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Visit Some of Hickory’s Best Breweries This Spring

Bartender pouring beer

 

There’s no shortage of great breweries in and around Hickory. With such a tremendous variety of style and atmosphere, there’s something for everybody. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed patio setting with friends and a pale ale, or a cozy interior with a soothing stout, you’re bound to find a taproom that suits your tastes. Get to know a few local institutions below:

Granite Falls Brewing Company

Built into a 116-year-old former soda pop site, Granite Falls has become a go-to Hickory hangout.  When you visit, you may hear music on the dog-friendly patio or explore the history of the old Granite Bottling Works. On draft, the year-round offerings include the bold Hoppalachia, and springtime arrivals include the light but tart Blueberry Falls.

Fonta Flora Brewery

For a decidedly rustic vibe, check out the agriculturally-inspired Fonta Flora. The master brewers combine English and Belgian brewing sensibility with true Appalachian resources. You can taste the storied region’s unique terroir in the sweet honey of the Ticky Ticky Buzz, or the Appalachian heritage red corn in the Bloody Butcher grisette.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Enjoy a good brew for a good cause at Appalachian Mountain Brewery, who donate a portion of their taproom sales to local nonprofits and charities. Perineal offerings include the award-winning Boone Creek Blond Ale, chocolate and coffee Porter, and a variety of ciders. The drinks lighten up for springtime, with seasonal brews like the crisp Belay on Saison V11, the fruity yet bitter Dry County Pale Ale, and the Hoppy Snazzy Fresh, whose name tells you everything you need to know.

Blowing Rock Brewing

In addition to a selection of fine craft brews, Blowing Rock Brewing also features its own inn, complete with flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, and spa-inspired toiletries. Downstairs, brews range from the floral and citrus High Country Ale to the rich Big Chocolate Porter. In the springtime, don’t miss the refreshing Mountain Spring Juicy Hopped Blonde Ale.

You might also like: Check Out the Selection at Olde Hickory Tap Room

Learn More About Prospect Vision

See the best possible results from our proficient marketing approach for your automotive dealership. We offer a variety of services to help you drive traffic to your website, with E-mail Marketing, Direct Mail Marketing, Digital Marketing, and other campaigns expertly designed and executed to lead prospective buyers to your dealership.

If you would like to learn more about what Prospect Vision can do for you, come by and speak with one of our insightful team members today. We’re conveniently located at 920 Tate Boulevard SE, Suite 102, in Hickory, and we’re standing by to help you succeed!

Hickory’s Spring Fling Craft Show

Jewelry on display at street festival

Spring has sprung here in Hickory, and there’s no better way to welcome the season than with the Spring Fling Craft Show.

On April 13, more than 80 artisans and purveyors will stock their booths with all kinds of unique gifts and treasures. There’s no telling what you may find when you browse the tables across the Hickory Metro Convention center. You might come home with a charming necklace, a boutique fashion statement, or an elegant still life painting for your dining room.

When and Where

The event starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13. It will be held at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. It lasts until 4 p.m., and admission is free to the public.

What to Expect

With over 80 arts and crafts vendors at this year’s event, you can expect a little bit of everything. In the past, we’ve seen handmade wreaths, colorful jewelry, vibrant tie-dye, beautiful paintings, fragrances, apparel, and more. It all comes courtesy of regional artists and small businesses. Judges will survey the offerings at each table and declare the best-in-show by the day’s end.

Learn More About Prospect Vision

With our proficient marketing approach, you can expect tangible results for your automotive dealership. We offer a diverse range of services to help drive traffic to your website, with Digital Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Direct Mail Marketing, and other campaigns specifically designed and executed to lead potential buyers to your lot.

If you’d like to learn more about what Prospect Vision can do for you, we invite you to come visit us and speak with one of our team members today. We are conveniently located at 920 Tate Boulevard SE, Suite 102, in Hickory, and we’re ready to help your business succeed!

