PN4 puts a buzz on local biz
By N3 Features
“Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business. ”- Dave Barry
Earlier in the week we went out to the Heritage Market over on Maple Island near Hesperia where the seemingly tireless Julie Burrell of The Right Place hosted the 4th annual Pitch North competition. PN is a kind of speed dating exercise for budding businesses with a chance to win some supportive capital for their ideas. The event was held in a converted barn in back of the Market (a seriously good place for pies by the way) during one of those periodic coalescences of high heat and equally lofty humidity the Mitten is renown for.
Several dozen folks from the area were there with some providing support to their favored contender and others just taking in the unique competitive demos. The panel of judges included sometime N3 contributor Lola Harmon Ramsey and Martha Gabrielse, a fellow Newaygonian who has also written a guest article or two for us.
All in attendance sweated a bit but none more than those who took center stage and delivered their pitches. And being that N3 is a huge homer we rooted for the three Newaygo County folks who finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
Northern Rustic Designs showed us some non-ikean rustic woodgoods that looked pretty enticing. Cool stuff with a wide variety of products. They nabbed second.
Breann Conkle‘s Country Breeze Massage out of Hesperia was able to capture 4th. N3 is way in favor of increased access to massage because of its stress reducing qualities and a large group of the citizenry could use a good calming down now and then.
Then there was Camp Box, a Newaygo based business renting out all things camping for those who wish to experience an occasional outdoor experience without having to take out a second mortgage for equipment.
We loved the’ camping made easy’ slogan because if you’ve ever been around folks who are novices and made the mistake (usually first of many) of deciding to put up their tent for the first time at the site, it is truly brutal.
We have personally witnessed the transformation that occurs when a couple, new to camping, excitedly arrives at the site and begins the process, generally eschewing any directions that likely fall out when they unpack the new digs.
The enthusiasm wanes quickly, frustration sets in and the talk often regresses to a lot of accusatory questions and comments like “Where is the (insert expletive) hammer, or stakes, or poles, etc.” This is followed by the conversation transitioning into terse remarks that eventually blossom into snarky sarcasm.
“Well Mr. ‘Oh yeah, I’ve put up tents before’ what’s your next brilliant idea?”
Sometimes one person walks away, sometimes someone cries, sometimes both cry and sometimes the twosome will retrieve the directions which are by now undecipherable due to the unsuccessful initial attempts. Finally they are approached by a seasoned camper with a dollop or two of pity who says “need a hand?” This leads to a modicum of mortification but ultimately the raising of the tent.
It tends to taint the weekend a bit and even if mutual forgiveness is achieved there are likely no plans made by the campfire for the next excursion.
Instead, those looking for a camping experience without commitment can test the waters of outdoor overnights hassle free and see if their future might involve similar journeys into nature.
Or perhaps opting for a nice B&B, because camping is much like opera. Either one takes to it and loves it or strives to avoid any and all future exposures to it.
An interesting sidebar to this endeavor is that prior to going to PN4 N3, where we strive to be the media finger on the pulse of the area, had no knowledge of these three businesses operating in our county.
Three that can now be referenced particularly after putting faces to their names and hearing what they do from their own stories.
Now if we hear of someone searching for a massage therapist Ms. Conkle is added to the mix since we liked her presentation. Impressed with the designs of Northern Rustic their biz will come up in future conversations about local woodworkers.
And Camp Box?
Believe us, this is a wonderfully creative camping option that may very well save a relationship or two down the line.
Kudos to all who were involved in putting this on. And while we’re certain the prize money was the main course…
A little side of exposure certainly can’t hurt.
“Mom, camping is not a date; it's an endurance test. If you can survive camping with someone, you should marry them on the way home.”- Yvonne Prince, The Vinyl Princess
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