Dear Westville Board,
You say that Stewart county has failed Westville, you say that we didn’t support it while we had it, and you say that it cannot continue to exist in such a rural location. I say that you are wrong. I say that YOU have failed Westville. I also want to say that, with some help, you can turn it around.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to see some very simple mistakes that you have made and that you continue to make as you run Westville into the ground… And, let’s face it; you will continue to make these mistakes wherever you move Westville to. First and foremost, while Westville is a museum, it is also a business and you HAVE to treat it as such.
When you do a search for Westville, not much comes up. You have a website that does not seem to fully represent Westville, and that is pathetic.
More pathetic still, is the complete lack of a social media presence. When you click the Facebook link on your website it leads to a group… It should lead to a business page. When you search for a business page, one does not come up. HOWEVER, if you are lucky enough to be friends with someone who is a friend of Historic Westville on Facebook, your PERSONAL PROFILE does come up as an option to add as a friend. This is not an appropriate way to have a presence on Facebook… It looks like a child is handling your social media.
Sadder even still, when you click the Instagram link, you have set up a profile appropriately, but there are only 36 photos on there. A photo should be posted every day that you are open, there’s no excuse not to. Even worse than not having photos, is the fact that hashtags are not being taken advantage of in order to get you more followers. Speaking of followers, you only have 13 and are only following 4. This is inexcusable.
Now, on Youtube, you do have quite a few videos (BRAVO, I am very proud of you for this!) but still, the amount of views are lacking, which means that you are just uploading them for no reason. You cannot upload videos to Youtube unless you intend to share them. Otherwise, how do you expect them to be seen?
After appropriately taking advantage of social media (FREE ADVERTISING!!!) you have to do one last thing: GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT! You cannot expect people to come out just to walk around and look at a bunch of old buildings and houses… They want to EXPERIENCE it! You have to bring back the volunteers. Bring back the blacksmith. Bring back the potter. Bring back the quilters. Bring back your SKILLED WORKERS. Bring back the gingerbread. Bring back the biscuits. Bring back the lemonade. Bring new things into the gift shop… You’d be surprised at how many people would purchase a decal to go on their car in support of the museum (I should know, I make them for several local businesses and they keep ME in business!).
To gain more support from local businesses, and from law enforcement, make them feel involved again. When you have something special going on, ask the local restaurant (Snooky’s) to cater. Get the local t-shirt shop (Bubba Graphics) to make shirts for the gift shop. If you would like to try the decal idea, by all means, contact me and I’ll give you the first 10 that you order for FREE. If someone breaks down at the village, offer to call a local towing service (Harvey’s Garage) for them. Start cooking again, and once a month (or once a week) invite local law enforcement in for a free breakfast (and you can voice your concern about cleaning up the streets on the way to the village). Ask the county commissioners and the city council for their help and opinions. MAKE YOURSELF A PART OF THE COMMUNITY!!!
Now that I have said all of this, I want to say one last thing: The problem with Westville is the board and the administrative staff: NOT THE LOCATION. Get off your EGOS and run the place like a small business. If you haven’t done that before, many of us locals have, and will be more than willing to give you some ideas that have worked for us!
Alicia Lee Canington
Alicia’s Sign Shop
Weston, GA 31832