Attend the Catawba Valley Pottery Antiques Festival This March

Blue pottery works in okinawa

Surround yourself with North Carolina’s ongoing craft traditions this Saturday at the 22nd Annual Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival! The event brings in artisans from across the state to exhibit their beautiful stoneware, textiles furniture, baskets, and more. The non-profit event benefits the Catawba County Historical Association and the North Carolina Pottery Center.

When and Where

The main event begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 23 and lasts until 5 p.m. It will be held at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, located at 1960 13th Av. Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602. Admission is $6 for adults and $2 for children 12 years old and under. The Friday Night Preview Party requires tickets to be purchased online in advance for $45.

What to Expect

On Saturday, over 100 vendors will offer their handmade wares, demonstrating the continuation of a deep-rooted North Carolina craft. While technique and style vary from artist to artist, you’ll see the pottery made just as it has been for generations. From wheel to kiln, the glazed earthenware on display represents a genuine folk tradition that has survived through the Industrial Revolution and modern convenience. You’ll find elegant vases, colorful accent pieces, jovial jugs faces, contemporary coffee mugs, and more.

Don’t miss the preview party on Friday night, where you may enjoy live music, classic Southern food, a cash bar with two complimentary drinks, an early buying opportunity, and even a chance at winning a $200 shopping spree for the next day.

Learn More About Prospect Vision

We can custom-craft our marketing approach to support your automotive dealership. We deliver a dynamic range of of services to drive traffic to your website, with Direct Mail Marketing, Digital Marketing, E-mail Marketing, and other campaigns specially designed and implemented to lead potential buyers to your showroom.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Prospect Vision can do for your business, we encourage you to come by to speak with our team today. We are conveniently located at 920 Tate Boulevard SE, Suite 102, in Hickory, and we’re prepared to help your dealership succeed!

See What’s Playing This March & April At The Hickory Community Theatre

 

Whether you’re seeing a larger-than-life Broadway show or a strikingly high-quality community production, everyone loves the theatre. Lucky residents of Hickory, North Carolina, have access to a variety of excellent stage productions at the historic Hickory Community Theatre. See what’s taking center stage in the coming months, part of the season that marks this theatre’s 70th.

End Days

This off-beat, funny, thoughtful, and engaging production centers on a 16-year-old girl as she navigates her days with complicated parents, an Elvis-impersonating admirer, and the Apocalypse. The show runs March 1 through March 17, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon, this show follows an intelligent but misunderstood 15-year-old boy who is accused of killing his neighbor’s dog. His attempts to find the real culprit leads him on a life-altering journey and an earth-shattering discovery. This show runs March 29 through April 14, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Hickory Community Theatre

The theatre is located at 30 Third Street NW, in Hickory’s Old City Hall. With roots stretching all the way back to 1947, when the idea of the theatre was born, Hickory Community Theatre has grown in popularity, scope, and success over the years. The 2018–2019 season marks a milestone for the theatre, as it celebrates its 70th production lineup.

You can view the seating charts and purchase tickets on the theatre’s website. Season tickets and special ticket packages are also available.

Learn More About Prospect Vision

Get the best possible results from our expert approach to marketing for your automotive dealership. We provide a variety of services to help you drive traffic to your website, with Direct Mail Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Digital Marketing, and other campaigns carefully organized and implemented to get your dealership attention from prospective buyers.

If you would like to discuss what Prospect Vision can do for you, stop by and speak with one of our helpful team members today. We’re conveniently located at 920 Tate Boulevard SE, Suite 102, in Hickory, and we can’t wait to help you succeed!

Spend The Night At Catawba Science Museum

night at the museum

 

If your child lives for hands-on discovery, scientific exploration through play, and just plain fun, then the upcoming Night at the Museum at Catawba Science Center was planned with them in mind. The event takes place Friday, February 22, so there’s still time to register.

