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Getting the word out-then and now

I am coming up on the first anniversary of my official retirement date from my first career. It’s been a really good year. Being raised right here on the trout farm I learned from a very young age that idleness is not an acceptable way of life. From the age of barely able to walk we were following around after Granny and Papa helping out in whatever way we can….sometimes doing things we probably should not have been attempting at young ages. We saw Granny and Papa in so many roles and doing so many different things. In one day Granny would hold the following jobs and probably some I have forgotten: housewife, cook, customer service representative, fish cleaner, cabin cleaner, laundress, fish farmer, grandmother, chief cook and bottle washer in restaurant, and fish deliver. Same for Papa. He would be in the office waiting on a customer, on the backhoe making a road, at the hatchery grading fish, feeding fish, moving fish, and teaching one of us to drive a stick shift so we could drive up the mountain and get a tool out of the garage.

So, I know that we can always learn to do one more thing, take on one more task, find something to do to stay busy. So far, in my 2nd career I have spent most of my time cleaning, doing cabin laundry and working outside on landscaping projects. After many years spent in an office and focusing on “people” problems I have completely enjoyed working physically rather than mentally. In the last month I have started learning about online advertising and trying to get somethings going with that and it has frustrated me to no end. My technology skills are minimal and my know how about what to say in an ad and how to say it are certainly lacking. Then you get into picking your audience, targeting locations and blah, blah, blah.

All this focus on the importance of good advertising got me to wondering how Papa and Granny first got the word out about the Trout Farm and built a 50 year business.. I was looking through Papa’s memoir book and here is what he had to say about the early days of advertising.

I have had lots of people help me with advertising Andy’s Trout Farm. There has been headaches and problems. The people I would have believed would want me to have a business like we have had have been the most against it. The mayor and council persons of Dillard have been hard against my business. I still don’t understand why. All we have done is bring more needed money into Dillard area. When people come from other areas to stay with us they got to by gas, food and overnight rooms. Many have bought land and built homes. I have tried to look over the bad things that happen. There has been so much good done for us. You don’t have to think much about the bad.

Jim Dillard who has done more in bringing tourist to Dillard than anyone else, has been one of my best advertisers. Black Rock State Park has been wonderful. Many of the businesses of Clayton have helped advertise. The Rabun County Camber of Commerce has done a superior job in advertising for me and all of the rest of Rabun County businesses. The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION AND JOURNAL writers and photo have been wonderful. Lots of other people like Joe Fain, Joe McIntyre, Bill Young, Joe Sanders, (some others names I can’t read clearly).

Some of the other news papers and TV stations Franklin Press, Clayton Tribune, Asheville Citizen, Anderson Independent, Highlands Maconian, Athens Paper, News and Observer Raleigh, NC, Jacksonville Florida papers, Albany, Ga paper, Hearld Thomasville Times, Georgia Magazine, North Side news, Knoxville News, Gainesville Times, Augusta Herald, Channel 5 Atlanta TV, Atlanta Channel 13, Asheville NC TV.

If I had to use as source as the no. 1 advertiser it would have to be BOB HARRELL writer and JOE MCTIRE is photo. They both worked for Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Bob retired last January, 1993. Joe is still working for the paper. Bob wrote many daily columns that had something to do with Andy or Andy’s Trout Farm. Bob and Kathleen have been real good friends of ours. We have spent the night in their home in Nunnon, Ga and they have the spent the night with Hazel and I on Betty’s Creek. Some of the trips I have made with Bob will never be forgotten (tune in for a recap for a their adventure to the Okefenokee Swamp in another entry).

I honestly never knew the reach of Granny and Papa was so great during those early years. They obviously did a lot of “networking.” It is interesting to think about Papa. He was such a hard worker most days covered in dirt and sweat and grease and grime. He was pretty quiet a lot of the time but when we wanted to he had the gift of gab and could really turn on the charm. I can just see him now chatting up the news reporters and making friends of them so that they wanted to write about what was going on here at the Trout Farm. The man was a man of many talents. He had to be to really accomplish what he did long before the age of websites and social media. So, I guess I can forge ahead and try to figure out this online advertising…at least I don’t have to talk to people face to face.

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