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Online bootcamp teaches local businesses new tools

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Local businesses this week attended an online bootcamp held by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

This week, 16 Columbus area businesses participated in a three-day virtual training called Destination Business BootCamp. The owners joined business leaders from across America to learn new marketing methods to bring more customers and tourists to Columbus and their businesses.

“The bootcamp was tremendously eye-opening,” said attendee Yaramis Ramos, who owns Havana Stone Graphic Design. “It made me see my business strengths as well as areas where I can grow.”

Other business owners agreed.

“Think big. Dream big. Delegate. And try ‘silly,’ off-the-wall sells,” added Pat Mueller of the Evans House.

Coordinated by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and its Entrepreneurship Committee, the Destination BootCamp training was the first of its type offered to local businesses.

In addition to Ramos and Mueller, participants included Kim Gassen, Grace Jewelry; Nicole Lindhorst, BeYOUtiful Boutique & Gifts; Carlos Velazquez, Pacific Window Tint, LLC; Shalynn Spitz, Providing Property Solutions; Doris Lux, Market 23; Kelli Faltys, Strategic Impact Plus; Tracy Gasper, The Friedhof Building; Kristin Stock, Artzy Haven; Patti Stuthman, Urban Farm Boutique; Barb Duffy, Barbara Jean’s; Jeff Gokie, Henry on 11th; Kara Allbaugh, Rival Design; and Brian Masek, Heartland Athletic Club.

Created by marketing consultant Jon Schallert, the “Destination BootCamp” teaches independent business owners on how to reposition their businesses as “consumer destinations.”

According to Schallert, a business using his “Destination Business” strategies can compete effectively with larger brick and mortar competitors, along with online giants like Amazon.

“With the principles we learned at the BootCamp, Columbus’ businesses will be able to satisfy more of their customers’ needs and make purchasing much more enjoyable, fun experience,” said Doris Lux, who chairs the Chamber’s Entrepreneurship Committee. “With what we learned, there’s no reason we can’t attract customers from hundreds of miles away.”

Lux, who also works for Central Community College’s Opportunity Central, helped the Chamber secure a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to fund the participation of 16 businesses.

“The goal of the Chamber is to help our businesses be successful,” Membership and Community Engagement Director Sandie Fischer said. “It was rewarding to see them share ideas with one another and re-energize their marketing strategies which benefit not only their businesses, but the community as a whole.”

Carlos Velazquez, owner of Pacific Window Tint LLC, shared his experiences with the bootcamp.

“The bootcamp taught me a different way to run my business and use different strategies to talk to my customers and bring more business,” Velazquez said.

Participants are expected to share what they learned and provide advice to peer business representatives.

“Remember to make yourself stand out by developing a unique positioning statement that makes you unforgettable,” Nyffeler said.

Schallert’s Destination Business BootCamp is normally held in Colorado but was taught online due to the COVID-19 virus.

Schallert has worked with independent business owners since 1983, speaks to thousands every year, and is the President of The Schallert Group, Inc., Longmont, Colorado. One newspaper called Schallert “the marketing guru rooting for the retail underdogs.”

For more information about the training, contact the Chamber or any of the business participants.


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