Month: June 2018

Dave Willson knows the Clare Valley. Having lived in the region all his life, five years ago he turned his knowledge of Clare into a business.

Clare Valley Tours was born from his passion for his home’s natural beauty, history and hospitality.

Mr Willson has been working with Kiikstart over the last few months to grow his tour business, and says that director Ali Uren’s “progressive and creative” approach has been very beneficial.

“Ali will drag you by the jock straps when you’re slacking off,” he says with a laugh. “She’ll initiate change in your thought process and your business culture.”

Sharing Clare’s gastronomic, historical and natural wonders comes naturally to Dave, who says it’s a discovery experience for him too.

“I’m sharing the love and creating feel-good experiences for people,” he says. “The more I do it, the more I love it!”

We asked the Clare local to share seven of his favourite spots in the region to explore this winter – and it’s not all fires and romance, although there’s plenty of that to be had!

1. Sevenhill Cellars

Find them at: 111C College Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes them special: Their story and the history of building St Aloysius Church. The winery was established by two Jesuit priests in 1851 to produce sacramental wine, while the church is home to the only crypt below a parish church in Australia. Many of the early pioneering Jesuits still lay in the crypt.

Winter drawcard: Enjoy a glass of red by the fire, and pat the local winery cat.

Fun fact: Sevenhill Cellars still supplies 95 per cent of Australian altar wine.

2. Spring Gully Conservation Park

Find it at: Sawmill Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes it special: The picturesque conservation park offers great walking trails and lookout spots that overlook the Adelaide Plains. The view is fantastic! On a good day, you can see the head of St Vincent’s Gulf and beyond.

Winter drawcard: While the park is particularly renowned for its beautiful patchwork quilt of colours in spring, winter has its own charms, including a stunning seasonal waterfall.

Insider tip: Listen for frogs near the creeks, especially after local rains.

3. Burra

What makes it special: Located on the edge of the Outback, the historic mining town is a unique township that was once home to the largest metals mine in Australia.

Winter drawcard: Discover the town’s quaint hospitality, including the local pubs and fantastic antique shops.

Fun fact: The town was once home to Diprotodon – Australia’s largest marsupial and a species of megafauna.

4. Hill River Estate

Find them at: Quarry Rd, Polish Hill River SA

What makes it special: A cellar door with a difference, this is a story of farmers-turned-winemakers who run their farm alongside the winery.

Winter drawcard: Buy a bottle of wine, sit by the fire and sip away on a winter’s day.

5. Skillogalee Winery, Restaurant & Accommodation

Find them at: 23 Trevarrick Rd, Sevenhill SA

What makes it special: Set on 60 hectares, “Skilly” – as Dave calls it – is home to an iconic cottage restaurant nestled into the side of the hill with beautiful vineyard views.

Winter drawcard: This is a long lunch destination. Sit by the fire, sip on a muscat, and enjoy their fantastic hand crafted wines before, during or after lunch.

Insider tip: Skillogalee also offers B&B cottage-style accommodation.

6. Bungaree Station

Find it at: 431 Bungaree Rd, Bungaree SA

What makes it special: Settled in 1841, the site has been home to six generations of the Hawker family. The magnificent 1860s heritage buildings have been transformed into local accommodation. Stay overnight, or visit for a walk through farming history.

Winter drawcard: Unique country accommodation for a cosy winter break.

7. Destination Clare

What makes it special: The region of Clare is packed with natural beauty, history and hospitality, so much so that Dave says it’s impossible not to mention the region as a whole. It’s also quaint and relatively uncommercialised.

Winter drawcard: It’s the perfect time of year for a little indulgence. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to cosy accommodation, and fine food and wine experiences – well-suited to those relaxed winter hemlines and layers!

Fun fact: Clare Valley makes up just 1.5 per cent of the national crush, but wins more than 20 per cent of national wine awards.

Visit www.clarevalleytours.com or contact Dave on 0418 832 812 to book a tour. Group and bespoke tour options are available.

To find out more about working with Kiikstart to benefit your business, visit www.kiikstart.com.

Last month I joined local and international presenters, including Mainstreet America’s Matt Wagner, at the annual Mainstreet SA State Conference.

Today I want to share some key takeaways from two very thought-provoking days of discussion.

This is a useful read for those in the tourism or local government spaces, or anyone with a business on a mainstreet. Some of these points also apply more broadly to businesses, so read on as I share my key takeaways from this year’s event.

Give them quality and they will come
Despite the international move away from brick and mortar businesses, there are still plenty of opportunities on our mainstreets. However, generic products simply won’t cut it in 2018. Matt Wagner from Mainstreet America says 77 per cent of consumers are loyal to brands that give top quality experiences, while 50 per cent would pay more for experiences they value.

Do: Create niche, short-term offerings that focus on exclusive products or experiences to drive visitation.

Don’t: Compromise on quality. This will have a negative impact in the longer term.

Mix it up
A diverse but cohesive offering is key to success for any mainstreet. According to Matt, there does need to be influencers and hero businesses on any mainstreet to drive innovation. And while you need to mix it up with your offering, if the region is known for a particular theme, such as food and wine, it makes sense to also play to these strengths.

Do: Create a mix of innovative businesses and include hero businesses in the mix.

Don’t: Assume you need ‘big name’ retailers or chain stores. Boutique players can ooze quality and be just as powerful as drawcards, especially where your region has a particular niche.

Develop skills, not just infrastructure
While developing infrastructure is a fantastic way to draw people to mainstreets, their experience of the local businesses will determine whether they return. Service delivery is an opportunity to create a real point of difference from the likes of your local Westfield. Building real capacity from a business to business perspective is one potential key to success.

Do: Constantly work to develop your skills, and collaborate with other local businesses to improve service delivery.

Don’t: Invest in infrastructure alone. The quality of a customer’s experience is key to success or failure.

Business must drive change
There is much that can be done at a local government level to drive innovation on our mainstreets. Decision makers need to develop projects around mainstreets that engage and involve not only businesses, but local communities. At the same time, Matt says the evolution of mainstreets must also be driven by business. Having an organic plan that reviews and responds to markets, as well as measures in place to assess its success, is essential. Engaged consumers spend 60 per cent more with a business.

Do: Have plans and measures in place to engage consumers in a constantly evolving marketplace.

Don’t: Leave it to Local Government alone. Business must drive innovation to remain relevant and competitive.

Focus locally, think globally
At the conference I spoke about the need to think big and overcome a scarcity mindset. But this shouldn’t come at the expense of a local focus. Allow your region’s values to shine through in your product and service delivery. Matt advises you should ensure your offering is real and authentic, and isn’t simply a manufactured focus, as can be the case in larger mall environments.

Do: Focus on authentic, local product and service delivery.

Don’t: Think small. Renowned local products and services can be global contenders.

Thanks to my co-presenter Glen Christie from Port Pirie Council and everyone who came along to listen to us and the other Mainstreet SA presentations across the two days.

I look forward to seeing more of our mainstreets across the state grow, flourish, and continue to be authentic marketplaces showcasing the best of the local communities they serve.

Want support growing your mainstreet or business? Get in touch with me on 0428 593 400 or email enquiries@kiikstart.com to find out more about how we can work together.