Business team reveals how to make Lipa Park shine

Lipa Park Slovenian Hall/Banquet Centre

Stan Drobnich knows Lipa Park is a gem.

The past president of the cultural club of the Slovenian National Home of Niagara region can rhyme off all the reasons that make Lipa Park shine.

It’s tucked away on 13 acres of park-like grounds in bucolic Pelham, making it ideal for hosting outdoor events. It boasts a modern kitchen that chefs “would be drooling to use.” And there’s a sizeable wedding and banquet hall to serve as the backdrop for milestone moments and other special events.

But Drobnich also knows Lipa Park needs a little polish to be the crown jewel of Niagara’s event scene in a post-pandemic world.

So, he turned to Niagara College’s Business and Commercialization Solutions, and the research team of Paula Reile and Mackenzie Haines, for help. Drobnich was keen to get new insight to freshen up the image of Lipa Park and ensure the future of the cultural hub.

“We don’t have any plans for anything,” Drobnich said. “If the kitchen staff called one day and said, ‘We quit,’ we don’t have a backup plan. If the gentleman doing the landscaping phones one day and says, ‘I can’t take this,’ we don’t have a backup.” 

Ditto for securing bookings at the banquet and wedding hall. If they stopped coming, there was no plan to fill the void in business.

That’s where Reile and Haines came in, drafting an advertising and marketing blueprint while the Lipa Park executive committee embarked on a new strategic plan.  

Two months after meeting with Drobnich and learning about Lipa Park in fall 2020, Reile and Haines came up with something that went above and beyond expectation.

 “When I read the report, I was a) overwhelmed; b) totally impressed; and c) I couldn’t believe the depth they went into for this report.” – Stan Drobnich, past president, Slovenian National Home

“I was hoping to get some guidance and direction as to what we should be doing about marketing and advertising,” Drobnich said. “In the end, what we got was a very thorough and comprehensive report that brought in an environmental scan and analysis of our competitors. Their work was superlative.”

The report also identified Lipa Park’s target market, including age and income bracket. It offered ways to reach different demographics for wedding bookings, renting the kitchen to chefs, caterers and food artisans when it’s not being used by the hall staff, and courting festivals, sporting events or craft shows in need of a venue.

In addition, the NC research team suggested improvements to the Lipa Park website and ways to leverage social media, including using Pinterest to showcase food and decor options for events.

All of it holds the promise of a bright future for the cultural club as other centres disappear or shutter for lack of evolving and adapting as the communities surrounding them change.

“I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic,” Drobnich said. “When I read the report, I was a) overwhelmed; b) totally impressed; and c) I couldn’t believe the depth they went into for this report. It was so comprehensive and backed up everything they were saying.

“When I shared it with key individuals at the club, everyone was impressed.”

Visit the Business & Commercialization Solutions website to learn more about the capabilities offered by the team or discover how initial feasibility research is helpful prior to engaging with Research & Innovation for applied research projects.