It hasn’t been held yet, but local producers of Savor the Central Coast, the new high-profile food and wine event planned for Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in the county, are optimistic about an encore.
“We hope to sign a contract with O’Donnell Lane (the promotion firm) for two more years,’’ after the SLO County Visitors & Conference Bureau and Sunset magazine review how well the event went, said Noreen Martin, a local businesswoman and VCB board president.
The VCB hired O’Donnell Lane of Sonoma County, which specializes in strategic planning, marketing and communications, to manage the event.
“It’d be great to do it again,” said Katie Tamony, editor-in-chief of Sunset magazine, which is presenting the event with the VCB. “We’re definitely feeling good about it, thinking it makes perfect sense for our brand.”
The magazine plans to make a decision shortly after the event, once it conducts a review, she said.
The VCB has hired Productive Impact of San Luis Obispo to conduct an independent economic impact study immediately after Savor, said John Summer, executive director of the VCB.
So far, the $1 million invested in Savor the Central Coast has generated strong ticket sales — with half from Central Coast residents ranging from Ventura to Monterey counties, and the other half mostly from the Bay Area and Los Angeles. A few tickets have been sold to people in Florida and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Some events are sold out, but tickets remain for farm and winery tours and six winemaker dinners, according to Steve Burns, co-owner of O’Donnell Lane.
Tickets are also being sold for Savor’s Main Event at the Santa Margarita Ranch, which will be spread over 10 acres. This event, held both Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, will include more than 130 wineries, food from more than 30 chefs, tourism displays, a general store, 2-acre garden, and wine and food tastings.
Organizers have sold 2,100 to 2,200 tickets for Saturday and 1,500 to 1,600 for Sunday; their goal is 2,500 tickets for each day, Burns said. Ticket information can be found at www.savorcentralcoast.com.
Most of the event is funded by sponsorships, ticket sales and participation fees from wineries, restaurants and other businesses.
Representatives of the VCB and Sunset magazine said they’d consider the event a success if it broke even.
The marketing impact for San Luis Obispo County is inestimable, Summer said. Sixty-two media outlets from across the country plan to cover Savor.
Summer and Martin both praised the collaboration among local communities, businesses and organizations to pull off the event.
— Sandra Duerr
CygNet Software, with corporate headquarters in San Luis Obispo and an office in Lafayette, La., recently hired Kevin Rowley as vice president of engineering.
CygNet Software provides operation platforms to oil and gas companies.
Rowley, who will report to CygNet President and CEO Chris Smith, holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
He has 25 years of experience developing enterprise software products, including as a director of quality assurance at the Wonderware unit of Invensys and as a lead engineer at Chevron Research and Technology.
— Julia Hickey