Elkin Explorers were all in when they joined the group expecting only to improve their communities, but on Thursday night Jeff Eidson revealed there were new benefits to being an Elkin Explorer.
“The first and most exciting is your new Explorer card,” said Explore Elkin Chair and Town Commissioner Jeff Eidson. “In addition to providing many valuable discounts and benefits, the Explorer card is intended to encourage each of us to become better ambassadors for our local businesses.”
Being an ambassador for Elkin is significant to the goals of the Explore Elkin initiative.
“It takes all of us working together to move forward as a community and the Explorer group is key to our efforts to work together,” said Eidson during the first Explorer Appreciation Dinner. “By investing in Explore Elkin, you have demonstrated your commitment to this effort and I hope that commitment will continue to grow as we become community ambassadors together.
“The primary thing is to get people together talking about the same vision,” said Eidson during a previous interview, “talking about where we’re trying to go. The ultimate vision for the Explorers group is a team of dedicated ambassadors for Elkin. As we develop that group, my hope is to educate them and to train them and to expose them to all the things our community has to offer.”
One of the ways Explore Elkin plans to do this is through the Explorer card, which will provide specific discounts at a variety of Elkin locations such as Yoga On Main, Cedarbrook Grill and Southern On Main, as well as reaching across the river to Hometown River Co. and Starmount Crossing Cinema.
For a complete list of Explorer card benefits or to find out how a business can be included in this program, email ExploreElkin@gmail.com.
“A big part of [the] success [of Explore Elkin] is each of us becoming enthusiastic promoters of our community to our friends, particularly our out-of-town friends, to our business associates and to visitors to our community we come in contact with,” said Eidson to those gathered to see the performance of “12 Angry Jurors” by Foothills Theatre, which included Commissioner Tommy Wheeler as Juror #6.
Eidson has often talked about a hypothetical situation where, while doing something as mundane as pumping gas, an Explorer can promote Elkin.
“Let’s say it’s Wednesday, [you could say] you really ought to checked out dinner at Harry’s,” said Eidson, “and I just try to tell them some story. If we’re going to have 250 couples as Explorers, 500 people doing that same thing, suddenly we’re telling our story thousands and thousands of times, really every week.
“Hopefully we’ll get the Explorer group motivated to tell the story [and to] invite their friends and family here,” said Eidson, “something that will be the bedrock of trying to push our story.”
The Explorers are a financial bedrock as well.
“I would like to thank all of you, our Elkin Explorers and Explore Leaders,” said Eidson. “You and the other 250-plus individuals who have contributed financially to Explore Elkin have made all our accomplishments possible.”
One of the most significant ways they have done that is through such financing opportunities as memberships fees of $100 or more.
“One of the goals of the Explorer group is pretty obvious and that’s funding,” said Eidson. “The Explorer group provides the primary source of cash funding for Explore Elkin and with the very generous matching challenge donation from [Commissioner] Skip and Diane Whitman at our kick-off event, we have been able to raise over $30,000 from the Explorer group.”
Eidson explained that financial investment usually improved involvement.
“Just a little bit,” said Eidson, “that gets people invested. They put a little money in the game, put a little skin in the game, internally they view that activity a little differently. You’re more inclined to open the emails, you’re more inclined to hopefully participate in the events and get engaged in what we’re doing.
“For your financial contribution and even more for your interest and participation in the conversation, we thank you.”
Eidson also thanked several others who helped make the evening possible including Commissioner Cicely McCulloch and The Liberty for hosting the event with the assistance of a meal courtesy of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital’s Warren Bates.
Served by Eidson’s daughter, Alexandra Kakouras, and the Interact Club, the meal was complemented by wine from Elkin Creek Vineyards and finished with dessert from Roxxi and Lulu’s.
Recognizing daughter-in-law Natalie’s contribution to the hours spent working on Explore Elkin instead of at G&B Energy, Eidson said, “She is the organization to my chaos and I assure you tonight could not have happened without her.”
Eidson also took time to recognize other organizations and individuals, like the Elkin Valley Trails Association, the town of Elkin and its Jaycees and library, the Foothills Arts Council and Creative Economic Development Consulting as well as express a touching gratitude for his wife.
“I think most of you know that Kristi pretty much saved me from myself so I guess she gets the credit for us being here at all.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.