CRAFT Case Study: Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce, Ouray County

Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce was awarded a Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Recovery Mentor program by the Colorado Tourism Office in fall 2020. The objective of this CRAFT Mentor program was to create a collection of winter-focused content that could be adapted for a variety of purposes, including marketing to potential visitors, messaging to visitors while in Ridgway, and messaging to local business owners and community members to support a Shop Local campaign.

All content was focused on building awareness of socially distant and safe winter experiences in Ridgway, to position Ridgway as a unique, year-round destination that is a leader in ethical and responsible recreation and travel practices, and to encourage visitors and residents to support local businesses in Ridgway. 

CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program Results

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Mentor with over 30 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing and communications in emerging and established destinations throughout Colorado, to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Development of content for a base article that includes a variety of topics centered around Ridgway’s five marketing themes: Outdoor Adventure, Arts and Entertainment, History and Heritage, Health and Wellness, and Culinary Experiences. The content also emphasizes socially distant activities, safe and responsible travel practices and the promotion of local businesses. The article is intended for use by the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce to provide content for website copy, social media campaigns, and other winter marketing and local messaging efforts. 
  • Development of content for a winter e-newsletter sent to 5,000+ subscribers promoting a winter vacation to Ridgway, while also incorporating Ridgway’s five marketing themes and responsible travel messaging.
  • Development of a banner to be placed in the town’s park, aimed toward vehicular traffic passing through Ridgway with the message to shop, eat and stay in Ridgway. 
  • Development of content for a Facebook campaign and website blog post educating residents and visitors on the benefits of shopping locally and encouraging support of Ridgway businesses. 

“Capacity at the Chamber was significantly reduced in the spring and early summer due to COVID-19 impacts on lodging occupancy tax revenues, so having a mentor provide 50 hours of technical assistance was especially valuable to our efforts. It’s important for us to be nimble and react to changing conditions, and the content created will be repurposed for a variety of uses this winter and into the future.” - Hilary Lewkowitz, Marketing Director, Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce



About CRAFT Recovery Mentor

The Colorado Tourism Office developed the Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) to support communities across the state integrate tourism into their economic development strategies and develop new visitor experiences aimed at attracting increased traveler spending.  

The CRAFT Recovery Mentor program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for Colorado tourism partners to advance one or more tourism strategies that bolsters their response to a recent crisis or natural disaster.


Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce
(800) 220-4959