A Night to Remember

This event promises fun for the whole family, with hands-on science classes, a planetarium show, and a unique slumber party inside everyone’s favorite science museum! The classes are designed for children in third through sixth grades, but siblings are also welcome – and even parents will have a great time.

The price for members is $20 and for nonmembers is $25. The whole family can sleep amid their favorite Catawba Science Center exhibits and wake up to breakfast, Slime Time, and more exploration and play.

Register by calling (828) 322-8169 or emailing scheduling@catawbascience.org. Space is limited to 90 people, and payment must accompany registration. Don’t miss this special event!

Discoveries at the Science Center

Catawba Science Center brings learning to life for kids of all ages. This beloved venue invites visitors to discover through play and to learn by exploring.

Rotating and permanent exhibits and special attractions of all kinds make the Catawba Science Center a unique experience every time you visit. Here are a few visitor favorites:

  • Carpenter Hall – Featuring hands-on activities that foster critical thinking through free play, allowing kids to design, build, and explore with a variety of tools and materials at their disposal.
  • Aquarium – Freshwater and saltwater aquariums feature respective inhabitants to observe. There is also a coastal North Carolina habitat where visitors can see and resident marine creatures. There is also a shark and stingray touch pool and daily shark feedings.
  • Milholland Planetarium – Featuring exciting shows like Stars: Powerhouses of the Universe, Laser Legacies, and Seasonal Stargazing.

Other big draws include Germ Zone, Hall of Astronomy, Gross Labs, RaceWays, and Science Courtyard.

Related community content: Beer, Wine and Grub: Check out the Selection at Olde Hickory Tap Room

Let Prospect Vision Boost Your Dealership’s Success

Looking to drive traffic to your automotive dealership? Prospect Vision can help! We combine focused email, digital marketing, and direct mail initiatives to drive customers to your dealership, increasing sales, market share, and customer retention. Contact us to speak with one of our friendly marketing experts about how we can customize a plan for your unique business and get the fast, effective results you want!

Mastering Service Lane Marketing

service lane mechanic

“Customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

When customers shop, they either browse vehicles that might catch their fancy, or they gravitate toward a vehicle that fits their needs in the best possible way. How you approach these people and the environment you place them in is critical to your success.

If your customers don’t really need a new vehicle but are in an equity position, then you need to give them a promotional experience – an excuse to buy. But, if they need a new vehicle due to costly repairs or obsolescence, then you give them information – logic.

One size does not fit all

You’re more likely to convince customers to buy or trade for a vehicle if your strategy aligns with their mindset. You need to have your service lane ready for both promotional and logical purchase mindsets.

Q: What makes car shoppers consider a vehicle they don’t really need?

A: Positives

Unengaged customers are more likely to consider buying a new product if they anticipate a “win,” or if that product promises a feeling or an experience that is new or exciting. An example would be building off-road displays for crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks Or, an example of increased cargo capacity (bikes, kayaks, golf clubs, luggage, etc.) can be effective in giving the customer a visual for a new experience.

Unengaged customers are put off by taxing, factual details. One possible reason is that when shoppers imagine the feeling or experience a product promises, they’re using the brain’s daydreaming mode. You can only daydream if your mind is allowed to wander, and it can’t wander if your attention is absorbed in numbers.

Look at your service lane. Is it just nuts and bolts? (Pun intended) Is the service lane included in the dealerships sales activities? In addition to providing service information, does it communicate that NOW is a good time to trade up?

Q: How do you convert a “need” buyer?

A: Information

If you have a need buyer and it would be advantageous for them to switch to another vehicle, then you need to give them information. Give clear, detailed specifications and offer accurate comparisons to maintaining their current vehicle vs. buying or leasing a new one. Here is a checklist for the information buyer:

Fuel economy – Gas prices may be low now, but chances are they’ll rise again. The fuel economy of new U.S. cars and trucks hit a record 24.7 miles per gallon.

