Hopkinsville REALTORS Introduce Military Families to Housing Opportunities in Their Small Town
Even though the Kentucky town of Hopkinsville is a great place to live, many nearby military families were not aware of it. Thousands of families, stationed just 15 minutes south at nearby Fort Campbell, were making their home in a bigger, higher-profile metropolis instead.
In order to raise awareness about the town, the 64-member Hopkinsville Christian & Todd County Association of REALTORS® [HCCBOR] got their attention with a fun-filled “REALTOR® Military Appreciation Picnic.” this past September.
“We realized that the issue was promotion,” recalls HCCBOR Association Executive Gay Wilson “so we brainstormed ways to let the soldiers at Fort Campbell know about us, and at the same time, let them know how much we appreciate their service to our country.”
Working with the Military Affairs Committee of the local Chamber of Commerce, HCCBOR planned and promoted the picnic at an attractive working farm venue north of town, which forced its guests from Fort Campbell to drive through Hopkinsville en route to the event.
The association got the word out with radio spots and social media posts, specifically targeting military spouses on the base. Local businesses and HCCBOR affiliate members contributed gift cards, door prizes, and items for goody bags. The local electric company even provided bottled water.
Although they had no way of predicting how many people to expect, they were hoping to attract about 500 military family members. “Imagine our shock when over 700 military family members showed up!” laughs Wilson, “Luckily, we had increased our food order at the last minute, just in case.”
Almost half of HCCBOR’s membership worked the event, greeting the military families, thanking them personally, and sharing information about Hopkinsville and its small-town benefits, as well as housing opportunities in the community. Others manned the grills and served the hundreds upon hundreds of hotdogs.
“Everyone had a great time, and we kept hearing from our military guests, ‘We’d never even heard of Hopkinsville!’ So, it really was a huge success.” states Wilson, who would like to be able to repeat the event every few years.
Meanwhile, HCCBOR has been able to follow up with picnic guests who registered for door prizes. Businesses in Hopkinsville are benefiting from the military-spouse word-of mouth network. With the active support of HCCBOR, a member of the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce now attends a weekly orientation for new soldiers at Fort Campbell, to raise the town’s profile on the base.
And, since the picnic, Hopkinsville has seen steady home sales to military families. “We’re up to between 7-10 a month,” reports Wilson “and it has been awesome!”