April 2013

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Dillsboro announces “APPreciation Days”

flyer 1Dillsboro merchants will show their appreciation to customers on April 26 and 27 by offering special discounts and door prizes accessed exclusively through Dillsboro’s mobile web application.

Dillsboro merchants will also extend their store hours until 8 p.m. for the two days and will provide free refreshments from 5 to 8 p.m.

During the Dillsboro “App”reciation Days, customers can visit Dillsboro’s mobile website to view promotions and coupons. The mobile website is accessible via smartphone or computer and there is no downloading fee. The specials and discounts may be found under the promotions tab off the main menu and are available to everyone. Customers can show merchants their phones while they are in the stores or they can print out the promotions in advance.

The “App”reciation Days are part of an ongoing effort to promote Dillsboro and its new mobile website. Computer information systems students in Western Carolina University’s College of Business created the Dillsboro Mobile App.  The prototype for the app was launched in March 2012 as part of the events for the installation of WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher.

Since that time, CIS and public relations students and faculty have worked together to develop the content and awareness of the app. The mobile website makes it easy to see what stores and services Dillsboro has to offer.  App users can view pictures of the inside and outside of shops and restaurants, get Google Maps and turn-by-turn directions to each location, and be connected directly to businesses via phone or website.

The Dillsboro “APP”reciation Days promotion is an initiative of the Dillsboro/WCU Partnership Committee. Composed of flyer 2representatives from both Dillsboro and WCU, the committee has worked since 2010 to strengthen the relationship between Dillsboro and WCU and to match the resources and expertise of WCU faculty, staff and students with Dillsboro’s challenges and opportunities.

Senior-level students in Dr. Betty Farmer’s public relations campaigns class are coordinating the “App”reciation Days. Team members include Jessica Duncan, Hannah Plemmons, and Dee Turner. Funding for the promotion was provided by the Office of Graduate Studies in the form of a Quality Enhancement Plan grant.

“We are excited to see people come out to Dillsboro so merchants can show their appreciation to customers. We hope all community members and tourists will check out the mobile website and Dillsboro on April 26 and 27 and take advantage of the specials and extended business hours,” said Plemmons.

Merchants will donate a portion of their sales during the two days to Treehouse Pottery co-owner Joe Frank McKee whose home studio burned down last month.

A tourist town since the late 19th century, Dillsboro is a small village with pristine white houses, rustic old shops, galleries, restaurants and quaint country inns. Tagged as “Your Front Porch to the Great Smokies,” Dillsboro is known for its hospitality, quality arts and crafts, and outdoor experiences.

For more information about the Dillsboro “App”reciation Days, please contact Jessica Duncan at (828) 506-3527 or e-mail at jmduncan4@catamount.wcu.edu.


Dillsboro merchants embrace social media


WCU students Katie Weigel, Haley Brooks and Dillon Slattery (from left) presented a seminar on the power of social media for Dillsboro business owners.

Dillsboro merchants are facebooking, tweeting, and pinning galore, thanks to social media training from Western Carolina University public relations students.

On March 19-21, as part of the ongoing WCU-Dillsboro partnership, WCU students hosted a series of social media seminars for Dillsboro merchants on the Cullowhee campus.

The seminars covered the basics of using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The students showed a brief presentation and video summarizing different types of social media and how they can benefit small businesses. The students in charge of the seminars worked with the individual merchants one-on-one following the presentation.

Sixteen Dillsboro merchants attended the workshops over the three-day period. Volunteers from the Communication department and the Public Relations Student Society of America helped with the training.

“The one-on-one teaching approach seemed to be beneficial because the shop owners were able to have their immediate questions answered and it was fun being able to get to know them,” said Katie Weigel, a public relations student.

Katie Weigel and Haley Brooks work with John Miele of the Golden Carp

Katie Weigel and Haley Brooks worked with John Miele of the Golden Carp to strengthen his business’s social media presence.

The social media seminars provided measurable results. Three merchants created

WCU students provide social media training

WCU students Jarred Teague and Dillon Slattery provided social media training for Bob Williams of the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory.

new Facebook pages, two created Twitter accounts and five merchants joined Pinterest. In addition, merchants with existing accounts focused on updating their profiles more frequently.

“The students really helped my understanding of social media, and I feel that I have a good concept of these topics” said Mary Hartbarger of the Jarrett House.

The social media seminars emphasized the use of social media for promoting and marketing businesses in Dillsboro. The training is part of a larger public relations campaign to increase communication via social media in Dillsboro.

Readers are encouraged to like Dillsboro merchants on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and see their pins on Pinterest.


2 thoughts on “April 2013

  1. Well done, WCU and Dillsboro. It just makes sense for the university to work with it’s surrounding towns. Social Media can be a powerful thing… especially when adopted by an entire area of local business owners. Now, getting each of them to share their neighbor’s content, along with their own… that is when it can really explode.

  2. Thank you! That is something we are definitely working on, I just added your blog as a permanent link on the “Visit Our Friends” column. Nice blog btw!


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