When Tera McNellis and her family moved to Arvada three years ago, there was snow on the ground and the family would pile into the car and drive around town on the weekends to see what Arvada had to …
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When Tera McNellis and her family moved to Arvada three years ago, there was snow on the ground and the family would pile into the car and drive around town on the weekends to see what Arvada had to offer.
“With it still being winter, we hadn’t met any neighbors yet and it was hard to get recommendations and referrals,” McNellis said.
That’s when she got the idea for a welcome bag program. When she asked around she found out that the city already had a welcome bag program, but that it wasn’t reaching all new residents.
“The Visitors Center had been running this program for the past four years but it needed some new life,” said Jean Gordon, director of the Arvada Visitors Center. “We saw the value in partnering with Tera to take it to the next level and make sure these residents are being talked to and welcomed.”
McNellis and her company Blue Door Welcoming Service are now partnering with the Arvada Visitors Center to enhance the welcome bag program — which includes an in-person delivery.
The bag itself, an insulated reusable bag, is filled with items from local businesses including candy from Endstrom, pens, sticky notes, a mini ice pack, and a Frisbee among other things. The bag also includes a relocation guide with coupons and special offers.
“I hand-selected businesses within Arvada that do a good job and are friendly,” McNellis said of the first guide. “We wanted it to be places that we use and I trust putting my personal recommendation out there.”
McNellis started delivering bags from the revamped program in July. The goal is to deliver 250 welcome bags to new residents through February. Next year that will double with an updated relocation guide and new items in the bag.
“What a great way to help new residents feel welcome,” said Paul Trujillo, a new Arvada resident who recently received a welcome bag. “The in-person delivery by Tera McNellis was a great touch — it felt very personal.”
The personal touch is what McNellis is striving for.
“It gives that small town feel,” she said of the in-person delivery. “It also helps because I can talk to people and ask if they’ve found their way and I can point them to someone. It’s gone over really well. People are excited to see a friendly face at the door and get coupons.”
Gordon said the Visitor Center’s partnership with Blue Door just made sense.
“She is becoming a resource — if you don’t know anyone in town at least you know her,” Gordon said of McNellis. “Our mission is to attract visitors, but we also want to position Arvada as a great place to work, live and play. What a better touchpoint than to have a new resident welcome bag in place.”
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