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Local businesses report some success marketing products on ferry


Northumberland Ferries Ltd has had a busy season this year with numbers up from last year.

Helen Buchan was one of the local business owners who featured her products on the ferry between P.E.I. and Caribou this summer. FILE PHOTO

“Compared to last year, we’ve had a strong summer,” said vice president of the company Danny Bartlett.

He said they had great weather in August, which may have contributed to the higher numbers.

“The weather was quite nice. That does play a factor on the summer travel,” he said.

Last year they had a hurricane in early July and some mechanical issues with their boats over the course of the season, which affected them at times, but this year it’s been smooth sailing so far.

He said there are about 350,000 people who travel via the ferry between Caribou and Wood Islands each year.

This year a new program called Seaside Experiences was introduced on the ferry to showcase the best of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. music, entertainment, food, wine and craft beer on select sailings in July and August.

The goal was to encourage more people to take the ferry by giving them the opportunity to enjoy unique regional experiences and soak up some local culture and music during their trip, said Jeff Gaudet, director of marketing and customer experience for Northumberland and Bay Ferries.

Bartlett said they received a lot of positive feedback from ferry travellers who enjoyed it.

Helen Buchan of Mrs. MacGregor’s Shortbreads in Pictou was one of the people who took part, featuring her famous shortbread on board.

“We enjoyed it very much,” Buchan said. “It was nice to bring a little attention to what Nova Scotia has to offer and particularly Pictou.”

At her booth she gave out samples and coupons for people to use at the store when they got off the ferry.

“We wanted to bring people into town as opposed to them driving straight onto the highway,” she said.

The results were good and they had a fair number of people stop in to use the coupons.

She said she’d definitely consider taking part if the program is offered again next year.

Uncle Leo’s Brewery was another local business featured on the ferry this summer, but co-owner Rebecca Whiffen said she’s not sure it was financially beneficial for their business. She said the ferry people were great to deal with and their product was well received by those on board, but she didn’t find the promotion resulted in enough sales for them to make it worthwhile.

She believes that might have been for a variety of reasons such as the market not being people who typically buy craft beer.

At the end of the day, she said, it was good exposure for them.

“You don’t know until you try it. We definitely gave it the old college try.”

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