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The Artisans Center of Virginia (ACV), in partnership with Bedford County citizens, announced last week the initiation of the development of the Artisan Trail Network program in Bedford County.
Under the leadership of the Artisan Trail Bedford Pioneer Task Force, in partnership with the Artisans Center of Virginia, Bedford County citizens are embarking on a new public-private initiative to further strengthen the relationships and connectivity of their creative and agricultural businesses while emphasizing unique visitor experiences, special places and locally-made products.
According to Mitchell Bond, co-owner of the Goose Creek Studio Gallery and Custom Framing, and community organizer of the Artisan Trail Bedford Pioneer Task Force, “Having an artisan trail in Bedford will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience our local creative community. More importantly, because the trail brings together folks from all over the county, it will also be a great way for those who live here to get to know their neighbors better.”
“The Bedford County Economic Development Authority and the Office of Economic Development got behind this project because we see a direct correlation between the strength of the arts and a community’s quality of life,” said Traci Blido, director of economic development. “The Bedford Artisan Trail will no doubt grow tourism and sales through its marketing efforts, but it will also bring a great awareness to the high amount of skilled craftspeople and businesses that we have here.”
“Bedford’s Artisan Trail is providing us with the opportunity to showcase to our local citizens and to visitors the creations of our very talented and diverse artisans, our wonderful assortment of gallery spaces and musical venues, and our rich agricultural traditions.” added Sergei Troubetzkoy, director of tourism.
At its core, the ACV Artisan Trail Network with its community loops is designed to attract visitors to artisan studios, agri-artisan farms and local craft businesses, while creating opportunities for participating and supporting businesses. Research, based on similar trails in western North Carolina, has shown that 97 percent of travelers make a purchase somewhere along the trail, artisan studios & farms have shown an increase of 23 percent in sales and craft shops and galleries reported a 28 percent increase in revenue.
“We believe the Artisan Trail is a fun and productive way of promoting