Eight years of marketing engines, chocolate and toilets gave Erin Sutton the skills she now uses to market Fish Creek.
“All the skills, the things I’ve done in college and with Kohler, they easily transition,” Sutton said. “It’s the same skills, just a different way of applying them, and applying them for a different purpose. Marketing is marketing.”
Sutton was hired as marketing coordinator for the Fish Creek Civic Association, the town’s association of business owners, in September 2012. She promotes the town, works with members, coordinates volunteers and helps plan events.
While she missed the busy summer season, Sutton was hired just in time to plan for 2013. She’s helped coordinate one of Fish Creek’s major events, Winter Festival, taking place this year on the first weekend in February.
Although it will be her first time attending the chilly festival, Sutton had a big hand in preparing and marketing the weekend.
“I’m excited to experience it and know what it’s all about, and know what I’m promoting so I can do it better next year,” Sutton said.
Sutton wants to add fresh twists to classic Fish Creek festivals. Two new events will take place at Winter Festival this year – the snowsuit fashion show and the stumpf fiddle jam.
(A stumpf fiddle is basically a collection of percussion instruments, all attached to a big stick. Think of a walking stick with a woodblock, tambourine, cymbal, horn. Stumpf fiddles are played with a drumstick, shaken and hit on the ground.)
Marketing a stumpf fiddle jam is a big switch from working with Kohler, the Sheboygan corporation known for its bathroom accessories.
It was a switch she wanted to make. Sutton wanted to get out of the corporate marketing game and work on a more local level with business associations or chambers of commerce.
“The FCCA position just sounded perfect, and you can’t get any better than being near Peninsula State Park,” Sutton said.
The park was a big draw for Sutton personally, too. She visits it at least once a day with her gordon setter Cooper, who has claimed the title of king of the forest.
While she learns more about Fish Creek and explores more of Peninsula State Park, Sutton thinks of new ideas for the future of Fish Creek.
“We’re always looking for ways to help our members out and to build the economy and build economic growth within Fish Creek,” Sutton said. “It’s important for the business owners. If we don’t have people coming in to our tourist destination, that’s not a good thing for our businesses and we want them to continue to grow and Fish Creek to thrive.”
Sutton is one of three new business association coordinators. Brynn Swanson in Baileys Harbor and Amy Paul in Egg Harbor were also new in 2012, and Door County North is currently looking for a coordinator.