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June 22, 2017

Hardy A and P Gears Up For 2016 Tourist Season


Hardy A&P Tour MapHardy Advertising and Promotion Committee has been working hard in 2016 and are hoping for a great year. Commissioners Nimmi Desai and Freda Gamblin sat down with Villager Journal and highlighted actions already taken this year.

“In keeping with our by-laws, we elected officers for 2016. The chairman is Vickie Rice, Vice-Chair is Dale Maddox, finance committee consists of Desai and Maddox, Gamblin is secretary and Dennis Horton is in charge of the music, radio advertising and tram project. All of us are looking forward to a busy and productive year,” said Gamblin.

One thing A and P has consistently been providing for tourists is a walking tour map of Hardy. The maps have been updated and revised with a fresh new, but familiar look. The maps have been available since February and have been distributed throughout town.

Essential to bringing tourists to Hardy is advertising. “We have committed to advertising in USA Travel Guide, which will give us nationwide exposure. They have a steady subscription of almost 300,000 and with news stand sales nationwide, the circulation exceeds 199 million readers. We have committed to advertising in Southern Traveler Magazine, Missouri Life and Ozark Gateway,” said Gamblin. The organization also plans to advertise in Currant Land and Memphis Magazine. The variation of publications will allow their advertising to be seen in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Hardy A and P partners with Cherokee Village and Mammoth Spring A and Ps in the Ozark Gateway advertisement and partners with Ozark Gateway on several other advertisements.

Another form of advertisement the commission is very excited about is an hour long radio slot called “Arkansas Roots” on KASU 91.9, radio station out of Jonesboro. Hardy’s sponsored slot is every Thursday for an hour on the radio station that showcases music of local artists. “He [deejay] is playing the local musicians’ music and talking about Hardy,” explained Gamblin. The weekly, one hour slot has been purchased for three months. The artists featured are from Batesville to Pocahontas and Missouri.

Locally, the commissioners are excited about a “Welcome to Hardy” billboard. The billboard is located on the left side of the road off of Highway 63 as visitors enter Hardy. This project is still in the early planning stages. Directional signage is also something the commission is working to update. Desai and Gamblin also urge local organizations to contact the commission with advertising budgets so they can promote Hardy events. “We can only help if we are contacted and a representative of the event comes to us for help,” said Desai.

The commissioners are also excited about local businesses such as Leaves & Beans and Cruisers, both businesses located on Main Street, holding events to encourage local artists of all avenues. “Cruisers has music downtown, two nights a week. There is a big auction that goes on every Saturday night. Leaves & Beans had a storyteller on March 17,” said Gamblin. “Businesses are hosting events and we support and hope to promote the events (financially). Any business that opens in town, we want them to succeed,” added Desai.

The commissioners are made up of two city alderman (Maddox and Rice), one at large (Gamblin), lodging business owner (Desai) and tourist related business owner (Horton). There are currently two open positions on the commission. The open positions must be filled by a dining or lodging business owner in Hardy. “We are being asked too often why we haven’t filled them,” said Gamblin. A lot of the business owners say they don’t want to get involved, but Desai and Gamblin say they are involved whether they want to be or not. “If they have a business in town, they are involved. These openings are for dining and lodging. Those are the two that are open,” added Gamblin.

Hardy A and P Commission meets the second and fourth Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public. To be placed on the agenda for a meeting, call Vickie Rice at 870-847-4622.

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