Branding Boost

Consultant Brooks to present
tourism recommendations

Oldham County is focus of
assessment conducted last April

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(October 2010) – For the last 3 1/2 years, the Oldham County Tourist Commission has worked on a project to bring tourism consultant Roger Brooks to the county to complete a Community Assessment Report. Brooks will visit the county for the second time in October and present his findings.

Roger Brooks


Brooks has assisted more than 800 communities with their branding, tourism, downtown development and marketing efforts. Based upon his expertise, he founded Destination Development International, a Seattle-based tourism consulting firm. His first visit to Oldham County was in April 2010.
“Brooks had a lot to say,” said Kim Buckler, executive director of Oldham County Tourist Commission. He commented on “how gorgeous Oldham County was and suggested focusing on outdoor things.”
Brooks’ goal was to see what each of six towns within the county had to offer, individually, and then take a look at them, collectively, as a county. He then offered suggestions on how to make each town better.
The Oldham County Tourist Commission invited Brooks to come for the initial visit. He will return on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to the John Black Community Center in Buckner where he will present a Community Assessment Findings and Suggestions program from 9 a.m. to noon. A continental breakfast will be provided by Ladyfingers Catering.
A buffet lunch will be served by the Red Pepper Deli from noon to 1 p.m. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Brooks will present a Branding Seminar for businesses within the county.
Buckler said every business in the county has been invited as well as key officials and Fiscal Court members. “Struggling businesses can benefit from this Branding Seminar,” she said. “It will be tailored to our situation.”
Buckler’s role has been to create and maintain excitement for this project. The next step will be to create an entire branding campaign – signage and a logo are needed.
Seven strong tourism-based businesses have gone out of business in the county recently, said Buckler. “Half of Main Street in La Grange is empty.”
Bill Lammlein, a former member of the Oldham County Tourist Commission, said, “People in the county won’t support the businesses. The county lacks getting our own residents to take advantage of what this county has to offer them.”
Business for the Friday night restaurant business is not bad, he said. But, Saturday and Sunday is a different story. People who have been working in Louisville all day may not care to return to the city on a Friday night, Lammlein said, but they will over the weekend.
Brooks should provide a “great insight into how tourism works. Businesses really need to listen to him,” said Lammlein. “He has a lot of knowledge. We’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.”
One idea Buckler has devised is a motorcycle tour of the county. “I want to create a whole atmosphere of being in the country,” she said. Tourists don’t necessarily visit a “county,” but rather an area, she pointed out.
With new magistrates and county officials taking office, Buckler has had to work overtime with them to get them caught up to speed on this project. Tourism directors from surrounding counties who want to keep up with what’s going on may also attend Brooks’ presentations.
At the April meeting, tourism directors and Main Street program representatives also attended from Carrollton, Bowling Green and the Cave Region of Kentucky.
“It was an outstanding meeting; very frank, very candid,” said Oldham County Judge-Executive Duane Murner. “It was a message we needed to hear.”
The county doesn’t have a good hotel structure, he said. But there is no reason Oldham County cannot become a destination location, he continued. Brooks “urged us to find something different for people to do –  a genuine attraction. We could do much more.”
One of Murner’s main concerns is the complete change of administration that will take office on Jan. 1, 2011. This project needs people backing it that are familiar with it and will “move it forward,” he said.

• To make reservations for lunch, contact Kim Buckler at (502) 817-6043 or email: Director@TourOldhamCounty.com.

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