what we’ve learned, there’s no reason we can’t attract visitors from hundreds of miles away”, said Hartman.

Schallert’s Destination Business BootCamp is normally held in Colorado, but now is taught online due to the COVID-19 virus. Schallert has worked with independent business owners since 1983, speaks to thousands every year, and is the resident of The Schallert Group, Inc., Longmont, Colorado. One newspaper called Schallert “the marketing guru rooting for the retail underdogs”. Business owners interested in attending may contact Heather Hartman at 785.738.3000 for more information on the BootCamp experience, or visit Schallert’s website at www.DestinationBootCamp.com.


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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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