Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau publishes 2013 guide

BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK (STAFF WRITER spytak@republicanherald.com)
Published: January 30, 2013

With their own camera, computer and ingenuity, the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau has once again published its annual visitors guide in-house.

"We've already gotten good feedback from people," Keri Johnson, the bureau's communications coordinator, said Monday. "The other day, we got an email from someone who recognized the two people on the cover. And I took that photo. It was at Locust Lake."

The 52-page 2013 visitors guide, which is the same size as the 2012 edition, is being distributed to businesses and tourist attractions across the county and at state welcome centers and visitors bureaus in counties including Dauphin, Cumberland, Susquehanna, Luzerne, Lehigh, Chester, Centre, Pike, Bucks, Columbia, Montour, Allegheny and Erie, according to Regina Gargano, bureau executive director.

It includes more than 10 local photos, some submitted and some taken by Johnson.

A total of 100,000 copies were printed and copies are available at the bureau's office at Union Station in Pottsville.

The email Johnson received came from Denise Calderone, the marketing coordinator for Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson, Orwigsburg.

"Our pick up and delivery man had to go upstate to pick up a bike yesterday and he came back with the new visitors guide saying 'Hey, I know these people,' " Calderone said in the email sent Jan. 25.

The cover features two motorcyclists driving, Cherie Schaeffer Bogotuik and Geoff Bogotuik, a couple from Orwigsburg. Cherie Bogotuik is Calderone's sister.

"I shoot pictures throughout the entire year of different scenes and different things for inside the guide and, possibly, the cover," Johnson said.

While the 2012 guide featured the "outdoors" as its theme, the theme for this year's guide is "being an American original," Johnson said.

Through the years, the bureau has considered numerous options to publish its annual guide. In 2010, it hired an independent firm to print the 2011 guide at no cost. But the bureau was not pleased with the results, Gargano said previously

When the 48-page 2011 "Official Schuylkill County Visitors Guide" was released in February 2011, some county residents called the bureau to complain because it contained photos that were not representative of the county, Gargano said.

So, the bureau developed its 2012 guide in-house. With positive feedback, the bureau decided to continue the trend.

Last year, the guide cost $32,890 to publish. Advertising brought in $28,725 and the $4,165 balance was covered from visitors bureau funds, Gargano said previously.

Gargano did not have the exact figures for this year's guide when contacted Monday.

"The guide cost is approximately $32,000," Gargano said.

Gargano is in charge of sales. Donna Setlock, the bureau's office manager, handles the billing. And Johnson uses Photoshop and other software to do the layout.

Meanwhile, the bureau's board of directors has a "Visitors Guide Committee" which approves of the final product before it goes to print. Its members include: Patrick M. "Porcupine Pat" McKinney, Jerry Enders, Noreen O'Boyle, Sharon Nassar and J. Clair Zimmerman.

Johnson has worked for the bureau for eight years. In her experience, she said putting together the guide in-house is much easier than hiring an outside firm.

"When selling ads and designing ads, we all know what's going on, we all talk to one another. It just makes everything seamless. And if anybody has a question or a concern, they can talk to Gina with sales or Donna about billing. Or they can talk to me about design. All questions can be answered with one call instead of calling somebody else to find out how it's going," Johnson said Monday.

The guide also contains information from more than 70 local advertisers and a fold-out map of the county.

It was printed by Seiders Printing Co., Pottsville, through a facility in State College, KB Offset.

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schuylkill-visitor-guide-2013Download the 2013 Schuylkill County Visitor's Guide (6.32MB) courtesy of the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau.