Today — likely mid-morning — Boston Pizza will open for business in downtown Osoyoos.
The storied franchise — perhaps the most successful made-in-Canada food service chain — made a very public appearance in the community over the last three months.
It was impossible to miss the construction that consumed Main Street as the restaurant slowly took shape at the Watermark Beach Resort — especially as the neon-lit red and blue of the BP branding was affixed and the renovation gave way to kitchen prep, training and celebration.
The previous seven days were dedicated to final touches and flourishes, culminating in a launch party Friday evening where friends of Jason and Amy Bartsch — and other well-wishers — gathered to toast new opportunity, success and “raising the bar.”
There’s a new kid on the block — a very big kid — and understandably the other 27 restaurants in the Osoyoos community are taking notice — especially as the new kid is arriving in the off-season.
BP markets itself as family-friendly sports gathering place, one where the entire family can go to enjoy good food, drinks and big-screen sports entertainment.
To maintain customer flow in the wake of BP’s launch, other restaurants in the community will want to up their marketing game, better define who they are and better target their customer base the same way.
Yes, there’s new competition for some, but here’s hoping they, too, will see opportunity in the BP launch.
The trick for them is in what we marketers call “purple cow” theory — or establishing a unique selling proposition.
In short, a purple cow stands out. It is memorable. (Don’t believe me? The next time you’re in the countryside, see what happens when the kids glance out the car window and see a purple cow standing in the herd.)
The same can be said of a local business. To be successful, it has to identify how it stands out, what sets it apart from others in the community, and then make sure its client base understands and appreciates that difference.
The good news is there’s room for all because the client base isn’t limited to the 5,000 souls who call Osoyoos home.
BP’s extended evening hours could make for a revitalized downtown if merchants lining Main Street can “raise the bar” themselves and find new ways to attract early-evening shoppers into their stores.
With limited on-site parking, expect to see diners leave their vehicles up Main Street, amid the warm glow of evening lighting, and walk down to the restaurant.
Visitors to the community, with little more than the four walls of resort and hotel awaiting them, will be poked into extending their downtown stay if the proper invitation of a “We’re Open” awaits them.
Deeper into the “raising the bar” conversation is the opportunity to add more activity, more music, more theatre and more events into the off-season mix.
The precedent is already in place with JoJo’s Cafe, which draws sold-out crowds to its venue on multiple nights through each month. Other restaurants and coffee shops might also benefit by providing a unique add-on experience.
The community boasts a beautiful theatre at its secondary school, a theatre that sits dark more than 340 days of the year. Desert Park is pondering its own opportunities as a venue. The Sonora Centre is a trickle of activity after-hours.
Perhaps this is the time to make Osoyoos the community of the lonely couch.
Take a stroll down Park Lane to Gyro Park and you can’t help but notice the twin patios presented by The Owl Pub and the freshly-minted Boston Pizza. My mind immediately went to friendly competition as dedicated customers faced off over the open expanse of the pavement between them.
Already the two are talking of joint activities — a ball-hockey tournament, perhaps — and inevitably the rivalry will take shape in ways that will only enhance the business of both establishments.
I’m, frankly, really looking forward to that.
Similarly, other ventures in the community can develop their own relationships, “raising the bar” yet again. Already we’re seeing the symbiotic association of take-outs and delivery service.
Other such relationships will follow and as they become better known will only enhance the community as a destination of choice.
Boston Pizza opens in the community today. But the addition of a bright new light in the downtown core has the potential to open so many other doors as well.
The choice is ours, Osoyoos. We can refuse to open those doors, lock them tight even in an effort to maintain the security of our current condition.
Or we can answer the knock and collectively rethink our vision.
I’m hoping it’s “game-on” for the latter.