HPG Chamber Invites Tourists to “Follow the LOVE” to Hopewell-Prince George VA

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The Hopewell-Prince George (VA) Chamber has launched an area tourism campaign with the unveiling of its LOVE sign at the newly renovated HPG Visitor Center on at Rt. 36, just off Interstate I-295. The multi-media sign, standing over six feet tall and 24 feet long, was installed in front of the Visitor Center on October 3, 2014.

Follow the LOVE to Hopewell-Prince George VA

We are inviting tourists to take a photo at the LOVE sign to document their travels and to post it on their Facebook pages and on our new ‘Love Hopewell-PG’ Facebook Page.

The Hopewell-Prince George (VA) Chamber has launched an area tourism campaign with the unveiling of its LOVE sign at the newly renovated HPG Visitor Center on at Rt. 36, just off Interstate I-295. The multi-media sign, standing over six feet tall and 24 feet long, was installed in front of the Visitor Center on October 3, 2014.

The Hopewell/Prince George area joins 32 other localities across Virginia as part of the Lovework program, a statewide branding initiative sponsored by the Virginia Travel Corporation. The VTC awarded the HPG Chamber a $1,500 matching grant for the project. The LOVE theme ties the Hopewell-Prince George area into the “Virginia is for Lovers” messaging, which has been recognized nationally and internationally for 45 years. The LOVE signs are shown on a map on the Virginia tourism site encouraging visitors to “follow the LOVE” across Virginia.

“We needed something new to attract attention,” says Chamber CEO Becky McDonough. “I think this sign does that. We are inviting tourists to take a photo at the LOVE sign to document their travels and to post it on their Facebook pages and on our new ‘Love Hopewell-PG’ Facebook Page. Also, we see this sign, created by local artisans, as our contribution to American Craft Week, a national event celebrating the tradition of American culture in artists’ studios, galleries, museums, schools and in the community.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2013, tourism generated $21.5 billion in revenue, supported 213,000 jobs and provided $1.42 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

The Meaning of LOVE:
The LOVE sign represents the dynamics of the Hopewell-Prince George area. The “L” is constructed of poles made to look like the pilings of a pier and representing the area’s four marinas. A bench is built into the L , or dock, for people to sit down and take photos. The “O,” which looks like a gear, is constructed of old pipe flange with the gear pieces cut out of one-quarter-inch steel. Below the gear are two ears of corn made out of urethane foam. The O represents local industry and agri-business. The “V” is made of corrugated metal taken from a 100-year-old barn. Painted aqua with flat-metal waves, the V represents the confluence of the James and Appomattox Rivers here. A hammered steel fish jumps from the top of the V. The “E,” which is made of medium density overlay marine plywood, is painted with stars and stripes to represent the area’s strong military presence.

About the Craftsmen who made the sign :
The LOVE sign was designed and created by Danny Riddle of Riddle Signs and Kirk Thore of H.K. Thore Metal Craft. Two other amateur craftsmen, Mark Shornak and Steve McDonough, helped with the construction. The LOVE sign is part of the Chamber’s efforts to draw attention and tourists to the HPG Visitor Center and to promote the area as a family friendly destination.

Danny Riddle, Mark Shornak and Steve McDonough are self-taught craftsman. Riddle founded Riddle Sign Company in 1973 and turned over the company to his son after 34 years so he could pursue an opportunity to share his passion for auto collision repair with Hopewell High School students. Kirk Thore received extensive training in welding while working in local industry. He worked 33 years for Allied Signal (now Honeywell). After retirement two years ago, he surprised himself by finding that people would purchase the metal sculptures he creates in his shop that are comprised mostly of recycled materials. Shornak is a construction superintendent, who has worked 43 years primarily in residential renovation of older upscale homes in the Richmond area. McDonough is the Broker/Owner of McDonough Real Estate Company, a career of 38 years.

Tourism Video Also Produced
In addition to the LOVE sign, the HPG Chamber is premiering an original video, “Follow the Love to Hopewell-Price George,” produced this summer by Chamber intern Lauren Core from Prince George County. Lauren is a senior at James Madison University, where she has been majoring in Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Digital Video. The video will be previewed at the HPG Chamber’s Annual Mixer on October 9 and will remain on display at the HPG Visitor Center. Another intern Olivia Kosciusko Tritschler, also of Prince George County and a junior at the University of Virginia, worked with Lauren on the video and helped launch the Chamber’s “Love Hopewell-PG” Facebook page and email newsletter, which has a circulation of 1,600. Michael Winn, another PGHS grad, now a student at William and Mary also assisted with the sign and video.

HPG Chamber took over Visitor Program on July 1:
With a three-year grant from the City of Hopewell and Prince George County, the Hopewell-Prince George Chamber took over management of the area’s Visitor Center and tourist promotion program on July 1. The HPG Chamber has renovated the Visitor Center and the staff has moved into the Center to combine both Chamber and Visitor programs. Founded in 1920, the Hopewell-Prince George Chamber of Commerce promotes business growth and workforce development and community connections. With over 300 Members, the HPG Chamber works to build strong community relationships with Hopewell and Prince George businesses and residents, and to form strategic partnerships in the region and state.

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Polly Elmore
PR Works, LLC
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