New map customized for <br>visitors coming to local area soon<br>

Connie Freson displays a sample of a map that will be available in Williams and Grand Canyon soon. Freson has partnered with Discovery Map International to bring the new map to the area.

Connie Freson, who has lived in the Williams/Grand Canyon area for 24 years, is teaming up with Discovery Map International to bring a map of Williams, Grand Canyon, and Historic Route 66 to the area. Discovery Map International has been publishing and marketing maps since 1987, the first one being a map of Sun Valley, Idaho.

The company now has 20 different maps available in the Western United States. Discovery Map was available at the Olympics in Park City, Utah and is available in all major markets in the West. Along with Williams, there are two other franchises in northern Arizona.

Flagstaff Discovery Map has been in circulation since 2001 and Sedona Discovery Map is the newest edition, set to come out in 2004. The Williams edition is set to come out in January. The Discovery Maps, which come out once a year, have been very successful.

“It’s really neat because they’re locally owned businesses, but they’re under the umbrella of Discovery Map, so each map has the experience and professionalism of a nationally run company,” said Vicki Starr. She is President and Founder of Discovery Map International, which is headquartered in Anacortes, Wash

“Flagstaff Discovery Map has been phenomenally popular.” said Starr, “We can’t restock them fast enough.”

Freson said that she expects the same thing to happen in the Williams area. Freson is very excited to help local businesses promote themselves to visitors. Freson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing/merchandising from Indiana University.

She worked for the State of Indiana as a budget analyst for seven years before moving out west to the Grand Canyon. Freson said this had been a dream of hers since she first visited the Southwest and she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

While living at the Grand Canyon she worked as a front desk clerk and supervisor, gift shop manager and controller. Freson then moved to Williams. Most recently Freson worked as an account representative for the Williams-Grand Canyon News for five years. She is an active Chamber Ambassador and the treasurer of the ESA social club.

“The map is really going to benefit from Connie’s love and familiarity with the area,” Starr said.

Freson learned about Discovery Map International through local connections. It was her talk with Norman Mayes who started Flagstaff Discovery Map that convinced her that this would be a worth while venture.

“I want to bring all of Northern Arizona together and help out the local businesses,” said Freson. The Williams/Grand Canyon Discovery Map will feature downtown Williams. The map also gives a good amount of space to Seligman, Ash Fork, Parks and Grand Canyon Village. Local art teacher Bonnie Dent will be doing all of the artwork for the map. Dent has taught in the Williams Public Schools for 28 years and for Coconino and Yavapai community colleges.

The map will be an illustration of the city topography. The map will feature cultural aspects and points of interest, such as the Grand Canyon Railway. All of the downtown buildings will be included. Starr described it as a labor of love for Dent who made sure to leave plenty of room for Williams High School on the map.

“We are going to take Williams and make it look like Disneyland to visitors,” said Starr. “We’re going to show how much there is to do and see.”

Freson and Starr said that their main goal is to get visitors to plan to spend more time in Williams and the Grand Canyon, even if it’s only a few more hours.

“If visitors stay even a few more hours the money they spend in that time has an enormous positive impact on the shops and restaurants in the community,” said Starr.

It is an 18-inch by 34-inch map and is supported by advertising. Ads are placed on the back of the map and include a short summary of the business. Discovery map is a free publication for visitors. The maps will be distributed through the Williams Visitor Center, the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and participating merchants. All of Discovery Map International’s maps can be found on their Web site at www.discoverymap.com

Pimi Bennett of the Williams Visitor Center said of the upcoming Williams/Grand Canyon Discovery Map, “After working here for nine years, I’ve seen many maps come and go. Discovery Map is awesome. It’ s the best I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be a great aspect for the Williams businesses and visitors.”

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