Ahoskie’s most wanted restaurant

Published 8:43 am Monday, May 20, 2013

If Ahoskie needs anything it’s a nice family, steak house restaurant.  I don’t think we have a restaurant in our fair town that serves a fine steak.

It totally baffles me that a town the size of Ahoskie has no establishment like this. I would think a nice night time restaurant would be overrun with business and would have to beat diners back with a stick.

It certainly would make our town more appealing to visitors, business travelers, vacationers, and just about all of our citizens. Just think of the couples and families that are driving to Greenville, Norfolk, Suffolk and Murfreesboro just to dine. With the exception of dining at home in Murfreesboro, think about all our tax revenue that’s being spent in other cities, even those out of state.

For the life of me I can’t understand why an investor, business person, or entrepreneur would not be chomping at the bit to open a restaurant up here. There is little competition, and a great desire among the population for a good steak house.  True, we do not have a large customer base, but what we do have is a large area of population that would drive here should we land a nice night time restaurant. I must hear a dozen times a week from citizens of all walks of life how much they would enjoy a nice steakhouse.

Rural markets such as ours have a great challenge recruiting chain style restaurants in this economy. We don’t have oceans or mountains, so we are going to have to work a bit harder to attract these types of restaurants.  We must sell the Roanoke-Chowan area first and Ahoskie second. It is important to know who we are and how best to market our assets in this specialized industry.   We must be able to demonstrate to prospective clients what’s in it for them. The largest radio station in the world is WIIFM is (What’s In It For Me).

When we are out in our community especially when we visit other communities, it’s awful easy to say things like…Oh well, Ahoskie is just too small for anything nice or Ahoskie will never grow; even worse, Ahoskie can’t support a nice restaurant.

We all need to develop an “Elevator Speech” about Ahoskie, which with practice should take less than 60 seconds. Instead of being negative, bring out the great we have.

One of things I think would be impressive is using the population of not only of Ahoskie and Hertford County, but entire the Roanoke-Chowan area. The population of all four counties that make up the Roanoke-Chowan area is around 88,000. That’s enough people that would get the attention of any restaurant or retailer. Most chain style restaurant or retailer would market themselves to the entire area anyway.  A couple of other positives are the fantastic park featuring softball, soccer, multi-purpose fields, a walking track and an awesome amphitheater that can play host to most any type of events. And the ace up our sleeve is Chowan University. Think not only of the students and staff there, but the visitors that come and go from that beautiful campus….especially athletic teams coming in to play the Hawks.

We have a great opportunity in Ahoskie for someone.  I hope someone steps up to the plate and takes advantage of this golden opportunity.

Joe Cowart is Publisher of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at joe.cowart@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7218.