To Be Held Friday, January 24, 2020 At the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, NY

COBLESKILL, NY (JANUARY 15, 2020) – Schoharie Economic Enterprise Corporation (SEEC) has announced a robust lineup of featured speakers for their much-anticipated first Prosperity Forum, “Lodging Possibilities,” to be held on Friday, January 24 at the American Hotel in Sharon Springs, NY from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (check-in at 9:30 am). The Lodging Forum will be co-hosted by Schoharie County Government, Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce and Destination Marketing Corporation (Schoharie County’s Tourism Promotion Agency) and is being presented as a creative collaboration, meant to address key issues, brainstorm solutions, highlight market opportunities, generate and mobilize investment in Schoharie County.

Forum panelists will include:

  • BOB HOLT (Executive Director of the National Caves Association and past Chair of NYSHTA – New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association) will speak about state-wide lodging trends.
  • JOHN SHIDELER (General Manager of The Otesaga Resort & Cooper Inn) will share insights from running a successful world class accommodation.
  • KEN MEIFERT (VP Sponsorship & Development, National Baseball Hall of Fame) will talk about how an international attraction can impact tourism.
  • SHANNON HAYES, Ph.D (Owner of Sap Bush Hollow Farm Store & Café in West Fulton, NY and author of “The Radical Homemaker”) will speak about non-traditional lodging accommodations, such as Airbnb and Tentrr.

The Forum is geared toward hospitality specialists, hoteliers, campground operators and homeowners interested in welcoming guests to Schoharie County. The intent is to strengthen and develop more tourism-related businesses and attract prospective investors from local and regional communities. There is no fee to attend, but you must pre-register on the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce website by January 20th


“The fact that SEEC chose lodging as the topic of the first Prosperity Forum further illustrates just how important the industry is to the future success of Schoharie County,” said SANDRA MANKO, Supervisor for the Town of Sharon Springs and Chair of the Historical Oversight Committee and Occupancy Tax Board. Manko is responsible for guiding the reinvestment of Occupancy Tax dollars collected in the county, which are used to fund tourism efforts. “Local lodging has experienced a dramatic shift in recent years,” she said. “We need to recognize the impact of closing facilities, but take advantage of the rising popularity of non-traditional accommodations like Airbnb and Tentrr. If we could support stabilization of the local lodging industry and inspire some growth, the positive effects would trickle throughout our county,” she added.


While Occupancy Tax revenue has declined, Schoharie County legislators voted to use the income to engage Destination Marketing Corporation (DMC) in hopes of spurring more tourism activity. DMC was selected based on its success leading the Otsego County program and has since been designated as the Tourism Promotion Agency of Schoharie County.


ERYNNE ANSEL-McCABE, Travel Trade Manager for DMC, agreed that lodging is an important place to start. “The relationship between lodging and tourism is symbiotic, and in order to be effective, both systems must thrive,” she said. Ansel-McCabe has been traveling the county to recruit participation in the Lodging Prosperity Forum, in what she is calling a “fresh approach.” “We hope that attendees will be energized by hearing the success stories of the impressive panel, be inspired to think outside the box and more importantly, feel motivated to make positive change,” she added.


Lodging Prosperity Forum Schedule (Check-In to start at 9:30 am):


10:00 – 10:30 am:

– Welcome Address from SEEC Executive Director, JULIE PACATTE

– Introduction of SANDRA MANKO, Supervisor for the Town of Sharon Springs and Chair of

the Historical Oversight Committee and Occupancy Tax Board

– Host Greeting from DOUG PLUMMER & GARTH ROBERTS, owners of the American Hotel

– Situation Analysis presentation from CASSANDRA HARRINGTON, Executive Director for Destination

Marketing Corporation (Schoharie County’s Tourism Promotion Agency)


10:30 – 11:15 am:

Panel Presentation


11:15 am – 12:15 pm:

Breakout Sessions (divide into groups with assigned facilitators to identify potential barriers and brainstorm solutions)


12:30 – 1:00 pm:

Buffet Lunch


1:00 – 1:45 pm:

Breakout Groups report key discussion points from Breakout Sessions


1:45 – 2:00 pm:

Wrap-Up … What are the next steps?


DOUG PLUMMER, who owns the American Hotel and serves as the Mayor of Sharon Springs and well as a member of SEEC’s Advisory Council, said he is thrilled to be part of the Lodging Prosperity Forum. “I’m so honored to be able to host this event at the American Hotel and to possibly provide inspiration from my own success story,” he said. “The hope is that we come out of this Forum with concrete ideas on how we can move forward as a team, and collaborate together to boost Schoharie County,” he added.


Future installments of the SEEC Prosperity Forum Series will address priority community topics such as Downtown Development, Access to Capital, Invention/Innovation & Technology, Commercial & Industrial Development and Agriculture Value Add Products. For more information about how to participate in SEEC’s Prosperity Forum Series, email




Established by the private sector, Schoharie Economic Enterprise Corporation, commonly known as “SEEC,” was organized as a not-for-profit to strengthen Schoharie County by fostering economic growth. SEEC serves as a liaison to local municipalities and institutional leaders with the common goal of highlighting distinctive points of light within the community, cultivating entrepreneurial endeavors and enhancing the ability of local businesses to add value to their enterprises. SEEC is guided by social, environmental and financial principles that will accelerate growth and help provide sustainability through a collaborative and thriving business community.


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Julie Pacatte

Executive Director, SEEC

(518) 517-1700



Trisha Miller

Publicist, SEEC

(917) 848-5787

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