Failure To Promote
Stagnates Newberry Springs

      San Bernardino county Third District Supervisor James Ramos provides some opening remarks at the start of the Discover IE Tourism Summit at the San Manuel Village in Highland, California.

Where is Newberry Springs?


September 24, 2013

      Newberry Springs is a forgotten spot in the vast Mojave Desert that most motorists can't get through... and leave behind... fast enough.

      There is little promotion by the community; and little to promote.

      The only true promotional entity that the community has is the Newberry Springs Chamber of Commerce and that has nearly flat-lined.  The Chamber in the past has shared a booth at the county Fair Grounds in Victorville with the property owners association and the pistachio farmers and has given out free pistachios (grown in California's Central Valley).  Unfortunately, that public relations gesture is like trying to sell one's homemade cookies to the Girl Scouts.  It's aimed at the wrong market and it doesn't produce beneficial results.

      The joint venture of the Newberry Springs pistachio farmers, Chamber, and the property owners association to promote Newberry Springs at the county fair grounds in 2012, included the giveaway of free bags of pistachios (shown above).  Most of California's pistachios are grown in the Central Valley, and the giveaway was of pistachios from there.  Newberry Springs pistachios were apparently not distributed.  What are we ashamed of?   Click on above illustration for enlargement.

      The Newberry Springs-Harvard Real Property Owners Association has been ineffective and has nearly collapsed.  It is rumored that it currently has only about 15 paid members and that at its last monthly meeting in September there were no board members for over half-an-hour until Brittian was called in.

      New businesses in communities like Newberry Springs must be earned; they don't just appear.  Cities like Barstow and Victorville and most others are actively promoting themselves to developers.  Communities that don't promote themselves get ignored and left behind.

      Newberry Springs is a part of the Inland Empire.  On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, there was an excellent Inland Empire Tourism Council summit held at the San Manuel Village that had highly qualified speakers discussing the promotion of one's community or business as a tourist destination.  Over 100 people from the IE were in attendance to learn how to get the edge in promoting their community or business.

      Needless to say, the local Newberry Chamber wasn't there because it doesn't emphasize outside networking.  Rather, it is involved with Newberry Springs social events which isn't the traditional business model of a chamber.  The local chamber seems to have a reach-in rather than a promotional reach-out philosophy.

      Affirmative, there is the Pistachio Festival in November; but that is largely promoting pistachios to the locals and Barstow.  No jobs have been created nor businesses attracted to the community over the years of the event.

      Newberry Springs lacks pride.  It has allowed itself to become a dumping site for what others won't accept.  Be it solar plants or sludge, dump it in Newberry Springs.  Relay towers, high radiation cell towers, build them unopposed in Newberry.  Want to grade a large parcel of land and operate a rail siding for the temporary storage and distribution of huge wind turbines and blades without acquiring any of the necessary permits, come to Newberry.  The list goes on.

      None of these has brought us jobs; but they do degrade the Newberry landscape, increase the residents' health hazards, and continue to make Newberry a less desirable place to live or establish a new business.

      Newberry Springs needs basic small businesses; such as a laundromat and a small produce market that could handle staples like fresh milk.  Most other small communities have these things because they display more pride.  Like getting up in the morning, they take the effort to put on some makeup to better present themselves.

      The Community Alliance is criticized regularly by several people for not being more uplifting about Newberry Springs.  They want inspiring, perky, feel good stories.  These citizens fail to recogize that some organizations that we blog about are failing the community.  While it is recognized that these groups are doing some very good work, they are missing important core benchmarks; and the community is continuing to decline.

      The national economy is believed to be improving.  Travel is increasing.  And Newberry Springs has an opportunity to establish itself as a gateway destination for recreation.  Newberry is surrounded by natural resources; however, it lacks the business infrastructure that can be acquired by targeted planning and promotion.

      The Pistachio Festival, for instance, could take advantage of itself and promote off-site private excursions for its visitors to independently explore the community.  Perhaps have an Open House at a pistachio plant where visitors can see how pistachios are grown, harvested, selected, cleaned, roasted, flavored, and bagged; with a simple pistachio tasting bar to allow visitors an opportunity to sample the many delicious favors and purchase.  Or promote a Koi farm; or a ski lake.

      Tours can be arranged to a mining operation or perhaps a processing plant like Elementis.  Have a guided tour day at Fort Cady with the history of the Mojave Trail and learn about folklore heroes like Jedediah Smith.  Perhaps establish 4-wheel drive desert safari excursions to get tourists into the backcounty to the mines behind Calico or the Newberry Mountains.  With knowledgeable guides, the tours can be fascinating and profitable.

      Simple one-day boot camps on desert nature studies will draw visitors and employ our locals.

      These examples and many others can be featured throughout the year and expanded over time.  There are tourists Web sites that will promote these events for Newberry Springs for free.

      Far greater possibilities are known for Newberry Springs but the community needs to first grasp and demonstrate that it will embrace the seedlings.

      Tourists from the Northern Hemisphere and around the world are visiting the Mojave Desert for its beauty and rich western history.  They want to see and experience what is in our backyard that we take for granted.  Tourists create 917,000 tourism related jobs in California and $6.6-billion in state and local taxes.  An increase of 20-million more California visitors are expected in the next 5-years.  Doesn't Newberry Springs want to benefit from this?  Just stop and sniff the air for the smell of green!

      For decades the Newberry Community Service District has been missing the boat on many possibilities that it can do to improve Newberry Springs.  Nothing is going to happen unless people roll out-of-bed and do it.

Related link:
San Bernardino Sun story on Tourism Summit.

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