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Published June 05, 2009, 08:00 AM

New information center opens at Corn Palace

Changes at the Corn Palace continue, and the cumulative result is having a positive effect on tourists, according to Dale Odegaard, head of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce’s tourism division.
The new promotional video has been playing for several weeks and already is having an influence on the way tourists see the Corn Palace, he said, and a new information center — completed earlier this week — is helping shape the way they see Mitchell as a whole.

By: Staff, The Daily Republic

Changes at the Corn Palace continue, and the cumulative result is having a positive effect on tourists, according to Dale Odegaard, head of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce’s tourism division.

The new promotional video has been playing for several weeks and already is having an influence on the way tourists see the Corn Palace, he said, and a new information center — completed earlier this week — is helping shape the way they see Mitchell as a whole.

The information center, added to the lobby of the Corn Palace, is staffed by Mitchell residents who are knowledgeable, both in regard to the Corn Palace and the city. Thursday, just two days after it was finished, Odegaard said he was seeing results.

“We have semi-retired people greeting our visitors to the Corn Palace. … (Greeters) spend a lot of time telling (tourists) about the video they can see and they also are spending a lot more time talking to them about Mitchell itself and the other attractions,” Odegaard said. “From that standpoint, we think we’re going to create a little more interest in spending more time in Mitchell and walking down Main Street and things of that nature. The tour guides handle the tours only, and greeters greet and thank people for coming. I think it’s going to work very well.”

Odegaard said the information center and the new video are working hand-in-hand. In years past, fewer people were watching the former video — possibly as few as 40 or 50 percent.

“No, I think with the way we’re working the visitor information center, we’re probably getting 80 percent of the people to go into the theater and sit down and watch,” he said. “I think it will make a big difference.”

Emmy Smith, of Mitchell, is a new tour guide at the Palace. Already, she said she’s getting good feedback about the video.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive comments, that it’s really good and the history in it is good,” she said.

Said Odegaard: “If they don’t want to go see the movie, they don’t have to. But I think we get a better response from tourists if they see the video. It explains the uses of the Corn Palace. … I think they get a better feeling and understand a little more about the Palace.”

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