Repair costs – How much it costs to repair your current car. If your annual repair bills exceed a year’s worth of car payments, then it’s time to start shopping.

How much value your car continues to lose – Cars depreciate significantly over the first few years of ownership, often more rapidly than your monthly payments are paying down the loan, putting you upside-down financially.

Safety – Every car should have:

  • Backup camera
  • Curtain airbags
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Lane-departure warning
  • A “Good” score in the IIHS small-overlap test

Only the latest designs do well in the difficult small-overlap front crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Many of today’s high-tech cars work to avoid crashes altogether, warning the driver about hazards and sometimes responding to threats quickly. Advanced systems can automatically slow or completely stop a car. Visibility aids such as rear cameras and blind-spot monitoring show what’s around you, helping situational awareness.

Connected features – Almost every recent car has these as standard.

  • Hands-free phone usage
  • USB port for plugging in a phone
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity

Specialty items

  • Voice commands recognition
  • Built-in navigation
  • Ability to use integrated apps like Pandora or Spotify

At the very end, signing the contract to buy a vehicle is an emotional decision. It’s a significant commitment. But, knowing a customer’s mindset along the way can help you determine the best path to take on the way to a sale.

Reaching Women Shoppers Through Direct Mail

Woman reading direct mail

 

According to the National Mail Order Association, women have exclusive responsibility for sorting mail and choosing which items to keep for further consideration in two-thirds of U.S. households. By many other accounts, more than 80 percent of those who pick up the mail across the country every day are women, most of whom also serve as the primary shoppers both on and offline for their households.

Women also tend to read each and every direct mail piece addressed to them.

A report from the marketing website she-conomy.com found that 65 percent of new cars are purchased by the woman of the household.  American women spend about $5 trillion annually. This represents over a quarter of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. For retailers, women shoppers are their largest target audience.

As digital advertising continues to grow, the effectiveness of direct mail cannot be overlooked. As online shopping increases each year, it is important to note that studies show that 67 percent of online action is driven by offline messages. A study by the Direct Marketing Association shows that 78 percent of consumers react to direct mail immediately when they receive mail from a brand that they’re interested in. Forty-four percent visit the brand’s website and 34 percent search online for more information about the product.

Before you drop your next mail piece be sure to keep your female recipients top-of-mind:

  • Sell customer service — Women want to know how the transaction is going to be handled. They prefer nice and easy. Make a customer care representative available by phone to strengthen the relationship and pave the way for a smooth transaction.
  • Impart useful information — Women do their research before buying and like to know why making this purchase is a good decision. In addition to expressing why it’s a great deal, include why it’s a smart deal.
  • Be personal — Use first names in the copy and make each recipient feel special with messaging that is polite, factual and smart.

Women drive 70–80 percent of all consumers purchasing through their buying power and influence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a salesperson mishandle a female customer. Remember, they not only buy for themselves but also direct purchases for their partners, children, parents, in-laws, nieces and nephews. Placing direct mail in women decision-maker hands provides you with a tremendous opportunity. Female shoppers easily constitute a vast majority of vehicle purchase decision-makers.

From cars to healthcare to vacations, women are calling the shots at home. They pick up and read mail, place orders, and use coupons at retail locations. Dealers need to acknowledge the dominance of decision-making women and personally address them directly through the mailbox.

With January Comes Opportunity

Concept january message on blackboard with a Cup of coffee and mittens

 

It may seem counterintuitive to ramp up your marketing in January, but there are several valid reasons why not cutting back or going dark makes more sense.

