VCB’s popular “Shop and Stay” program looking for its 16th successful year

Debbie Kovalik

Obviously, the main focus of the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau (GJVCB) is to attract folks from all over the world to the Grand Valley and all it has to offer in the surrounding area. And while 2012 is stacking up to be a very significant year in terms of conventions and travelers already on the horizon coming to the area, there is one very important order of business in the VCB’s agenda with a much more regional focus: Holiday shopping.

“Our Shop and Stay program is a tried and true event that has been successful in bringing shoppers to the Grand Valley for the past 16 years, and 2011 looks no different,” says Debbie Kovalik, Executive Director of the GJVCB, “And with both the retail and travel sectors predicting a two to three percent uptick in volume this year for the Holiday season, we anticipate another successful season.”

The program attracts travelers from destinations such as Vernal, Moab and Price, Utah, as well as Gunnison, Glenwood, Vail and Telluride in Colorado. The GJVCB targets marketing in these areas this time of year with both print and radio advertising, showing potential shoppers all the Grand Valley has to offer as a regional destination to visit, shop and spend dollars for the Holidays.

And while the program is just rolling out, the inquiries are beginning to come in. “Out-of-town folks look to our webpage for pricing information for their trip planning to the Grand Valley and locals are looking to the site to help with plans for family and friends coming to the area,” says Kovalik. The program currently features 10 hotel and bed and breakfast partners and the travelers that book though the GJVCB website are presented with a package of coupons from participating stores, restaurants and other vendors that they can pick up at the GJVCB to save dollars on their shopping trip.

“Usually the inquiry calls pick up the further we head into November, and we anticipate that being the case this year as well,” adds Kovalik, citing the enhanced retail atmosphere with addition of new stores like American Furniture Warehouse, the re-opening of JoAnn Fabrics, the many new stores that are open in the downtown area along with the finished pedestrian shopping areas. All of this is then coupled with the Grand Valley’s traditional strengths and destinations like Powderhorn, Wine Country and the day trips available with Grand Junction as the jump off point.

“The Shop and Stay will continue through the end of December, which is important to retailers and restaurants,” adds Kovalic, “As it helps these business owners look forward to something besides returns and a slow time directly after Christmas.” She sites the Faith Walkers scheduled for a conference downtown after Christmas just one such event.

“When you look at the upcoming conventions schedule, our continuing growth as a retail hub with new stores and the additional hotel rooms available, Grand Junction is well-suited to take advantage for when the economy once again takes off even more after what should be a very good year-end to 2011,” said Kovalic.