Former SBDC Director Sees Huge Local Benefits in Destination Creation Course

Apr 25, 2022 | Article by Gene Stowe, Blog

As Director of the Lane Small Business Development Center in Lane County, Oregon, Robert Killen discovered that Jon Schallert’s Destination Creation Course spoke practically and directly to independent business owners and to the needs of his county’s rural communities.

Lane County stretches from the Pacific Coast to the Cascade mountain range. Throughout this county, Killen found that typical business meetings about entrepreneurship were missing the local business owners’ needs.

“I noticed that the businesses that are the heart and soul of rural communities are mostly left out of those discussions,” Killen said.

Killen became a trained and certified Facilitator of the Destination Creation Course so that he could offer Schallert’s proven marketing methods to his county’s owners. The Course offered an affordable way for independent owners to take a workshop because it can be taught online or in-person, and owners do not have to leave their communities to attend the class.

The 8-chapter class helps businesses elevate their unique products, services, and personalized experiences to attract out-of-market consumers while also attracting more locals, many of whom spend their money at out-of-town businesses.

“The Destination Creation Course is a perfect fit for rural communities who are trying to figure out a way to bring in more dollars,” Killen said. “As I went through the course, I was really blown away by the wealth of value-rich tactics that this program contains. A lot of training programs have marvelous theory, marvelous mind work, but can be a little light in practice. Jon has focused on tactics that clearly work, evidenced by businesses that use the tactics. I was really impressed by that.

“Where I see this fitting in is in those conversations with local communities who are all too often following the buzz-phrases, silver-bullet conversations. This course offers up a true value communities can invest in, a program they can invest in that will provide value to the businesses they already know and love.”

The emphasis on Destination Creation strategies can boost whole communities as well as individual businesses, dovetailing with broader civic projects such as public art, events, and outreach, said Killen, who this year became Deputy Director of Oregon RAIN.

“The heart of this is about establishing a value proposition for each business that makes people say, ‘I am only going to your business for this,’” he explained. “That concept can be translated to the communities themselves. As a result of the Schallert Method, I can bring to those conversations a process, a strategy, a philosophy that underpins what they’re trying to do, to strengthen and perhaps to broaden the possibilities, to think a little bigger.”

Those interested in becoming a certified Facilitator of the Destination Creation Course can learn about the two classes being offered in 2022 by going to