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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 5 years ago

My two cents: Embrace the race

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Maybe you're not a racing fan, but Speedweeks in Volusia County offer too many business opportunities to be ignored.

BY DIANE MICHAEL | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

I moved to Ormond Beach during Bike Week 2008. My first time in the city, I didn't know what to expect. I did, however, know exactly what to wear — my Ed Hardy tattoo-sleeved shirt! I’d fit in perfectly!

With nowhere to park in town, though, the smell of beer in the air and my feet stuck to sticky floors as I waited 20 minutes for a drink, I wasn't too sure Bike Week and the races were for me.

But, attracting approximately 750,000-plus tourists and locals, Bike Week and the Speedweeks bring in millions of dollars to Volusia. That kind of dough can’t be ignored.

Here are some ways to embrace the race and festivities.

Buys for bikers and tourists

When we’re on vacation, we like to shop and eat! So why not cater your menus, window displays and specials to the tourists?

Many of my clients, such as Caffeine and Frappes North, cater their specials to local events and holidays every year.  While guests are in your place of business, ask them for their email address and identify them as tourists or local to know when to get in touch the following year with specials. You can also ask them to LIKE you on Facebook, which is a smart way to stay in touch.

This will make repeat customers. Hopefully, over time, repeat customers become regulars.

Parking for clients

I used to have an office within walking distance of main street, so each year I would email my clients a parking pass so they did not have to worry about parking far away. It was a simple way to encourage more locals to be a part of the fun.

Loud engines

Remember, when one business wins, we all win! I know the traffic can be murder and the noise can get irritating, but we want tourists coming to Ormond and Daytona Beach each year.

That noise you hear outside your office: It isn’t racket; it’s revenue.

Forever friends

Even though the events aren't for everyone, you never know what to expect when you support the happenings. My boyfriend sat next to three Dutch brothers a few years ago at one of the Speedweek races. Eventually, they bonded. Still, they keep in touch — we even went to visit them a few years back.

Open yourself up to the races and the races will open themselves up to you. You just never know what can occur when people from all walks of life come together to celebrate.

*Diane Michael is the communications director of The Callan Group, a custom newsletter company in Ormond Beach. Visit www.thecallangrp.com.

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