Swamp Rabbits: Greenville’s hockey team

Greenville, SC isn’t known as a hockey town, but it is home to our very own Greenville Swamp Rabbits.  Hockey first skated into town in 1998, but the Swamp Rabbits name didn’t arrive on the scene until the 2015-2016 ECHL season.  Previously dubbed the Road Warriors, the team wanted a name that resonated with Greenville itself.

_MBP9641The icy sport had been a part of the Upstate on-and-off for 15 years, but the team was serious about showing that they were Greenville’s hockey team, and NOT just the team that played in Greenville.  With this pledge to become immersed in the Greenville community, the Swamp Rabbits were born.

Our city is one that is constantly evolving, and there are few aspects of it that unite the whole community.  Some in Greenville bleed orange-and-purple while others don garnet-and-black.  Many families have their roots in the Upstate while thousands of young professionals have recently migrated to Greenville because of the booming business.  Furman and Bob Jones are universities founded on religious values while many locals are more free spirits.

The one constant in Greenville is the name Swamp Rabbit.  Very few of us have seen an actual Swamp Rabbit, but chances are we’ve all heard of the Trail, Cafe or Brewery.  The Swamp Rabbit Trail literally connects the different parts of the Greenville area, just as the name brings us all together.

The name itself and the reasoning in choosing it are what I love about sports.  In a day and age where the bottom line is the only thing that matters, our team tries to buck that trend.

Do we want to have financial success?  Yes, of course.  Do my coworkers and I like getting a paycheck for our hard work?  Obviously.  But at the end of the day, while cleaning up after dozens of young children just skated on the ice after a Swamp Rabbits win (hopefully, sometimes it’s a loss), are we here for the money?  Absolutely not. _DSC4290

We put in the hard work to bring this sport to our fans because we want Swamp Rabbits hockey and Greenville to be synonymous with one another.  We want to be a positive influence on the amazing community around us.  Sure, we love to score on the power play and win a good hockey fight, but we would much rather help the Cancer Survivor Park stick it to cancer.  We would much rather honor those that keep our community and country safe.  We pull planes and participate in heart walks because we care about Greenville.

Who are the Swamp Rabbits?  We aren’t a trail.  We aren’t a brewery.  We are Greenville’s team, and we’re here just as much for our city as we are for our sport.

 

 

 

5 reasons Pour Taproom stands out

Greenville’s latest craft beer destination continues the trend of innovation that we’ve come to expect from local venues.  Pour Taproom will attempt to make its success off of its namesake, giving patrons the ability to pour their own drinks.  Instead of relying on waitstaff, guests are free to choose from the 70 beers on tap and sample at their own pace.

Greenville’s location was inspired by the success of the original Pour Taproom in Asheville and becomes the largest venue of its kind.  While still a novel concept, the practice of pouring your own beer is becoming more popular.  Here are the 5 reasons Pour Taproom stands out from the average Greenville bar.

1. Pour Pour Pour

Once you’re equipped with your own wristband, which tracks the ounces and cost of beer

IMG_1862 (2)

Pour Taproom

you’ve consumed, all you need to do is grab a glass and choose from the plethora of taps.

 

You’re given a multitude of beer styles to choose from including sours, Belgians, and the latest seasonal selections.  The choices range from local South Carolina breweries such as Westbrook all the way to a classic PBR.

Pouring your own beers lets you keep track of the number of ounces consumed, you’re limited to 32 at a time, and gives you the option to sample several more beers than at your typical bar.

 

2.  Gringo’s

IMG_1863
Yes, we’ve all eaten food at a bar, but it’s not everyday that you can have Gringo’s delivered to your table while tasting the latest Ballast Point IPA.  There’s a secondary counter where you place an order off a condensed menu of one of Greenville’s most beloved Mexican restaraunts.

Your Gringo’s order is added to your original drink tab by using your wristband.  This can be dangerous as you forget how much money you’ve spent, but the queso is so worth it..

 

3.  Crowlers

Growlers are a common staple of the craft beer scene, but this was my first experience with the crowler.  A crowler is a 32 oz. can that may be filled with any beer on tap and taken home.  With 70 beers on tap, it’s reasonable to assume that you would be hard-pressed to find each one at the McBee Station Publix.  After falling in love with your new favorite beer, the crowler lets you savor the taste at a later time.

