Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Bedford,VA- The Bedford area has a lot to show off. There is Poplar Forest, the Peaks of Otter, and the D-Day Memorial, just to name a few. Now the area is trying to use its rich arts and crafts to draw in more tourists. Some locals want to become an Artisan Trail.
Bedford would be linked into the Artisan Center of Virginia. The organization helps communities market their arts and crafts. And, the Bedford area would be featured in all kind of tourism outlets for this distinction.
As the co-owner of Goose Neck Studios, Mitchell Bond has a front row seat to the area's growing arts scene.
"We show art work by local artists. And, we have people come in almost weekly that are new artists," said Bond.
He is spearheading an effort to show off this local talent by joining an Artisan Trail. The Bedford area must show it has a mix of craft related venues like this studio, artisans, and agri-artisans, which are businesses that rely on natural resources.
Bond says some residents were surprised that finding all this wasn't hard at all.
"We show the list to people that are around here. They say, 'Oh I didn't really know all that stuff was happening.' It's helping us to have pride about the things that are already going on here," said Bond.
If the Artisan Center of Virginia deems Bedford trail-worthy ACV will pitch in on marketing materials like this, offer signage, and create a website for the area. The trail status would also be featured on the state tourism website.
"This is what tourists are looking for. They are looking for something they can't find necessarily in their own backyard and something that is unique to the community they are visiting," said Sergei Troubetzkoy, Tourism and Welcome Center director in Bedford.
The trail would also link tourists to small businesses like restaurants and shops.
"This could also benefit our local small business owners. The fact that it would drive traffic into our area for the artisan trial would increase business, "said Susan Martin, president of the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.
Next, Bedford has to show they have enough participants to sign on and secure some funding. If that happens, the trail status could happen within in the next year.
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