All of our museum friends share this goal, and when we meet and talk, our main objective is to capture Great River Road & Lincoln Highway tourists. So when they visit The Sawmill, we send them to the Windmill, to Camanche's Eco-Center, to Eagle Point Park, to the Discovery center, to the Curtis Mansion, to the Historical Society, to the historic churches, provide them with a guide to all the properties around town, share upcoming dates at the Lumberkings & Showboat, and well you get the drift.
The objective is not solely to share traffic, but to keep people in town long enough to eat. Then maybe they shop. Then they will check out the nighttime events. Then get a hotel. Before they go on, or maybe discover the casino or other activities to do the next day.
About 15-20% of guests, who fill out a survey, provide economic numbers. The question posed is how much are you planning to spend in Clinton? Most of our tourists are campers, so they are staying outside of Clinton, and will list $100-$150 planned to spend. Some will be staying in a hotel, so they list $200-$250 in Clinton. As we've grown, visitors are beginning to list $10-$30
|Museums are a great partner for area businesses. We pride ourselves in providing exposure for our sponsors.|
The usual Clinton visitor is why The Sawmill works so hard to be involved in the Lincoln Highway, Great River Road, and Silos & Smokestacks networks. The crossroads mean visitors go through Clinton, or can choose to, when going to larger destinations in the state. Or they are traveling back home to on Highway 30 (east or west). We have billboards on the road to capture them, and they are the ones who are spending $10-30 dollars. It might not seem like much but!
With around 10,000 paid visitors the past two years, and this year well on our way to 12,000+ visitors, the usual breakdown in our book is 60% regional and 40% out of region. So the museum is attracting around 5,000 or more out of region travelers. So let's say these 5,000 are only passing through getting a bite to eat and some gas, that's $200,000 worth of goods and services purchased.
But as mentioned in the beginning, our hope is to send guests to another site (and sites will also send guests our way). This is where it's more anecdotal, but I'm very excited to share these stories:
|Have you joined your CVB? EITA? Travel Iowa? Great River Road? Lincoln Highway? Your local Byway?|
1. Recently some guests from central Iowa came in the dead of winter-- well should have been spring but the weather was bad all March! The local business community had put together a consignment crawl for a particular weekend. We share the maps for visitors because it's a great DIY exploration of antiques in the community. Well these guests picked up the map and through talking, we convinced them of a nice evening at the Candlelight and then in the morning do the crawl themselves. So they got a hotel.
2. This happens daily with the Windmill and us. We can see each other from our river levees, and we send guests back and forth. The best example of this cooperation was our Millin' Around event where we had a bus to transport 80 guests a weekend from the Sawmill to the Windmill to the EcoCenter for a Blue Heron ride. While 80 registered every week, usually 50-60 attended, and of those 50-60, most planned family to visit for this event. Some numbers as everyone was electronically registered:
Total Distance: For July: 7759 miles and For August: 8391 miles… Total 16,150 miles traveled.
Average distance: 16,150 miles/493 people= 32.76 miles traveled. For 2015, 28-30 miles was the average.
Without low income: 16,150/443: 36.7 miles = 36.46 miles traveled for average guest
Non 52732 zip codes: 16,150/401 equals 40.27 miles traveled on average.
Percent of outside 52732: 401/493 was 81.3 percent.This did not include some foreign guests! But it shows that locals were bringing outside guests and outside guests were coming to spend a day.
|Ad copy of Millin' Around|
3. Gift shop: We sell thousands of dollars' worth of items on consignment, and pay 7% sales tax on it. Along with our regular wholesale items we sell, what makes our gift shop unique is our custom wood items. Having a functional sawmill, we produce lumber through our demonstrations. To show how much money this is adding to the economy, our main source of logs was from our local park. These pine logs are not really furniture/lumber quality, but they are from Eagle Point Park. Instead of sending the logs to the chipper, they brought the logs here. We have made thousands of dollars' worth of wood items, and our items have traveled the world.
4. Last summer guests came to the museum via a pontoon boat. They were from Kansas and traveling the river on boat. One guest had a stiff back, and long story short, they were thinking about heading south to get a chiropractor, but they also wanted to go to the Candlelight, where their boat was. A volunteer of ours stepped all the way up. We got them into contact with a local chiropractor who heard what we were trying to do. So our volunteer drove them to the chiropractor. To their surprise, he also waited for them so they could get to the Candlelight in time for drink specials. A taxi had taken the group here and taken all but 2 back.
|An example of a consignment item|
5. Usually every day we are providing lunch options and we list off Lyons to Clinton to Fulton. Our WalMart is a huge destination as well for campers and travelers.
6. A space that area businesses use for classes and product sales.
7. The Power of Genealogy: Just today, we had two guests from Rock Island looking for a relative that came to Clinton in 1895 and quickly left. Numerous people visit your area everyday looking for resources and leads. They stay multiple nights and exhaust the archives. Here at the museum, I've often had to print off the contact information and times due to limited hours... They will always be back, looking for that next lead.
So what other ways to do contribute to the economy?
1. With two full time employees who live in Clinton, our salaries are being put back into the economy.
2. We try to procure local vendors when available to spend money raised from the community in the community.
3. Sales tax on ticket sales and gift shop sales