Partners create branding for Wilds Cooperative

Partners create branding for Wilds Cooperative

Wilds Cooperative Stencil for Signage

Wilds Cooperative stencil used for event signage

We’ve deemed Fridays as gratitude day here at the PA Wilds Center, and this week’s love letter goes to the North Central PA PREP partnership, which is a group we meet with regularly that includes economic development types and small business service providers that help entrepreneurs with things like business plans and financing.

The NC PREP network meets regularly at North Central Regional Planning & Development Commission in Ridgway, and at a recent meeting they invited us to do a presentation on The Wilds Cooperative of PA, one of our expanding programs that focuses on growing and connecting the kinds of unique small businesses that are central to place-based tourism development. We jumped at the chance and are glad we did as they later invested in the program, helping us print strategic branding and interpretive materials, which have been rolling off the presses this past month. Take a look!

Elkwood Arts, in Ridgway, made wooden interpretive signs for the dozens of Trading Posts (retailers) and Host Sites (lodges, B&Bs, breweries, wineries, etc) involved in The Wilds Cooperative. Look for them hanging in establishments around the region soon!

Maps by Elkwood Arts

Interpretive Sign by Elkwood Arts

The Laughing Owl Press Company, in Kane, made these new hangtags for the growing number of professional-level juried artisans in our program. You’ll soon see these on products sold at our Trading Posts. I love the personalized touch where the artist can now write their name on the tag.

Hang tags by Laughing Owl Press

Hangtag by Laughing Owl Press

Printing Plus in St. Marys made these restaurant table tents for us for our Host Sites, to encourage travelers to check out The Wilds Cooperative’s online itineraries (coming soon to pawilds.com!).

Table tents by Printing Plus

Table tent by Printing Plus

You probably noticed we used a lot of local vendors for these jobs. We try to do that wherever possible.

Window clings from McCourt Label, in McKean County, arrived on our doorstep in mid-June. “I’m told they look great!” my managing director emailed me after they showed up. The clings were followed by custom stamps for our juried artisans and stencils for establishments in downtown areas that use sandwich boards. Wilds Cooperative members have been asking for tools like this to help them sell product, so we are really excited to finally be able to offer them.

Window cling by McCourt Label

Window cling by McCourt Label

Together all these branding tools help us curate a way for visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds to experience our region’s creativity and hospitality. When they are visiting one Trading Post or Host Site, we encourage them to visit others, and to buy authentic products made by local skilled artisans and craftspeople. This brings outside dollars into our rural economy, and helps those dollars stay here longer. It is true grassroots economic development.

It takes a lot of resources to build a network and experience like this across 12 ½ counties. A big thanks to NC PREP for investing in the work with us!

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