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2012 Blue Ridge Mountain Calendar

We’ve just printed our annual Blue Ridge Mountain calendars for 2012, featuring images of our town and county, including winter scenes of Laurel Springs, spring and summer views at the New River and along the Parkway, and autumn in the Stratford Community and on Waterfall Road.

Also included is a photo from a presentation by Alleghany Community Theatre in the Alleghany County Courthouse, as well as a beaver dam on Prathers Creek, and the historic Independence, VA Courthouse.

The calendars can be purchased from The Sparta Store and Jack of All Trades (372-6000).

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75 Top Tips to Build Your Business

In honor of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary coming up on September 11, we’re sharing 75 tips to promote your business. Also, at The Sparta Store, all prints are priced at 75%, in store and online.

75 tips make a big list – so, here we go…

  1. Update and print new business cards.
  2. Have an easy-to-navigate, user-friendly website.
  3. Sponsor programming on Alleghany Community Television.
  4. Use keywords on your site to raise your visibility online.
  5. Advertise in publications your customers read.
  6. Get a professional, vector graphic of your company logo. Nothing looks worse than fuzzy graphics.
  7. Keep a uniform look across all marketing materials.
  8. Post banners with your logo and contact information.
  9. Market with postcards through direct-mail.
  10. Draw coloring pages (include your contact info and web address). Let web visitors print them out.
  11. Have good-looking signage inside and out.
  12. Use professional letterhead and stationery.
  13. Sponsor a ticketed event at the Silver Dollar Music Park. Ask them to use a rubber stamp of your logo to allow readmission.
  14. Link to complementary websites and have them link back.
  15. Take advantage of local pages on google, yahoo, and bing.
  16. Publish attractive rack cards and position them around your area at racks like the Alleghany Inn.
  17. Keep your site up-to-date. Change home page information regularly.
  18. Email newsletters to your clients and potential customers.
  19. Run month-long promotions on specific products.
  20. Send printed newsletters to clients without email.
  21. Give demonstrations at group meetings, events and festivals.
  22. Send introductory letters and include your business card.
  23. Start a rumor about yourself. Folks will come in just to see if it’s true.
  24. Use customer testimonials in your marketing materials and online.
  25. Put your company name and contact info on your car.
  26. Be involved with local celebrations.
  27. Give free consultations and work to get an order before the meeting ends.
  28. Network with others in your industry.
  29. Attend meetings of professionals in the community. Don’t be afraid to join a board if asked.
  30. Publicize what makes you stand apart from the competition.
  31. List your business at yelp, merchant circle, and other area-oriented websites.
  32. Give talks to local clubs. Sparta Women’s Club, Newcomers and Friends of the Library are sometimes looking for speakers.
  33. Print bookmarks with your contact info and distribute them at colleges and libraries.
  34. Write articles related to your industry. Submit them to regional publications.
  35. Allow for alternative forms of payment including credit cards, PayPal or Google Checkout.
  36. Give samples to prospective clients.
  37. Ask your vendors to recommend you.
  38. Supply informational brochures to potential clients.
  39. Get listed in industry directories both online and in print.
  40. Post flyers for events you sponsor or are involved in.
  41. Hold give-aways and promotions like the Possum Queen Contest.
  42. Contribute to online messageboards with links to your site in your signature. Your expert opinion will add to their site and help you in the process. More people read these types of pages than you might think.
  43. Promote events you support. Don’t just tape up a flyer in the window, add a thumbnail image and a link to your website.
  44. Advertise in the local high school yearbooks. Ashe, Alleghany and Grayson each could be a great way to contact potential customers.
  45. Put up a billboard.  A good time to have your logo in a vector format. It can be enlarged without losing resolution (sharpness).
  46. Get listed in online and printed area directories.
  47. Take advantage of free advertising opportunities.
  48. Include your web address and contact info on every piece of printed material.
  49. Become a Sponsor in events like the Mountain Heritage Festival.
  50. Ask visitors to bookmark your site.
  51. Go on local and regional talk shows. Contact Clark Hunter, host of Mountain Topics, at the Blue Ridge Business Development Center.
  52. Boost sales with reduced pricing for repeat customers.
  53. Provide support for your products.
  54. Leave business cards with tips, in books and magazines that focus on your industry.
  55. Market jointly with another company and share the cost of the promotion.
  56. Send out a yearly Christmas Thank-You gift to loyal customers.
  57. Link to your site in your email signature.
  58. Contact opening businesses. Give away your promotional items with theirs.
  59. Sponsor clubs’ projects. Alleghany 4-H is currently looking for show ring section sponsors.
  60. Start a blog. Add interesting graphics and useful information and they will come.
  61. Advertise on Hillbilly Wes‘ overalls. Any publicity is good publicity.
  62. Give your products as gifts. Show off your quality to friends and family.
  63. Co-sponsor a concert, promotion, or other event with other local businesses.
  64. Donate to charities.
  65. Set up displays at community fundraisers.
  66. Give out free bookmarks, magnets, or buttons.
  67. Contribute to community fundraisers.
  68. Be easy to contact. Give your customer several ways to contact you including phone, cell, email,  facebook, twitter, etc.
  69. Encourage employees to volunteer at the Rotary Club of Alleghany County or Sparta Lions Club.
  70. Send out press releases when your business or employees do something newsworthy.
  71. Sponsor a feature in the Alleghany News.
  72. Add your products and information to a community Welcome Wagon gift basket.
  73. Mark your products Made in USA or Made in the Blue Ridge Mountains by… like John Brady at Blue Ridge Woodcrafters does.
  74. Sponsor a band at the Blue Ridge Craft Fair.
  75. Come up with a list of 75 tips and publish it on your blog.
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Alleghany Historical Society Newsletter

We are getting ready to go to press with the latest (March 2010) Alleghany Historical – Genealogical Society, Inc. newsletter. A large section of the newsletter focuses on the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Alleghany County is proud to celebrate this anniversary because of our close relationship with it. A few notable ties are:

  1. Work was begun on the Parkway at Cumberland Knob, Alleghany County, N.C. September 11, 1935.
  2. Midpoint of the Parkway is in Alleghany County near Mahogany Rock Overlook, elevation 3436′, mile marker 235 of 469 total miles. (Mahogany Rock is also a popular hawk watching site.)
  3. First section of Parkway to be completed and open was 7.641 mile stretch from U.S. Highway 21 to Air Bellows Gap in Alleghany County, N.C.

    Sculpture of Robert Doughton on the Alleghany County Courthouse lawn.
    Sculpture of Robert Doughton on the Alleghany County Courthouse lawn.
  4. Alleghany native, U.S. Representative Bob Doughton sponsored original bill.
  5. Doughton Park in Alleghany & Wilkes Counties is the largest recreational area in the entire park.
  6. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited U.S. National Park.

We’ve also added an article on the 50th anniversary of the monster March 1960 snows and efforts to develop a county historical museum.

Imaging Specialists regularly generates and prints the Newsletter for the Historical Society and several other groups in the area. Contact Claire today for pricing. Call 336-272-3002 or email