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Voices of our Readers March 23, 2023

Brooks: 'What's your better idea?'
To the Editor:
If you try to make everyone happy, you will lose as a community. You’re a town of 5,000 people, with perhaps 2,000 or so homes. Are a thousand of them, or even a 500, complaining? 
What happens is CAVE-rs (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) complain and it might be as many as 50 people (typically it’s more like ten) and then you fold as a community.
The good people don’t want to get involved in the fight and negativity, so they say nothing and the naysayers simply have their way.
Ask them this: “What else can we hang our hat on besides the mundane ‘quality of life,’ ‘Mayberry,’ ‘friendly people,’ ‘historic downtown,’ and the list of generic things every community, everywhere already use? And what do we have that we can leverage without spending an arm and a leg to get there? 
Even if you go the nutcracker route for just a few years, it will at least get people to pull off the freeway, perhaps spend a few hours in downtown, and if just 10 people a day stop because of the nutcrackers, that’s 10 more people a day than you have now.
And if half of them eat lunch, or check out a couple of shops while in town, that’s five more lunches each day than you have now. Why not take advantage of, and leverage, something you already have? And that someone has so freely given to the town to help it?
What do you have to lose? And do you have anything better to hang your hat on now that will differentiate you from everyone else? Is anything even in the pipeline?
And if it’s the military museum, the gallery or other “static” activities, just remember that once we’ve been there and seen those, there’s no reason to come back. You could have a lot of fun with the nutcrackers.
Imagine a “where’s Waldo” nutcracker hidden among them and whoever finds him wins something. Every day it’s moved. A person could spend hours just trying to find Waldo among 3,000-plus nutcrackers.
And they might come back time and again. And what if people were encouraged to give nutcrackers to the museum? It might only be a year or two before it’s the largest collection in the world.
It would certainly put Luverne “on the map,” and it even fits the European theme and history of the town.
And I will always fiercely defend Betty. She’s solid as a rock, works pretty much full time, has “given” her collection for everyone on the planet to see, and I’m quite sure she’s saner than the people complaining about the idea, which wasn’t even hers.
They should call me the crazy one if they don’t like it. Betty has just played along thinking it might make a difference for Luverne. It wasn’t her idea to make this the brand. It was mine.
When people complain, you should always ask, “What’s your better idea?” And it can’t be the generic mumbo jumbo that people won’t go 10 minutes out of their way for.
Sorry if I’m being a bit harsh, but if you bend to the naysayers, you will never move forward as a community. People hate change, yet without it, you will die as a community economically. 
Roger Brooks,
author, speaker and destination expert,
Peoria, Arizona
Becker: 'People are busy and want to see things'
To the Editor:
Marketing is about quirky ideas!
I am writing this letter to the editor to share some things to ponder.After years of being in marketing, I have attended many trainings,read more books than I want to share as well as listened to leaders in this field. I am sharing this with you:
To best market an idea or concept, you always need a “hook” to grab people’s attention. It needs to be quirky and unique becausepeople are tired of the same look, same view. This is why many are changing newsletters from all writing to pictures and graphics because people are busy and want to see things and not spend time reading longstories. Readers have commented on seeing results and successes instead of having to read them.
Some ideas may not generate money for a cause, but instead generate donations, which saves the entity money. A recent event was done with giving food, and the outcome resulted inover $8,000 in food.
In marketing, we know we will never make everyonehappy, so this is when we can welcome these individuals to be part of the planning and to give input because it is important to listen, butyou cannot please everyone all the time.
If someone does not like a concept, then sit down and let’s talk about ways to improve the concept instead of tearing down someone’s work. Ideas are formulated when great minds come together for a greater cause – in this case the love of our community.
As someone who also loves Luverne, even though I live in Sioux Falls,I support my hometown through the Legacy Foundation Project and workdirectly with businesses in Luverne for the non-profit I lead.
Here are some things others may not see:
1) I see a lot of young people in Luverne when I come to visit and of course do not know them because of how long I have been away from Luverne.
2) I also see Luverne as a great community for people to retire in because it is small, safe, and there are good people with strong programming.
3) Additional mental health services/programming needs to be started by a strong non-profit through grant funding or through foundation support.
4) Luverne is anamazing community which I witnessed with my brother Dan’s event last October. We grossed a significant amount of money in one night for himwith people of all ages coming to Take 16.
A few years ago, a group of my camping friends came to Luverne for afun day of eating, shopping and we did not plan on going to the nutcracker museum. We ended up going, and honestly, the group sharedthis was one of the best experiences because it was different and unique. We got Chamber punch cards and stopped at many of the storesand spent money with local retailers, ate at Sterling’s and had a beer at Take 16 (or two) and then went to the museum.
Luverne has done a great job marketing Hot Dog Night, which by the waywas a quirky thing back when we were kids. Many made jokes about this promotion, but look at the number of people who come to town for the music, dance performances, ice cream and hot dogs!
There are many more ways Luverne can be marketed, which is one of mystrengths, but ideas have to be quirky to draw tourists to town!
Before Luverne can draw new people to move into Luverne, you need tohave more affordable houses for people to move into, so they don’t have to travel from Sioux Falls and other areas.
Honestly, Craig and Iloved living in Luverne and would have stayed, but there were not employment opportunities in Luverne for us. After three years ofcommuting, no prospect of employment for us in Luverne and gettingpregnant with our son, Thomas, we moved to Sioux Falls where we havebeen for over 25 years. If you ask us if we plan to stay here, that is questionable because we would love to retire … where? Luverne
Julie (Pick) Becker,
Sioux Falls,
Formerly of Luverne

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