With the Labour Day Weekend behind us, the Cochrane Visitor Information Centre is on target to surpass its number of users in 2017.
Located at 521 1st St. W. in the historic downtown, the centre has already assisted 9,250 people and with over three months remaining in 2018, it's likely to crash last year's total of about 9,400.
Suzanne Goyetche, of the centre, established a 10,000 customer benchmark for the year and there's been a steady climb of use, particularly during the summer months. From June to August, she says they’ve seen increases ranging from 25 to 40 per cent than 2017.
It's difficult to pin it down to one particular reason, she says. Some are here visiting family and friends while others have heard of Cochrane and wanted to learn more. Yet others are potential new Cochranites.
Cochrane is also growing in popularity as a base for visitors to the area, especially with hotels filled to capacity in Banff and Canmore.
“Make us your base and then you can go east, south, north, west--whatever way-- then you can come back and relax and put your feet up and have a good time in Cochrane,” says Goyetche.
“People are wanting to get out of the crowd. They want some peace and quiet and they want to enjoy the views and nature. We provide all of that.”
While visiting the centre, those planning to make a shortstop in the community quickly learn there’s reason to stay longer.
“The common reaction when I go through everything with them is, ‘I guess we need more than two hours’. So a lot of them rethink it, and decide to come back or stay longer.”
The coziness of the centre and its location in the historic downtown is proving to be a hit.
“They love the hominess of it. They love that we don’t have a counter and stand behind and have to say ‘Next’. They’ll sit down and relax. I think they actually stay longer than they plan on.”
“Most times we have the time to really spend with them. We’re very hospitable with them and take time to explain things so when they walk out that door they know where they’re going and they know what they can look at.
The centre currently opens daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Oct. 1, hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until May.