By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Jeff Wix, while new to heritage tourism, brings a long track record of connecting businesses with the proper demographic groups and successfully communicating what they have to offer.
He believes this experience will pay off when he assumes duties as Ste. Genevieve’s director of tourism on Sept. 7.
Wix was hired after an extensive search, following Toby Carrig’s resignation to take a similar position in Marysville, Kansas.
“This is certainly something new to me in a manner of speaking,” Wix said. “However, I’m genuinely excited about it because it allows me to use my background and experience to be engaged in the community,from a marketing standpoint, being ale to utilize those skills to help maintain and to grow tourism in the region. Who knows, maybe I’ll bring in some new ideas to spark some conversations.”
Wix has spent most of his career in the radio field in New Mexico, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.
He is currently serving as outreach pastor at Oasis Life Center in Hardinsburg, Kentucky.
There, he has used his marketing skills to spread the Gospel. Here, he hopes to use them to spread thew word about charming, historic Ste. Genevieve.
Wix has some familiarity with the town.
“My wife and I lived in Cape Girardeau for a few years, then we moved to St. Louis and were there for a couple of years,” he said. “We were certainly well aware of Ste. Gen. and what a wonderful area that is. We always had an interest.
“Now this is obviously an opportunity to move there and become part of the community.”
Wix said it is too early to toss out any goals or objectives.
“Something I’ve learned from years in management is to make no preconceived ideas until you have an opportunity to get behind a desk and do bit of research and due diligence on what’s going on and what the goals are and have an opportunity to meet with anyone,” he said. “So I don’t have any goals right now.”
He estimates that it might take 30 to 45 days before he would “have some concrete goals” to pursue.
Wix is taking over the position at a unique time. The long-anticipated Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park and the Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center, along with the River Rapids Waterpark, have all opened within the last two years.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has mitigated the impact those new offerings have had on the area and its economy.
Wix, however, believes in seeking the proverbial could with a silver lining.
“It will be very interesting to see how the post-pandemic – obviously, we haven’t determined where we are in that yet – but it will be interesting to see how that changes tourism and vacationing and what the average American family does for time off.”