Introducing Southern Door to the Rest of the County

Jennifer Laughlin isn’t just marketing Southern Door County to tourists. She’s marketing it to the rest of the county as well.

“Obviously we want to extend out with tourism to the resorts and bring people here, but we also want to cross-market each other and into northern Door County,” Laughlin said. “Unfortunately there’s a lot of businesses and residents of Northern Door and Sturgeon Bay that don’t know all of these services and variety of businesses we offer.”

Laughlin is president of the board of directors for the Southern Door Business Association (SDBA), an organization started last year to promote Southern Door County.

Wisconsin tourists travel in search of small, quaint towns, Laughlin said, and that’s exactly what Southern Door has. Visitors can come fish and camp, relax in the quiet shoreline parks and spend time with their families in a rural, peaceful setting.

“That’s really what we have to offer,” Laughlin said. “The fishing, camping, cottages, the small family vacation.”

But while they keep that small-town, peaceful feeling, SDBA members want to promote the area and attract more people. Business owners can always use more traffic, and when the economy of an area does well everyone benefits.

With more promotion to Southern Door County, Laughlin hopes more people will want to stay there. More visitors in hotels means more room tax collections municipalities can use to invest in the towns. And more investment in a community means more care for it.

“If we can start drawing some attention to [the good] and creating that positive swing where people want to come back and want to live here it benefits the schools, it benefits everything,” Laughlin said.

SDBA is working on events to draw crowds to hot spots south of Sturgeon Bay. On June 1 they will host a Sugar Creek Showdown at Sugar Creek County Park in Brussels with a disc golf tournament, a battle of the bands and a little miss Sugar Creek talent show.

Hosting events and promoting the parks, shops and restaurants in Southern Door County will help draw people from around the state and county to the area, Laughlin said, but the extra traffic won’t take away from the area’s quaint, family-oriented atmosphere.

“We’re always going to have our farmland, we’re always going to be more rural, we’ll always have our Belgian heritage, and we’ll always have that small town feel,” Laughlin said