  1. Tax Refund: Very few people wake up in the morning and decide to buy a vehicle that afternoon. Usually, there is a catalyst. Expensive car repair or one on the horizon, year-end bonus in hand and ready to spend, anticipation of a tax return earmarked for a new vehicle. Customers are in the shopping mode and you need to be visible.
  2. Year-end Trade-ins: Having quality trades from year-end sales and not telling anybody is like winking at someone in the dark.  If you don’t put strong marketing in place to let the public know, then you know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.
  3. Momentum: Dealerships run on momentum. Sales beget sales, service begets service and you can feel positive attitudes throughout the dealership. Keeping momentum after the yearend is the hardest mental challenge you’ll face all year. Continued advertising shows your team and the public you’re the place to do business.
  4. Competition: The car business never stops. Consumers don’t take off days. If they’re even thinking about buying a vehicle they are online and paying attention to advertising. What they are looking for is an excuse to pull the trigger. A reason to buy now. If you’re not providing a reason, the competition will.
  5. Hiring: Your dealership needs quality staff that can offer a top-notch customer experience on both the sales and service side of the business. For each day your dealership has an open sales role, you can lose up to $800 in gross profitability, and this number jumps to $1,200 for open service roles. December and January are also high-volume months for job applicants. Businesses across industries see an increase in job applicants throughout December and January, as employees start setting personal and professional goals for the coming year. You compete with other dealers. The dealer seen as aggressive and supportive of their people will get more consideration.
  6. Profits: Rarely does anyone ever save their way into a profit. You have to sell something, and for that you’ll need traffic. The only sure way to generate traffic is to be out there. You won’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat.

The smart money?

We admit that January is a buyer’s market. As such, we have specific opinions on where is the best place to spend your money.

Digital
  • Consumers spend an average of nine hours researching online before walking into a dealership, visiting an average of seven automotive sites, including manufacturer, dealer, and third-party websites.
  • The most influential factors in consumers’ selection of a dealership are, by far, a low price and having the right inventory. In fact, consumers are almost twice as likely to pick a dealer that identifies as having the “lowest price” over reputation.
  • Consumers prefer to do the majority of fact-finding online, and face-to-face communication becomes increasingly important to them at the end of the process, analysts report. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of consumers think they will get a better price by negotiating in person as opposed to online.
Service Lane Marketing
  • Your customers are your #1 source of new business.
  • Sales tools are available to identify customers in a position to trade.
  • 80 percent of sales emerge from appointments made online. Only in the service lane can a dealership talk to a customer ahead of time.
  • January is the perfect month to work the service lane due to it being in the heart of winter with two or three more months to go.

We’re not saying to go wild and bust the budget in January. What we are saying is there are still plenty of customers, and with a little effort and a little budget, you can keep your dealership motivated, maintain year-end momentum, and increase your profits.

Where To Buy Live Christmas Trees Near Hickory

Daughters carrying freshly cut Christmas tree outdoors winter.

Christmas is coming soon, which means it’s time for you to find the perfect tree for you and your family. Many people simply put up the same fake tree, year after year.  After you’ve done this several times, it might get old. After all, you miss out on all the things that come with a real tree – the pine smell, a unique shape each year, and much more. If you and your family are considering choosing a real tree this holiday season, be sure to buy a tree from one of these local Christmas tree farms near Hickory.

Santa’s Forest Christmas Tree Farm

You and your family can make a day of it when you visit Santa’s Forest Christmas Tree Farm. At the farm, you can feed animals, taste authentic moonshine, take a ride on the 400-foot zip line, visit the antique equipment display, and more. Providing Cypress Christmas trees and handmade wreaths, Santa’s Forest is a great place to go to find all the holiday greenery you need. You’ll find the farm located at 4071 Herter Road, Lincolnton, NC 28092.

Helms Christmas Tree Farm

At Helms Christmas Tree Farm, you and your family can visit during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. to dark
  • Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to dark

The farm offers a wide array of tree options such as:

  • Carolina Saphire
  • White Pine
  • Leyland Cypress
  • Red Cedar
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Fraser Fir

You’re certain to find the perfect tree for you – including other greenery options. Some of the greenery you can choose from include:

  • Wreaths
  • Garland
  • Kissing Balls
  • Window Sprays

You’ll find the Helms Christmas Tree Farm located at 6345 Christmas Tree Lane, Vale, NC 28168. Stop by and take a look today!

