MONTICELLO – Newcomers to the area Jason and Alyssa Nelson plan to open a clothing and tourism business for the lake that will offer Jeep Lyft tours in Monticello, a tourism Instagram page showcasing tourist hot spots, clothing and accessories; and an online guide for local businesses to promote their services.
The clothing line will provide t-shirts, sweatshirts, swimwear, beanies, bags, koozies and more with the wave logo printed. Sales of these items are online, but the Nelson’s hope to grow into an in-person venue. An Instagram page is dedicated to the presentation of the clothes.
The tourism Instagram page and website guide will feature videos and photos of local businesses taken by the Nelson’s at no cost. When opening a new business, they will contact them to request permission to take photos and advertise their services to the community.
“In our first few months of life here, we just met everyone,” Jason said. “Like we literally walk around places and get to know the people and understand how the city works, the business climate and what the needs are.”
According to the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Tourism Tomorrow (IOTD), in 2013, tourism had a direct impact on the economy of White County by $ 21.2 million and local businesses by 17, $ 5 million.
The Nelson’s plan to help “build the community” more and donate a portion of their profits to community charities, initiatives and lake conservation.
“I think that he [Jason] and his wife [Alyssa] having a good business that promotes collaboration / partnership across the community which will encourage more people not only to start their own business but also to promote themselves through the tourism industry, ”said Deb Conover , Administrative Assistant for Economic Development for White County.
Jason is the Branding Director, advertises the company and manages partnerships. Alyssa is the Director of Content and in charge of their company’s social media and website.
Jason grew up in Northwest Indiana and Alyssa in Canada. She was a travel journalist and digital content editor for a magazine. Jason was vice president of marketing for almost eight years at The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s plantation near Nashville.
The couple met while Alyssa was on a press tour of Nashville and Jason was working in tourism public relations. They married overseas and started a long-distance tourism business called “Top Down Tours” in Nashville. Jason said they “fly away every three or four years until Alyssa gets her green card.”
The company was ranked # 9 on Tripadvisor for nightlife in Nashville. It featured themed tours of local bars and restaurants, murals, and popular attractions such as the Bluebird Cafe and RCA Studio B.
The couple lived together in Nashville and continued to operate the business until COVID-19 hit the tourist district of Nashville. They closed the business and moved to Canada before moving again to a house in Lake Monticello owned for many years by Jason’s family.
“Top Down Tours” was not the only business hard hit by the pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Board, as 2020 produced about 200,000 more business closures than the 600,000 average. personal services, such as barber shops and barber shops, have received the greatest hits with more than 100,000 closures above the regular rate.
But as the Nelson’s reassessed their new adventure, they didn’t want to give up tourism. Next, Jason remembered the summers on the lake and in Indiana Beach when his family visited him in the summer, so the couple felt drawn to rural White County instead of Nashville.
This shift to rural areas appears to be a growing trend among Americans after COVID-19. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly half of all adults preferred to live in a small town or rural area in 2020. In 2018, 39% of respondents said the same, showing a 9% increase by the.
According to the same study, people aged 18 to 34 showed a 10% increase in migration to rural areas – a promising figure since people aged 18 to 44 made up only 30% of the population. County of White in 2019, as forecast by White County Economic Development. Office.
“We have met a lot of people our age who have moved from Indianapolis or Chicago. Due to the pandemic, we have seen this movement of people to small towns to start new businesses and adventures, ”Jason said.
The Nelson’s hope families visiting the area will keep coming back or even stay for generations.
This awareness will continue to have an impact on the economy of White County. According to the IOTD, “of every tourism dollar spent in White County in 2013, 73 cents remained local and had a direct impact on White County’s gross product.”
“It’s a long-term strategy. We’re not coming to town and trying to make a quick buck or something, ”Jason said. “We want to develop long-term, lasting relationships and help promote the region – and not just during the summer months. We have ideas for organizing Christmas events or secret concerts throughout the year.
They also plan to give back to teens already in the community by reaching out to students interested in mass communications or business. They seek to offer internships to college or high school students.
Monticello1’s Jeep tour activity began on May 20, and the website and Instagram page went live on Memorial Day. Reservations for Jeep Lyft tours are available on the Lyft app.