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Walnut Creek Brings Opportunity

Katherine Ryder Published: December 1, 2011 1:19 PM
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Sue Grabowski, owner of Grabowski & Co., started the business in 1997. Specifically known as a strategic marketing communications firm, Grabowski & Co. strives to focus on the message of its clients more so than the creativity of their marketing. Even though creativity is among the company's strong assets, Grabowski believes it should be secondary to meeting the goals of her clients.

"If the message is clear, the artwork will follow," Grabowski said.

According to the business' website, Grabowski & Co. "offers the freshest marketing communications strategies in the industry. From strategic planning to design, copywriting to event planning, our smooth, robust services are custom-blended to the personal taste of each client."

Grabowski & Co. became Walnut Creek's agency roughly one year ago.

"We were charged to promote the group," Grabowski said. "Over the past year our approach was to stretch out their budget and achieve as many baseline goals as we could. Developing their new website and logo were two great achievements."

In the coming year, Grabowski explains that the agency will be able to use Walnut Creek's marketing dollars to focus more on online advertising.

The Walnut Creek organization is comprised of a group of nine retailers based out of Walnut Creek, Ohio. Those business, including Walnut Creek Furniture, Carlisle Gifts, Walnut Creek Cheese, Walnut Creek Amish Flea Market, Carlisle Inn, Colbentz Chocolates, P. Graham Dunn of Walnut Creek, The Farm at Walnut Creek and Der Dutchman Restaurant, work together in an attempt to not only pull their marketing dollars, but also to help bring tourists to the area.

As most businesses in the Holmes County area strive to implement their values as an Amish community within their professional lives, the Walnut Creek organization is no different.

The group formed roughly three years ago originally to promote the area of Walnut Creek specifically. The main focus is to stress the opportunities for tourists within this unique town.

"They have created a single place to stop in Amish country," Grabowski said. "In Walnut Creek locals and tourists can achieve the full Amish country experience in one compact place."

Historically, Walnut Creek is known as the original heart of Amish country. According to Amish history, Jonas Stutzman first settled permanently in Walnut Creek. Stutzman traveled to Ohio from Somerset County, Pa. in 1809 for farming and to build a home for his family. As stated on the Walnut Creek website, "Stutzman was the first permanent settler in the eastern portion of what would become Holmes County." Stutzman and his wife, Magdalena, were of the Amish faith, more specifically, they were descendants from a group of strict Protestant Anabaptists.

For those who are unfamiliar of the Amish as a culture, they are considered as the most conservative group in the Anabaptist family. This includes the Mennonite and the Hutterite. Emerging from the Reformation in Switzerland, the Amish differed with the popular reformers in that they rejected infant baptism and insisted that the church was to be a voluntary "brotherhood" of adult believers.

The three largest settlements of Amish are in North Central Ohio, Eastern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Indiana.

The nine businesses that currently encompass the Walnut Creek organization are a unique group of individuals that incorporate what tourists expect to experience during a visit to Amish country, as well as some interesting twists.

Perhaps one of the most interesting is The Farm at Walnut Creek. Not everyone realizes that nestled inside his popular stop is home to more than 500 animals from six different continents, including buffalo, Watusi cattle, giraffes, camels, red kangaroos, pot-bellied pigs, Japanese Sika deer and much more.

Also, tourists can experience an educational experience on a real working farm. Depending on the season, guests can witness plowing, sowing seeds, growing produce, canning, milking, quilting and baking.

Each stop within Walnut Creek has a different experience to offer its guests. Starting the beginning of 2012, the Walnut Creek organization will add another member, Walnut Hills Community. As an independent, assisted and skilled nursing facility, Walnut Hills Community has developed the prospective that if so many individuals enjoy returning to Holmes County annually, why not choose the location for retirement?

This business is yet another example of the faith that the Walnut Creek organization, as well as several other business owners in Holmes County have developed for the area " the idea that they are offering a true and valuable experience.

"All of the businesses involved in the Walnut Creek organization are very active in Holmes County," Grabowski said. "They really know that if you draw people down to one part of Amish country, they help all of Amish country."

Walnut Creek will be hosting its annual event Journey to Bethlehem on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 from 4-8 p.m. The event started as a means to bring the true story of Christmas to life in a place that encompasses the true values of its meaning.

The "journey" begins at Walnut Creek Furniture, where visitors will receive a map to guide them through their stops. "Along the way, encounter actors, choirs of "angels," gentle farm animals, beautiful luminaries and joyful carolers," according to the business' website.

The event includes complimentary refreshments, such as cinnamon rolls, cookies, hot chocolate and kettle corn. No registration is necessary and tickets are free.

"As a group they feel they are marketing their location more so than marketing their individual businesses," Grabowski said.

As Grabowski & Co. embarks on this coming year, the business is working to continually bring traffic through Walnut Creek as well as other hot spots in Holmes County.

"With all of our clients, our first objective is to listen to their goals for their business," Grabowski said. "Everyone is looking for something different, which is why we customize our different marketing strategies. We need to understand their objectives so we can develop a plan that will meet them, all the while staying within their prospective budget."

Grabowski explains that the most focal aspect is understanding what the key message is going to be as the marketing campaign begins and knowing who is going to hear that message.

"It's my job to try to drive traffic there, it's their job to give the experience that we're promising," Grabowski said.

Grabowski & Co. is located at 10689 Cleveland Ave. NW in Uniontown, Ohio. For more information concerning the businesses involved in the Walnut Creek organization call 330-498-0753 or visit www.visitwalnutcreek.com.


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