Each year, Lancaster County brings thousands of tourists to its lush farmland. The main attraction to many tourists is the county’s entwined, but separate, culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish. From great eats to amusement parks and various museums celebrating their history, there’s a variety of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch culture to experience. But what if you wanted to explore the best of what modern, local Lancaster had to offer? That is what the guys behind Things To Do Lancaster have ventured forth to do for Lancaster lovers all over.
This local business run by Matthew Roda, creator of Roda Marketing, and Chris Breimhurst, the man behind Things To Do Lancaster’s social media accounts (such as their Instagram and Twitter) and the designer of the web page, have set out to do.
After spending five years out in California learning the ways of marketing, Matthew came back to Lancaster, where he was born and raised, to start up Roda Marketing with his brother. Things To Do Lancaster (T.T.D.L.) is an extension of their marketing business; the idea came about one night when Matthew’s girlfriend was on the Internet searching for things to do in the area and suggested to the Roda Marketing team that they create a website that would make it easier to find the best events in Lancaster.
Chris became apart of the T.T.D.L. team when he noticed their storefront from his apartment window in Lancaster City: “I saw their decal and decided to search them online and sent them an e-mail,” he said. Roda refers to Chris as one of the “crazy first ones” to have been a part of Things To Do from the beginning, but also as a saving grace. Roda says that when Chris came in he helped “define and control certain things” for the company, such as their website, which has helped the business thrive.
So how do these guys set about to find the peachy, unheard-of things to do in Lancaster? Breimhurst says it starts with him finding out what his friends are talking about. “I’ll ask my friends, ‘what’s a fun thing to do at this time of the year?’.” From there Chris goes to the suggested places and while he’s there enjoying what they have to offer, he checks to see if they have a display of business cards or brochures to find other events or places to go to in the county. “As time has gone on and we have gotten deeper into our social media, I’ve made connections and now people are finally starting to reach out to us,” said Chris.
However, it hasn’t been easy to get to where they are now in their business. “There’s probably at least a dozen more businesses in the area who are trying to do what we are doing,” said Matthew. Because of this competition, Things To Do Lancaster has had to find their voice in all of the noise and define their brand, so that they can be the only ones heard to advertisers. With the help of time and advice from the businesses they’ve pitched to, they’ve figured out which business model works best for them. “We’ve discovered that we’re really good with photography, video and social media,” stated Chris. From these platforms they can then put together little packages for businesses and also get the word out to their users about the events and places, which they handpick as the best that Lancaster has to offer. In the early stages of the site it was just a basic business directory site with numerous links to a calendar of events. Now that they have developed as a business they’ve readjusted and filtered out the events that they want to share with their users. Because of this, users will trust what they have to say and continuously come to them as their source for finding events.