The historic shopping district of Fairhaven has a new online presence: EnjoyFairhaven.com.
The new website was long overdue, says Scott Ward, executive director of the Historic Fairhaven Association (HFA) and co-owner of Current and Furbish. Years ago, the original website, fairhaven.com, was created to support the businesses in the Fairhaven Village, but eventually the website was sold, and the merchants and the association no longer had the same access to it to add events or make updates.
“The Fairhaven association realized it wasn’t serving us very well at all,” says Ward.
After months of saying “we really ought to do something new” and discussing just exactly what a new website would include, a committee including Ward, Robin Robertson from Bellingham Training and Tennis Club and Royal Reinsch from 1PaperBoat got to work with Brian Hardy of FizzPop Media and convened early in the year to get started on the new website.
Hardy said the discussions about the website’s content were focused and intentional. “We really thought about what people are looking for,” he says.
The website caters to both out-of-town visitors as well as locals in search of places to eat, drink, shop and stay in Fairhaven.
“We wanted something that really reflected the businesses and the community,” says Robin Robertson, who chaired the website steering committee. “The website is beautiful, and it really represents Fairhaven. And it’s easy for businesses to use and update.”
Merchants who are HFA members get a free listing on the website and can further customize the listing to showcase their business.
“The best thing about a website is that it works 24/7/365. It’s always on,” says Royal Reinsch.
As a Fairhaven merchant, Reinsch knows the importance of having an online presence. He says the new website’s business listings are a “tremendous opportunity” for merchants to have a link to their website or social media.
In the coming months, www.EnjoyFairhaven.com will feature HFA-member businesses with itineraries that offer suggestions for making a day trip or weekend visit. Whether a tourist or a local is looking for romance, adventure or relaxation, these itineraries will make suggestions for activities in Fairhaven, pointing the way to the local businesses that can bring the itineraries to life.
“These itineraries will showcase what Fairhaven is about and drive visitors to the featured businesses,” says Robertson.
The website is also a centralized place for announcements, selling tickets to events and much more. In the future, EnjoyFairhaven.com will also feature an online store filled with Fairhaven swag.
The HFA is responsible for hosting many of the community events that take place in Fairhaven throughout the year, from the Fairhaven Festival in conjunction with Ski to Sea to the month-long Winterfest. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, events in the first half of the year were cancelled, but Robertson says the HFA is hopeful it can host some events this year in a modified fashion that maintains the state’s safety guidelines.
Originally set for the end of August, the annual Vino in the Village is being rethought and rescheduled as part of Winterfest. Details for the wine walk are still being worked out, Robertson says, but they hope to bring a hybrid event, with virtual and in-person elements, to showcase Pacific Northwest offerings and local businesses.
Another interesting feature on the new website is its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant accessibility features. When users navigate to the website, they will see a blue icon in the lower right-hand corner. By clicking on the icon, it gives them several “accessibility adjustments” to assist people who may benefit from accommodations, such as reducing flashes and color for those with epilepsy to a screen reader for blind users.
While Hardy provided the web development know-how, Ward, who is an artist, provided much of the creative inspiration for the look of the website.
Perhaps most importantly, the new EnjoyFairhaven.com website is now a true reflection of how the HFA sees itself and the Village. “It’s consistent with our image and what we are trying to present,” says Ward.
Reinsch adds that everyone involved deserves kudos for a job well done: “Everyone was dedicated to doing it right. I just think they did a great job.”
Featured photo by Bartek Wernicki