Town promoters using cookbooks to lure anglers, other visitors to Massena

Feb. 23—MASSENA — A cookbook is among the items being used to lure anglers and others to Massena.

Town of Massena Sports-Fishing Promotion Director Donald R. Meissner said he just finished his first sports show of the year in Massachusetts, and the cookbooks which he distributed to Town Board members were among the hot items available for free to those who visited their booth.

"We just completed one of our sports shows, our first sports show that we've done in three years. It was in Foxborough, Massachusetts," Mr. Meissner said. "I've never seen anything like it. It set records that I wouldn't have imagined based on going to shows many years before. We believe the reason is that so many people have felt so stifled during the COVID period that now they're looking to the outdoors to do things."

That's good news for the opportunity to promote Massena not just as a fishing destination, but also a vacation site, he said.

Mr. Meissner said they set up their booth, a large yellow tent, with a table and a television to play a number of videos shot over the last several years detailing fishing opportunities in Massena.

"On either side of that, we have a six-foot table coming out and on that table we have things like this cookbook. We have things like this bag that I just received today from Karen White at the Power Authority that we give to people so they're carrying around evidence of what we are from Massena. We have a number of koozies and stickers, and I never realized stickers were so popular," he said.

They also stock up on brochures, including a new fishing guide and waterfalls guide from the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce so that, when individuals come to Massena, "they'll have the ability to go to these different places and enjoy a vacation rather than just the fishing time," he said. Meanwhile Mr. Meissner said, other booths were selling items.

"They'll come into the booth and they'll start looking at this stuff. We will take that cookbook and hand it to them. They say how much? 'Nothing. This is something that the town of Massena wants to give to you, to give you an invitation of why we want you to come to our area.' We also have the bag and the other things," he said.

It has an impact on some people, who say they're thinking about buying a home in the area, Mr. Meissner said.

"I thought that was amazing. We had one woman that had come up a year ago and she says, 'Now I want you to talk to my husband,' and her husband came over and talked to Linda (McQuinn) and they're looking at it. There was at least a hand full of people like this that came to us and that's what they're interested in now. They probably wouldn't have been before COVID," he said.

He said, because of the trade show efforts, Massena's name is now out there, which was evident when they went to get their vendor badges.

"She was like where are you from. She didn't mean what town. She meant what company are you representing. We said the town of Massena. Her face changed immediately. A big smile came on her face. She said, 'We came up to Massena last year and we were treated with such hospitality and such friendliness. I can't wait to go back.' That's what started our whole sports show was that woman sort of letting us know why it was important to her that we were there. We were somebody they could be proud to have," he said.