May 8, 2013

CVB mulling move to trade center

Charles Oliver

— The Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) could be moving from its downtown headquarters to the trade center.

“We are a little further than investigating a move, but we have not finalized anything yet,” said CVB Executive Director Bret Huske.

Huske is also the director of the trade center, having been appointed to that post last November by the board of the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center Authority.

“The idea is to get the three sales people that report directly to me in the same location. I feel that by having everyone together it creates an energy that is harder to recreate if you are a couple of miles apart in different offices,” he said. “We looked at bringing the trade center sales people down here, but we did not have two more offices.”

The CVB has shared office space in the old freight depot downtown for the past four years with the Downtown Dalton Development Authority. The City Council spent $289,400 renovating the depot, with $250,000 of that coming from a Georgia Department of Transportation grant.

Huske said if the CVB does move, four of its five full-time employees will move to the trade center. The fifth employee splits his time between the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center and the gift shop in the depot.

Huske said the CVB’s visitors center and gift shop would remain at the depot, manned by part-time employees.

“All the signage that we’ve developed over the years directs people to the visitors center downtown. The CVB staff really doesn’t interface with people who get off the interstate. That’s really the part-time staff,” he said. “We would continue to rent the meeting space, and I would imagine that we could continue to use the meeting space ourselves for some of our events.”

Huske said he hopes to make a decision on a possible move soon.

City Council member Gary Crews said having the CVB and trade center sales forces united would help both organizations.

“I’m sure the depot will continue to be an attraction downtown. The CVB will continue to hold events here. And freeing up that office space will give us the opportunity to use it for something else,” said Crews, who is the council’s liaison to the trade center.