Working diligently to keep the business community in and around St. Joseph on the minds and in the thoughts of residents and tourists alike, the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber and St. Joseph Today have teamed up with the City of St. Joseph to showcase the community like never before, allowing all of us to visit St. Joe from the comfort of our couch.
The city of St. Joseph, in concert with the Chamber and St. Joseph Today, recently announced the launch of a special new website that allows all of us to virtually stroll through downtown St. Joseph, facilitate shopping, and check out what’s new along the bluff.
The site, which can be found at this link http://SeeStJoseph.com features a 360-degree walk-through of the central business district downtown, video highlights of the downtown and the businesses located there, and also catalogs any COVID-specific information that visitors might find useful in their tour.
The site, which initially supports the local economy in light of the pandemic, will continue to serve as a “gateway” piece for years to come, according to St. Joseph Community Development Director Kristen Gundersen.
Gundersen says, “We’ve been listening to downtown owners and the challenges they’re facing, and we wanted to create something that gave visitors never-before-seen access to their businesses.” She adds, “St. Joseph – unlike many other summer destinations around the Midwest – is very fortunate in that we’re a fantastic place to get away with the kids, shop and stay, while still being careful. We’re a short car trip away from Chicago, Indianapolis, and Detroit. We have wonderful outdoor experiences and we don’t have the congestion that other cities see.”
Virtual reality company CrazeVR of St. Joseph created the 360-degree tour that not only gives users the ability to casually stroll along the downtown district, but also gives visitors specific information about businesses and even landmarks along the bluff. Downtown merchants will also have an opportunity to enhance their individual presence within the platform by opting to do a virtual tour of their business in the coming weeks.
Arthur Havlicek, President of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, encourages business owners to do just that, saying: “The virtual tour of downtown is designed to keep folks dreaming, yearning, and planning to visit our area, but that’s just the start. Individual tours will allow consumers to actually explore inside shops, look at products, and even purchase items – all without ever leaving the site.”
Havlicek adds, “This pandemic has underscored the need for businesses to have a strong online presence,” and concludes, “We’ve taken that a step further and leveraged technology to bring the beauty of an entire downtown right to the safety of someone’s own living room.”
Try it out, click the link above and take your own tour from wherever you are.