Jim Thorpe Tourist Agency changes name
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEW Among the members of the board of the Jim Thorpe Tourist Promotion Agency attending last night's mixer were, from left, front row, Michael Guy, treasurer; Bob Gaudreau, fall foliage commissioner; Pat Handwerk, Mari Gruber and Jake Arner; and back row, Randall Sellers, recording secretary; Dan Hugos, president; Bart Springer, immediate past president; and Tom Laughery, corresponding secretary.
Amazing Jim Thorpe is the brand people will hear when they call for information about all that Jim Thorpe offers as a tourism mecca.
Members of the newly formed Jim Thorpe Tourist Promotion Agency celebrated the name change last week night with a high energy launch at a mixer held at the Broadway Grill, downtown Jim Thorpe.
While the people are the same as Marge Mulligan pointed out, it's a whole new energy that it being tapped to bring even more benefits to the members.
"We're marketing Amazing Jim Thorpe by the Jim Thorpe Tourist Promotion Agency," said Dan Hugos, president of the new organization that was formerly known as The Jim Thorpe Chamber. "Our website has an amazing 500 to 1,000 hits a day and that will be the first line of public information."
Hugos said the mixer was a celebration of the name change and the hopes that the new focus on tourist promotion will bring in more tourists and more small businesses to the area.
"What better way to promote ourselves?" he asked. "We're a nonprofit organization and none of us are paid. Many of us work a second, third and fourth job so we all work hard."
Hugos said that the separation from the Carbon County Chamber is seen as positive change, but does not mean that the Jim Thorpe Tourist Promotion Agency will not work closely together with the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce to promote small businesses.
"We are still very much involved with the CCCC," said Hugos. "But our focus is on tourism."
Jim Thorpe has many tourism possibilities that bring people from the New York and Philadelphia area to enjoy the great outdoors, great food and great entertainment, remarked Hugos.
"We have the great shops, paintball, kayaking, white water rafting, great trails for biking and hiking, great restaurants, and the Mauch Chunk Opera House and Penn's Peak with name entertainment," he added.
The newly formed organization has 200 members and Hugos said that there are many more that may join because of the new focus on tourism.
"There is a lot of competition for the tourists and we have a lot to offer people who want to find something to do for a day, a weekend or more," he said. "It's convenient with all we have to offer right here."
Betty McBride added that her husband, Tom, started the chamber 30 years ago and started the visitors guide.
The McBride's business is the Old Jail, which continues to be a unique experience for tourists visiting the area.
Jack Sturm was at the mixer while representing the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.
"This is a great turnout," said Sturm. Sturm then invited everyone to the grand opening of the CCCC new office in Lehighton. The ribbon cutting was Thursday morning at their new office at 137 South St., Lehighton.
Carl Wilgus, president of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, commended the JTTPA for its rebranding efforts.
"We have a four season area here in the Poconos," said Wilgus. He noted that in 2012, 25 million visitors came to the Pocono area, which is 10 percent more than the year before.
The PMVB promotes tourism for Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties.
"Location, location, location, you have it as you are situated between Philadelphia and New York - our two prime markets."
"I have to say when you visit the Train Station, you have to see the bathrooms," he laughed.
Wilgus added that improvements are also slated for the rest of the visitor center this summer.
Michael Guy, treasurer for the JTTPA, said, "Our focus in on tourism and that is the reason for the name change, but we need the CCCC. We also need more local business to sustain our businesses. Small boutiques here in Jim Thorpe have many unique gifts that you will not find in the malls. We're all independent and have a variety of items for all occasions. We're not expensive and have many reasonably priced items."
Guy said that his goal in the future is to do all he can to promote Jim Thorpe.