The new “Discover Borderland” coupon book aims to promote local spending.
Travis Glowasky, graphic designer and illustrator at his visual marketing company, “Studio Gibbous,” began brainstorming the project with his partner, who runs a similar business called “Merge 2,” this past spring.
While the idea took some time to get off the table, 1,000 coupon books have been printed and now are for sale at various locations around town.
“It’s a personal project run by myself and my co-designer,” Glowasky explained.
“You can go anywhere and get a coupon book,” he noted.
“How can we create more public growth, not just in spending but people kind of getting back in the stores and seeing what other places have to offer?” he remarked.
“[The coupon book is] primarily targeted towards the tourists; to get them to stop in the community, spend some money, and give them an incentive to do so without just making Fort Frances a pass-through but a destination.”∏
Glowasky has big dreams that his little coupon book will “create a cross-flow of traffic across International Falls and Fort Frances.”
He cited a study that revealed a large portion of Americans have never even come to Fort Frances.
“That’s something that we would like to change, and give them a reason to come to this side,” Glowasky reasoned.
“And now with our dollar getting a little lower, that might be that extra push to make them come across that border.
“The major idea behind the coupon book was to try to create more of that unilateral connection between Fort Frances and International Falls . . . ‘come to the Borderland,’” he added.
There are 16 coupons in the book.
“We have Lowey’s, Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza, Simplicity, the Rendez-Vous, Great Bear, and Fort Floral,” Glowasky listed.
He estimated it’s worth about $150, though noting some coupons are “buy one, get half off,” “save the tax,” or “25 percent off,” which makes it difficult to calculate their exact value.
Glowasky said the end goal is to have two coupon books per year.
“We want to have a Christmas one,” he remarked.
“To keep some of that money within the area itself, and also to get people back into the local shops because there’s a lot of unique things that stores are offering that people don’t know is actually here.”
For now, the future of the “Discover Borderland” brand (not affiliated with the “Discover” tourist information magazine published by the Fort Frances Times every year) depends on the success of this first project.
Glowasky noted coupons books also will be available soon at Canadian Tire, Northwoods Gallery & Gifts, Living Art Emporium, Curvy Chick, the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market, and Sunset Schmiddy’s.
They currently are available for purchase at the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce office.
“We put it together to help raise some money for them, as well,” Glowasky said.
The Chamber will receive a small percentage of the profits, with Glowasky and his partner covering the printing costs and paying themselves with the rest of the money made.
He estimated he’s sold 200 books since they came out a month ago.
“Primarily, we wanted to do it to generate more tourism in the area,” Glowasky explained.
“We haven’t been able to get it to too many tourists yet because it’s a brand new project,” he noted.
Chamber manager Annely Armstrong agreed the book is not reaching its target audience.
“So far, the people who have purchased them from up here have been local people because of the coupons in there,” she said.
“We definitely support the coupon book,” Armstrong stressed. “We’re helping them promote it and helping the sales.”