“It’s only wich without the sand”.
Sandwich, MA, a community of 3,000 in the off season (20,000 otherwise) is the perfect example of a community working together – after all what would wich be without the sand.
Where is this sand with the wich?
Sandwich, sits along the upper crest of the peninsula known as Cape Cod and along the main artery (Highway # 6) leading to the tip of The Cape.
Inviting big box stores is tempting, but….
A community sitting on a well-traveled two-lane highway would typically capitalize on building a large tax base from chain restaurants and big-box stores. Not Sandwich.
Sandwich has protected nearly every corner of its community from fast track retailers and invites only small local businesses to ‘hang up their shingles.’ Unlike most historic towns where a court house square or a main street ties the tourism businesses together in a tight radius, Sandwich businesses are sprinkled along and near Highway 6 for several miles and therein lies the broad scope of the travelers’ tourism experience.
Typically tourism businesses scattered this far apart would sabotage efforts to keep tourists in town, but Sandwich has created a continuity from corner to corner which keeps tourists wanting for more. It also keeps tourist dollars in town even though the tourists don’t always know they are still in Sandwich.
The combination of residential and commercial areas are dotted with historical 17th Century New England cottages nestled among the trees with a pond here and there. That alone would be captivating enough for most tourists, but this community goes a step farther by inviting visitors into their world with consistent stylistic signage successfully continuing to draw the travelers from one site to the next and keeping them within the fold.
Success comes from conformity and continuity in visual marketing…
The consistent stylistic signage from one business to the next – from one mile to the next – seems to be an important key in their approach to tourism. These signs are not just your “run-of-the-mill” signs (see slideshow) to identify each business but, rather they are uniformly and purposely designed by local businesses to represent themselves in a manner consistent with community standards of quality and appearance. This continuity in stylistic signage is a strong indication of how this community works together. They have developed a long corridor along Highway # 6 as their center – an important thread that identifies who and what Sandwich is without commercialization. The subliminal mantra of ‘THINK TOURISM’ seems to be in the background of everything merchants do. Signage is consistent with virtually every business including the police and fire station and the city’s water works department, too. Even home-based businesses are appropriately and consistently “signed” in their front yards. (See slideshow)
Maya Angelou’s quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” fits this little Atlantic beach town. Sandwich makes you feel comfortably welcomed through stylistic conformity and continuity in signage. It shows respect and begs for the visitor to respect what they are seeing as well. This keeps tourists coming back. Visual marketing at its best.
Just as Sandwich cannot take the sand away from the wich, the feeling of respect, conformity and continuity cannot be taken out of the historical experience – in Sandwich.
After all, without visual respect for history – it’s only a spot on the map.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:
North Dakota Travel Industry Conference April 15 – 17, 2013:
Growing Tourism through Business Development – What you don’t know you don’t know (but your guests do.)
Heritage Tourism Development – The Story, The Assets & The Logistics
Website: Heritage Tourism Development – Jacqueline L. Evans
FB: FB Heritage Tourism Development – Jacqueline L. Evans
Called “The Patron Saint of Small Towns” by Iowa Commerce Magazine
John Poimiroo, Deputy Secretary of (CA) Tourism said: “I was so impressed by your emphasis on sustaining heritage tourism as an economic development tool.”