Small Towns Could Be Key to Kent County Tourism - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Small Towns Could Be Key to Kent County Tourism

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Jan Crumpley knows where to find history.

The co-owner of the Delaware Store on State Street makes maps of the historic sites around the area noted that a lot of visitors who stop by after visiting places like the old statehouse, which is located nearby. She's happy Kent County Tourism is focusing on towns and history in its recent re-branding effort.

"Like it or not, you can't make this stuff up. We do have 18th century buildings, next to 19th century buildings, next to 20th century buildings and it makes us really quaint."

It's that quality--quaintness--coupled with a slower pace that Kent County Tourism is trying to focus on. A marketing firm hired by the corporation said its research showed those facets of the area are liked by visitors.

But Wendie Vestfall with Kent County Tourism said the challenge is to get the thousands of visitors to events like NASCAR and especially Firefly to stick around and explore.

"They camp out for four or five days, why not venture out to Downtown Dover and see what's out there? Why not go up to Smyrna and the Painted Stave and check out the distillery?"

Some store owners in towns dotting the U.S. 13 corridor said they're hopeful the re-brand will lead to more customers. Barbara Gooden of the Simply Charming antique and furniture store in Wyoming said she already sees a lot of customers who keep making trips back because of the quaint charm found in the store.

For that reason, she thinks the focus on small towns and communities can help businesses like her.

"I think anything they can do to help us out is good, whoever it is," she said.

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