Learning More About Prospect Vision

At Prospect Vision, we work for car dealerships, offering the following:

  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • E-Mail Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Much More!

We understand how important it is to drive traffic to your website. We also know that car shoppers receive information from a wide range of sources – mail, email, and more. That’s why marketing your company in a variety of ways is important. With Prospect Vision, we’re here to help by providing cost-effective ways for you to reach drivers in your area. We have hundreds are satisfied clients and we’re here to help you each step of the way. Stop by to speak to one of our friendly team members today. You will find us conveniently located at 920 Tate Blvd SE Suite 102, Hickory, NC 28602. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The Future Is Your Service Lane

service lane mechanic

Note: This blog is a combination of information from industry experts, publicly held companies and Automotive News futurists.

“For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans, and for the past 120 years, it has been the automobile. Now, we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.” – Bob Lutz

Dealership Structure Will Change

Experts are predicting that dealerships of the future will split into thirds over the next 10 to 20 years. One third will be for mobility services, i.e, autonomous vehicles, fleet and subscription-plan management services. According to an Automotive News article, “In the new world, some consumers want group leases on one self-driving car to share or to buy monthly subscriptions that allow them to switch from one kind of vehicle to another as their needs change day to day. In addition, large fleets have emerged offering ride-hailing services to either their members or the general public. “

Another third will come from those consumers who own a personal vehicle and either use it or monetize it by renting it out when they aren’t using it.

Refocus on Service

The final third is in service. No one can predict what the future vehicle will look like, but whether it’s autonomous, electric, ride sharing or subscription vehicles they’ll have to be serviced somewhere. If the future of the dealership is mobility centers, then upping your game in service now makes perfect sense. Service has long been the most profitable part of a dealership. In the Automotive News article “Forecasting the Future of Auto Retailing” the authors predict that “for the most part, the dealership of 2030 is fleet management and distributions centers. They have the capital to invest in new tools and training for service technicians to adapt to electric, autonomous vehicles service and maintenance requirements, as well as those of rapidly proliferating drones.”

This is a good thing. Chances are that these vehicles, because of the technology, will have strict service cadences. They’re not going to let just anyone maintain, upgrade and service these vehicles. If dealers can get past selling tangible assets such as cars and trucks and look at themselves as mobility and technology centers, the possibilities are endless.

What can you do now?

Focus on your service department now!

Offer same day/next day appointments

The aftermarket competition will tell your customers that they can bring their vehicle in “today” or “tomorrow.” So your answer has to be one day.

Optimize shop productivity 

If you are at 100 percent or higher, you need to hire technicians because you can’t reduce the wait time for your customers to come in unless you have the capacity to complete the repairs in a timely manner.

Refine your appointment process 

If you are like most dealers, 80 percent of your customer pay sales start with a telephone call to your dealership. Most of these calls go to a Service Advisor. In other cases, they go to a BDC, CDC or to an appointment coordinator.

Call “no-shows” 

Everyone has customers who do not show up for their appointments. Oftentimes, they just forgot.

Call customers on special order parts

If you walk back to your parts department you most likely will find a section of bins that your Parts Manager has designated for “Special Order Parts.”

Schedule your customer’s next appointment

Before your customers leave your dealership, you should automatically schedule their next service appointments based on time and/or mileage. Give them a card with the date and time of their next appointment.

2030

If the prognosticators are correct and the future will be here by 2030, then there is no time to waste. The sooner you get your customers trained and accustomed to coming to you for service, the better off you’ll be. Automotive News reports through a COX Automotive study that franchised dealers are snagging fewer than one-third of repair orders. The average vehicle makes 2.7 service visits a year. Quick-lube shops, tire stores and independent repair outlets account for about half of these visits; dealers take 30 percent, and the rest go elsewhere — body shops, retail stores and specialist businesses.