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International Plowing Match (IPM) 2019 committee chair Neil Fox (left) and West Nipissing municipal representative Stephan Poulin (right) were among the local delegation at the 2018 IPM in Chatham-Kent, and chatted up Ontario Premier Doug Ford when he stopped at the West Nipissing booth at the event. West Nipissing is preparing the host the 2019 IPM, a world-class agricultural showcase.
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by Isabel Mosseler
A contingent of at least 43 people from West Nipissing went to the 2018 International Plowing Match (IPM) in Chatham-Kent last week to get up close and familiar with what’s involved with putting on a world class agricultural event, in preparation for the next year’s plowing match right here in Verner.
Neil Fox, Chair of the executive committee for the 2019 International Plowing Match, and Stephan Poulin, Director of Community Services and municipal resource/liaison to the IPM 2019 committee, came away feeling pumped with the experience. They say their strong team just got stronger, and everyone is energized to move forward.
Fox said they even had a 20-minute visit with Ontario Premier Doug Ford at the event. “We had a great trip. We were prepared. We sold nearly 300 RV sites. …We did about $20K in merchandise sales, including our cookbook, our shirts, our hats.” He proudly added that the West Nipissing merchandise is top quality, made in Canada, with a portion of hat sales going to Canadian veterans. “We tried to be socially responsible. …Premium merchandise is also about our brand and our community. We have positioned our community as a destination.”
With a goal of selling 1500 to 1800 RV sites for next year, and 80,000 people expected to attend the IPM, Verner and West Nipissing will definitely become a destination.
Fox explained that the chairs of the various local committees were asked to “case out their area of responsibility and bring back the do’s and don’ts to our match in 2019. This was an intel gathering exercise.” He added that it really galvanized the team to see everything in reality, to get a firmer understanding of the preparation and work done to date, and that the exercise paid off. “The level of confidence has always been high,” he said. “We will share that in our Open House …later in October.”
The IPM 2019 Committee plans to hold a question and answer session for the community and will also be hosting the Chamber After 5 event this Thursday, September 27. “I came back from the trip in Chatham knowing, and having the confidence, that our team, all the work we’ve done, the results are paying off. We have hard numbers now to support the initiatives we’ve taken to date.”
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