Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Move Over Burger McDonald's Is Thirsty

Over the years fast food giant, McDonald's has been making a shift to more beverage choices. In July McDonald's will roll out smoothies to compete with Planet Smoothie, Smoothie King and Jamba Juice.

But will customers think of McDonald's as a beverage destination? It might depend on the price of theirs versus the competitors.

Even so, I'm not sure I will. Over the last couple years McDonald's has added premium coffee options to their menu and I still find myself going to Starbucks, Caribou or Crimson Cup for my java. I just don't even think about McDonald's as a coffee stop. I guess I just relate the brand to burgers and fries and not coffees and smoothies.

For more info on this story read the Advertising Age article here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Strategy Session with the Ohio Credit Union League

Last week I was asked to host a strategy session for the Ohio Credit Union League Steering Committee for their Marching Miles event.

Marching Miles is a state-wide Ohio credit union event that raises money for Children's Miracle Network for the six Children's Hospitals throughout Ohio. In the past Marching Miles has been a multi-day, multi-mile relay of sorts, leading up to the annual convention.

Over the last four years the event cumulatively has raised nearly a half a million dollars. Not bad for a young event. So why was I hired to help out? Well . . . .

The event has plateaued over the last couple years, attendance is low and logistics throughout the credit union community is slightly confusing.

So, last week a spent a couple hours with the Steering Committee performing a SWOT analysis to develop a solid strategy and direction as the event moves forward. As we were discussing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats it was quickly uncovered that a big part of the problem was brand confusion. Was Marching Miles just an event or the actual umbrella for all things Children's Miracle Network Fundraising?

I'm happy to report that after two hours with the group I was able to help them come to some decisions, focus, as well as the beginning of creating a new strategy to grow the fundraising capabilities for the Ohio Credit Union League and it's chapters across the state.

For 2011, we look to bigger and better changes which should transfer to more support for Children's Miracle Network and the local Children's Hospitals throughout Ohio!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Interview with Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls Owners, Ellen and Terry To Discuss The Gathering Space

When the Weekend ReTweat ladies had the pleasure of staying at the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills I had the opportunity to sit down with owners Ellen and Terry to discuss the new Conference Center "The Gathering Space".

It is a beautiful, accommodating space for business, weddings, retreats and I was amazed to learn how green the facility is. This incomparable event facility features:
  • 5,000-square-feet of spectacular green construction event space
  • Space for up to 50 guests
  • Inspiring hand-crafted log cabin setting
  • Large windows and open spaces for an expansive, airy feel with plenty of natural light
  • Flexible layout, whether you wish to gather in classroom, theater or boardroom style
  • Unusual breakout spaces, including our organic rooftop garden, covered porch with comfortable rockers and a common area with a warming gas log stove
  • Incredible dining for every meal and break featuring the Inn’s legendary cuisine
  • Ideal space for seated or buffet dining, with staffed bar and any enhancement you require
  • Outdoor patio dining
  • Access to all of the magnificent Inn & Spa amenities
  • Wi-fi hot throughout The Gathering Place for tech demands and easy email access
  • Fully wired for all your AV needs, including large state-of-the-art flat-screen TV

Their commitment to green construction and reducing the carbon footprint of every event is extensive, including:
  • Green construction featuring high-energy windows and doors
  • One third of the facility is built underground for maximum heating and cooling efficiency
  • Using tankless hot water
  • Recycling gray water
  • Employing florescent lighting
  • Dramatically reducing the use of disposables
  • Implementing broad recycling programs and sharing our ideas with our guests
  • Building a rooftop garden to enhance thermal efficiency
  • Using recycled furnishings, carpet, lumber, etc.

You can learn more about "The Gathering Space" conference center from watching the interview below.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Calling all Business Meeting and Retreat Planners to The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls

Don't miss this special at the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls for all those who book business meetings and company retreats. You won't want to miss this on August 27th!


You are cordially invited to join us for a Familiarization tour of the Inn and our dazzling new meeting facilities. The recently opened Gathering Place offers a one-of-a-kind meeting venue for groups of up to 50. Completely green and state-of-the-art, the Gathering Place at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is the perfect setting for board retreats, team-building events and meetings where you need to escape interruption and inspire your group to clearer thinking.

At the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, your group will share something truly special … you’ll bond more cohesively; improving moral and productivity and refine your corporate culture.

No meeting and events location offers you finer service, more productive gatherings or gives you such a complete escape from the interruptions and distractions of the office. And, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is incredibly accessible and close to the office and home.

WHEN: Friday, August 27, beginning at 9:30 am with an overnight Friday and departing on Saturday morning. If you're unable to join us, feel free to share this invitation with other event planners with whom you work.

DETAILS: After check in, there will be a leisurely tour of all three lodging offerings and the grounds. A short, easy hike to Cedar Falls will prepare us for a delectable lunch on the patio. Early afternoon offers a relaxing and therapeutic massage, napping in the hammock or quietly reading a book. Late afternoon begins with a tour of the Gathering Place, cocktails with owners Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo and peer networking. Then, we’ll share one of the Inn’s legendary five-course fine dining dinners. Spend the night, or, if your schedule won’t permit an overnight, you can return home after dinner.

Saturday morning (or Friday afternoon if you prefer), offers the opportunity to sample your choice of some of our incredible team-building experiences; from an unforgettable and scenic zipline canopy tour, kayaking, ATV riding or skeet shooting.

HOW: Simply call or email your R.S.V.P. to Stephanie George, Event Coordinator, 740-385-7489 or,

We’ll customize a visit and tour that meets all of your needs and preferences. For more on the inn, visit us online at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inn at Cedar Falls A Perfect Weekend ReTweat Destination - Business or Pleasure

This past Sunday the ladies from Weekend ReTweat were invited to enjoy the peace and serenity at the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. Nestled in Hocking Hills, the Inn is a beautiful retreat for personal or business pleasure.

I arrived at the Inn in time for my pampering at the Spa. The tranquil setting definitely awakens the body, mind and spirit. I opted for the Ion Cleanse Foot Bath and Reflexology Foot Massage. Randy was an excellent massage therapist and I left feeling refreshed and ready to start the ReTweat!

Before venturing out onto the property amongst the woods and beautiful gardens I met up with Rose Landon and Tiffany Eckhardt at our home away from home, Hickory Hollow, a two story cabin with an incredible back deck that made it look like you were in a tree house.

That's where we enjoyed a delicious glass of Cabernet.

Then we were ready for dinner, which was incredible!

I enjoyed a three course meal with an appetizer, glass of Merlot, fillet with potatoes and asparagus, ending with an incredible chocolate raspberry dessert and coffee.

The dining room was comfortable, the service impeccable and the food delicious!

With a full but happy tummy we walked the grounds then turned in for the night. The next morning brought coffee on the deck, a wonderful breakfast in the dining room (the homemade granola was magnificent!), and a conversation with owners, Ellen and Terry in the new Conference Center.

Ellen and Terry spent some time sharing their history (and love) of The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. With a new addition, the Inn is equipped to be a wonderful conference facility. Tiffany is working on a interview I did with Ellen and Terry and as soon as it becomes available I will post it here.

For now, enjoy this Animoto video Tiffany made of our stay. . . .