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Riverboat passengers could provide boon to Chester businesses

updated: 2/28/2019 4:36 PM

To the editor (an open letter to the Chester business community): Please join us to learn about the visiting riverboats and how your business and our community can benefit from their passengers becoming our guests.

The visiting riverboats and their guests have been increasing in numbers and we would like to discuss ideas and strategies to not only improve their experience but to increase their spending while they are here and keep them coming to our lovely little town.

We will discuss ideas to bring passengers in your door and ways that we can get them excited about our wonderful little city. We want them to fill out their ship surveys and tell all the staff that Chester is awesome, and that they want to come visit us again.

There are certainly larger cities along the river's edge. We know there are certainly larger shopping centers, wonderful museums and that big cities have taxicabs. That being said, Chester has small shops and personal service, a friendly neighbor who offers rides to our visitors.

We have our Popeye claim to fame, our Character Trail and we are rich with our wonderful history. We have the best volunteers, who go above and beyond to make riverboat passengers feel like welcome guests.

We have been told that Chester is always a warm and welcoming stop on the river, that we have the friendliest and most accommodating citizens. The riverboat passengers tell us they don't feel like tourists or intruders here, they feel welcome and wanted. Our goal is to keep it that way, take it a step further and make it THE stop on the river.

We want to keep the boats stopping here and your input, thoughts, suggestions, questions and participation will help us in our effort to do so.

Help us make Chester, Illinois the most memorable riverboat stop on the Mighty Mississippi. Attend one of two meetings, at 10 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 25, at Chester City Hall. RSVP to (618) 826-1430 or to save your space.

Patti Carter

Recreation director