Grove City’s new visitors center is designed to be a destination in its own right.
“Destination organizations like ours always serve as the front door to their community,” said Amanda Davis, Visit Grove City executive director. “We’ve tried to create a visitors center that will be our community’s living room, a place where visitors and residents alike will be able to relax, spend some time and find out more about everything Grove City has to offer.”
The grand-opening event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. June 15 at Visit Grove City’s headquarters, 3995 Broadway.
The event will include drinks and hors d’oeuvres from local farms and eateries and the unveiling of several activities that “will be adventures in themselves,” Davis said.
“These will be activities that people can stop by and enjoy whenever we’re open,” she said.
One of those in-house adventures is a charging station visitors can operate by riding a stationary bicycle.
“There’s an attachment that’s hooked up to the bike and as you pedal, it will charge up your device,” Davis said. “You can kind of challenge yourself to see how fast you can charge your cellphone. The faster you pedal, the quicker your device will charge.”
The grand opening also will feature the launch of Grove City Guide + Gear, an expansion of Visit Grove City’s retail shop.
“We’re working with many of our area businesses to have them create custom-made items to sell at the shop. We’ll be revealing those at the grand-opening event,” Davis said. “We’ll continue to offer Grove City-made items in the store, but we’ll also be offering merchandise that fits our Altogether Adventure brand.”
The store will feature a peanut butter and jelly trail mix ideal for families created by Tropical Nut and Fruit, she said. Circle S Farms will offer a new strawberry hot sauce.
The visitors center will offer an exhibition of works from the Grove City Arts Council centered around the Altogether Adventure theme, said Dany Adams, communications manager for Visit Grove City and a member of the arts council.
“Some of the pieces were done especially for the exhibition we were planning, but there are a lot of pieces that fit into that general adventure theme,” she said.
Visit Grove City moved its offices from Gateway Center near Interstate 71 to Broadway “because we wanted to be in the Town Center, which is the heart of Grove City,” Davis said.
The goal is to be an organization that serves not only visitors coming to Grove City but also residents who live and businesses that operate in the city, she said.
The Altogether Adventure rebranding was the result of an 18-month study to determine what makes Grove City unique.
When Beulah Park closed in 2014, “we lost what had been our iconic identifier as an area known for thoroughbred racing and the annual balloon festival,” Davis said.
“We wanted to continue to tell the story about what made Grove City special, and we undertook the study to determine was the one thing that made Grove City unique,” she said.
After talking to visitors, residents, business owners, people in the tourism industry and representatives from other communities’ visitors bureaus, the answer was clear, she said.
“No one else in central Ohio can offer what we can as an adventure destination,” Davis said. “Whether it’s hiking the REI river trail at Scioto Grove Metro Park, canoeing down the Big Darby River or visiting the Kickmaster Footgolf course, the LVL UP paintball park or the Dream Field, we have adventures for every interest and level of skill and ability.”
“It’s the variety of the opportunities for adventure experiences you can have in our community that sets us apart,” said Bev Babbert, president of Visit Grove City’s board of trustees.
The new visitors center and Guide + Gear store “are the next step in our mission to tell our story,” she said.
While it is still too early to measure the impact of the Altogether Adventure brand, the anecdotal evidence indicates the theme is having an impact, Davis said.
“We’re hearing more from people and seeing on social media that people are increasingly recognizing and know Grove City as an adventure destination,” she said.
The grand opening is free. Guests are encouraged to register at eventbrite.com/e/ grove-city-guide-gear-and-visit-grove-city-open-house-tickets-46324404541.
The visitor center also will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 16 during the Grove City Wine and Arts Festival in the Town Center.
More information is available at www.visitgrovecityoh.com.