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New Times / Strokes & Plugs

The following article was posted on February 13th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 29

Visit Morro Bay

BY MICHAEL SATCHELL

Looking to meet some Morro Bay business owners? How about somebody knowledgeable about the coastal city?

Try stopping by the city’s new visitor center, which sits at the lower end of Morro Bay Boulevard. The Board of Tourism oversees the facility, which opened Feb. 2.


WELCOME!
Karin Moss is executive director of the Morro Bay Visitor Center and Tourism Bureau, which recently moved to 255 Morro Bay Blvd.
PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

Director Karin Moss, working out of a satellite office up the street, explained that the center is a place to network as well as to coordinate advertisement that rings true to the “Morro Bay experience.”

“I believe in truth in advertising. ... Come as you are,” she said. “If you’re going to drive all the way from the Central Valley, we better be giving you what you what you’ve been reading about.”

While each coastal town and city has its own feel, the people at the visitor center are candid about what’s available locally—and what isn’t.

Moss took a look at this reporter—wearing shorts and a T-shirt—and said, “You could go into any restaurant or business in town dressed like that!”

Moss, along with such bodies as the Chamber of Commerce, aims to increase the communication between agencies and businesses.

“Morro Bay is more than just a rock!” she said. “... If we don’t get a good mix of merchandise and uniform hours, we’re going to have the situation where you throw a party and nobody comes.

“If the fairs don’t have a significant budget, they can’t compete with the theme parks where you can see all the characters from TV,” she continued. “... There won’t be a place a family can take their kids to see wild animals!”

Along with advertising for local businesses, the visitor center works closely with such people as John DiNunzio, the economic development coordinator for Morro Bay. His strategy is to help small and midsize businesses grow. Together, Moss and DiNunzio aim to fill vacant buildings, increase the availability of resources for small businesses, and increase employment and employability. Once properly networked, the visitor center can direct incoming traffic to the appropriate, well-developed avenues. The staff at the center includes two Cal Poly interns who keep up the social media.

“Economies work very much like agriculture,” DiNunzio said. “They are both organic, not mechanical.”

The aim of the visitor center is to network groups of people together because “even if you have a great night’s sleep, if you have a terrible breakfast the next morning, your day is ruined,” Moss said.

Morro Bay is known for is its independent hotels and restaurants, as well as its working community of fishermen and farmers. It’s the goal of the people behind the visitor center to enhance and develop what’s already here, rather than introduce some funky culture from another location. Moss and her colleagues appreciate what Morro Bay offers and hope to make the center a reflection of that.

And if, for some reason, you don’t want to go inside, there’s a marquee featuring a list of current events. As Moss explained, “I’ve got a staff of people who can tell you who, what, where, when, why and how much!”

The Morro Bay Visitor Center is at 255 Morro Bay Blvd. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week. For more information, call 225-1635 or visit morrobay.org.

Fast facts

Enjoy a gourmet barbecued hamburger dinner, root beer floats, wine and beer, and dancing at the Valentine’s Swing Dance, offered by the Grover Beach Community Library, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Grover City Grange Hall, 370 South 13th St. This annual fundraiser helps raise money to operate the nonprofit library. Jimmy Enos’ band will play swing and soft rock. Tickets cost $20 per person; call 473-3457. …

Looking for love of a feline nature? Woods Humane Society is offering $14 cat adoptions through Feb. 16. The fee includes the animal (of course), a veterinary health exam, a carrier, and any available toys or bedding. Drop by at 875 Oklahoma Ave. in San Luis Obispo. For more information, visit woodshumane.org.

Intern Michael Satchell wrote this week’s Strokes; Executive Editor Ryan Miller contributed. Send items for consideration to strokes@newtimesslo.com.