Standish chamber drawing attention to local businesses during Battle on the Bay
STANDISH — The Standish Chamber of Commerce is moving to help its members drive up business during the second annual Battle on the Bay snowmobile drag race.
The chamber, one of the sponsors of the event, is offering its members a chance to display 3x6 banners advertising their business along Sagatoo road leading to the drag race, from US-23 to the Eagle Bay Marina in Standish, where the races will be held on Feb. 11-12.
Chamber President Andrew Radatz said the idea came up in December as a way to bring in customers who would not normally visit the local businesses.
Radatz said the previous year’s race brought in approximately 10,000 visitors to the area to see the event, and he believes those people could help bring in money to local businesses.
“We wanted to capitalize for businesses any way we could,” Radatz said. “We thought we’d make the opportunity available to them.”
Radatz said the chamber has space for about 20 banners along the route, and already six members of the chamber have purchased space.
Tim Dixon, owner of Extreme Graphics & Signs in Standish, is putting together the banners themselves. He said the cutoff date for interested parties is Feb. 3, adding that the designs should be kept simple.
“What we’re asking for is the logo, or business name; a tagline, city and state, and website,” Dixon said. “We want to keep it very simple so it’s not cluttered.”
Dixon said the pricing was dependent on a few factors, including the location of the banner. The banners will face southbound traffic along Sagatoo Road, he said.
Radatz said the banners closer to M-13 would cost more than ones planted by the marina.
“The most prominent spots are by the corner,” Radatz said.
After the event, businesses can keep the banners to use next year, Radatz said.
Interested chamber members can call Dixon, the chamber office, or Ruth Caldwell.
The Battle on the Bay is being put together by the Wolverine Pride Association, and is sponsored by the Standish chamber, Forward Corporation, LaLonde Trucking & Excavating, Soaring Eagle Resort, the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, and the Saginaw-Chippewa Tribal Council. The Michigan Snowmobile Drag Racing Association is also helping organize the event.
Gary Foco, event coordinator, said he is expecting racers from places such as North and South Dakota, New York, and throughout Canada, as far as Saskatchewan.
During last year’s event, Foco said local businesses saw a boost in activity from visitors, who shopped, ate, and purchased fuel in the area.
The primary concern right now is the weather, Foco said, which has been warmer than normal. He said many of the 200 competitors interested in the event have said they will only confirm a week ahead of the event, as other snowmobile events this season have been canceled due to warm weather.
Dixon echoed Foco’s sentiments, noting that participation in the banner program has been below expectations so far.
The event still has pull, however. Foco said between all the sponsors, close to $10,000 has been raised as bonus money for the winners of the various snowmobile races, beyond the money raised for the pot through registrations. He said with other races cancelled, more competitors may be drawn to this one if the weather permits.
Proceeds from the event will go towards area athletics programs through the AuGres Wolverine Pride Association, Foco said.