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Hale to retire from Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau
Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau director to retire
After eight years at the helm of the Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau, James Hale will retire Jan. 31 to focus on personal writing projects and the Grove City Museum.
“It’s time to step aside,” Hale said. “I hit the magic number, 66, here real soon. It’s time to bring somebody in young and fresh. I’m not going to disappear, but I just think it’s the right time.”
Hale says he has enjoyed his eight years as director of the bureau and feels he’s leaving it in good shape, but he is looking forward to researching and compiling his family tree, as well as working with his wife, Linda, to continue expanding the museum and documenting oral histories of Grove City.
Hale also has had careers in the newspaper field and housing industries.
Hale served as general manager for the Messenger Newspapers, as well as wrote for a Virginia newspaper and was a U.S. Air Force newspaper editor.
He also worked as a public relations representative and photographer for Columbia Gas and spent 12 years in what he calls “a job about as near perfect as it could be” at Greenlawn Homes in Columbus, where he worked in sales and business operations.
Hale’s tenure with the bureau has been full of growth, and he says his proudest accomplishment was the relationship he has helped the bureau develop with the local hotel industry.
“Sharing information has helped the bureau decide on the best means and ways to promote Grove City as a lodging destination,” Hale said. “When hotels are busy and doing good business, that benefits restaurants, retailers, service based business and entertainment. Someone spending the night in Grove City helps the entire business community.”
By carrying an advertising theme throughout the bureau’s literature, Hale has helped create branding for Grove City.
The Grove City Visitors and Convention Bureau is a part of the community that not only promotes local events, but also establishes relationships with hotels and other travel businesses throughout the Midwest.
Hale said one of the biggest challenges he has had is maintaining an operating budget based on taxes collected through the bed tax income. This current year, the bureau is working with a $230,000 budget, which has to be used for all advertising, employees and social marketing.
“We’ve got to go where the business is and the business is always changing,” Hale said. “We have to be extremely flexible with trends. Next year we will be expanding into social marketing with the help of the new director.”
No one has been named as a replacement at this time, but Rick Louder, president of the bureau, said the organization hopes to have someone hired by November.
Hale said Grove City is easy to advertise because of what it offers.
“I think Grove City is just a near perfect place to live, where most people are very down to earth, very community minded, very respectful of the city and what it offers,” Hale said. “I’ve been fortunate to see the city come from an operation where it hardly had anything, to today where we’ve got good roads and an excellent service department that keeps the snow off the roads. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have. It’s really a great place to live, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Central Ohio other than right here.”
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