“Shop & Explore MetroWest” - A New Program from the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau

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Retailers, restaurants, cultural institutions and recreational areas in nineteen communities throughout the MetroWest region of Massachusetts will be holding scores of promotions and special events for visitors and local residents alike from May 26 to June 3 during a new, region-wide program, “Shop & Explore MetroWest,” launched by the MetroWest Tourism & Visitors Bureau.

Already, dozens of organizations have signed on to participate. They include such locally owned businesses as J Hilburn Men’s Mobile Clothiers in Hopkinton, Dream Dinners in Milford, historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, and even the MetroWest YMCA in Hopkinton and Framingham, which will offer a free, one-week trial membership. A host of restaurants, craft shops, services ranging from dentists to hair salons to car repair, and cultural groups, including the New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods, are also participating with special offers and discounted rates.

“By giving visibility to area businesses--including nonprofits--and providing incentives for shoppers to utilize those businesses, we’re generating economic activity as well as pride in our region and what it has to offer,” said Susan Nicholl, the Visitors Bureau’s executive director. “Shop & Explore MetroWest is an opportunity to engage all 19 towns, to highlight great shopping and cultural experiences in MetroWest, and to support our many businesses.”

To participate, an organization pays a nominal fee to help offset the Visitors Bureau’s expenses for marketing the event. The Bureau, in partnership with the MetroWest Leadership Academy, will market the participating businesses’ special Shop & Explore promotions and discounts through a diverse range of print, broadcast, and online vehicles.

To make these special promotions even easier to find, the Visitors Bureau is developing a free mobile app loaded with content about each participating business. Users of this free app can search by category, such as Dining or Arts & Culture, or use the map feature to find promotions offered by participating businesses near the user’s location.

“Here’s a chance to experience an extraordinary place located only half an hour from Logan International Airport and downtown Boston – to stay with us, shop, dine and enjoy the out-of-doors,” said Nicholl, whose state-chartered organization is leading an initiative to open the MetroWest region to more visitors. “You can shop, play and stay in MetroWest at bargain rates, learn about our amazing history, enjoy a concert, bike-hike and much, much more.”

The Visitors Bureau is particularly excited to be partnering with the Leadership Academy on this project. The 25 fellows in this year’s Academy have been integral to the planning and rollout of the Shop & Explore concept, Nicholl said. “Because the Academy fellows work and live in a variety of MetroWest towns, we’re able to do infinitely more outreach that the Visitors Bureau could have done on its own.”

Established through 2010 state legislation as the Regional Tourism Council for the 19 towns that compose MetroWest, the Visitors Bureau is charged with generating economic activity in the region by attracting visitors to MetroWest and by spurring MetroWest residents to patronize local services, shops, businesses, nonprofits, and other attractions.

The Visitors Bureau is a collaborative partnership between four area Chambers of Commerce as well as the hospitality industry, higher education institutions, and cultural and other nonprofit organizations. Middlesex Savings Bank is the Visitors Bureau’s Founding Sponsor; additional sponsorships have been provided by Bose Corporation, Foundation for MetroWest, Avidia Bank, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Mirick O’Connell, among others.

Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, Leadership Academy—the flagship program of Leadership MetroWest—is dedicated to increasing and strengthening a diverse pool of community and business leaders who embrace civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration.

For more information, contact Nicholl at 508-361-9881 or e-mail her at [email protected].