4. Wine

IMG_1865Not a beer lover?  Not to worry, Pour also offers eight different wines on tap at all times so pause the latest episode of Scandal and enjoy Greenville’s newest bar.

5.  Atmosphere

Pour successfully pulls off multiple vibes at once.  Patrons that want to relax can sink into a leather couch along the wall, while pool tables and arcade games offer friendly competitions to occupy your time.  The whole space is also dog-friendly which is a huge plus for those of us with four-legged friends.

 

For the beer enthusiasts of Greenville, Pour needs to be the next place you fill your glass.  Learn more about Pour Taproom by liking their Facebook page.

 

 

Goose Island lands in Greenville

Spring has finally arrived in Greenville.  With the warmer weather our city comes to life, bringing outdoor staples unique to Greenville – baseball games at Fluor Field, Downtown Alive on Thursday nights and making an afternoon of biking down the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  However, this year, spring is also bringing back a flock of brewers to town.

Goose Island Beer Co. is invading Greenville for their annual Migration Week. From March 28th – April 1st, the Chicago-based brewery will showcase their beer at several local venues. They then fly on to Omaha, NE for the next stop in their 39-city migration.

Representatives from the brewery will travel across the country and even to Europe to spread the brand and share more knowledge about their craft beer.

 

Goose Island’s Chicago brewery produces 50 kegs of beer every hour, and local craft beer enthusiasts will be able to learn more about the science behind it during Migration Week.  Greenville’s Community Tap will host a “Deconstruction Class” in which the Goose crew will break down the process of brewing their Belgian-style beer known as Matilda.

IMG_1796

Goose Island was acquired by Budweiser in March of 2011, and this relationship is actually how Community Tap got involved with Migration Week.  Budweiser of Greenville approached Mike Okupinski, co-owner of Community Tap, asking if he would be interested in hosting an event.

“It’ll be good for beer nerds.  People in this town have been educated (about craft beer) for a while, and it’ll be good for them to learn more about the process while drinking the beer itself,” said Okupinski.  He also expects business to increase by 30% that day because of the Goose crew coming in.

Community Tap was invited to be part of Migration Week because it is one of Goose Island’s larger accounts, but Greenville itself was put on the list because of the growing craft beer scene in the town.  “You can go to any restaurant in Greenville, and there’s a good craft beer list.”

Migration Week will begin in town at the Greenville Beer Exchange.  The shop has been in Greenville since late 2010, and Devin Cox, general manager of the Beer Exchange, has seen immense growth in the craft beer scene over that time period.  “It’s awesome, the craft beer scene in Greenville is exploding and there’s no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  A major brewery like Goose Island choosing to do events in Greenville shows the growth potential that this city has in the craft beer business.”

IMG_1804.JPG

Greenville Beer Exchange

In addition to the kickoff event at the Greenville Beer Exchange and “Deconstruction Class” at Community Tap, the Goose Crew will visit several other venues including Local Cue and Barley’s Tap Room.

The full Migration Week schedule may be found here.

Personal Website

Website Aspirations:

Strategy:

  • Site objectives include advertising my name and marketable skills.  It is very important to clearly show what my talents are to any potential future employers.
  • At this point in time, I am looking specifically for an internship.  I am not certain if I am going to pursue graduate school yet, and I have one year of school left so I am not looking for a job at this point in time.
  • I am interested in working in the sports media field.  My site will be geared towards showing off the work experience and skills I have in the following:
  1. Sports Journalism (iSportsweb)
  2. Sports Radio (WPSL)
  3. Sports Broadcasting (FTV)
  4. Utilities work (ESPN3)
  • My target audience consists of potential employers and anyone who would have interest in using my skills
  • To optimize user experience, I need to have a clearly set up website that doesn’t have glitches any links
  • Each page needs to be independent of the home page (in case a user enters the site through one of the more specific pages), but all of them need to make it clear what the main purpose of the site is

Scope:

  • Contact form- include email, address
  • Resume
  • Blog from Digital Communications
  • Experience with ESPN3
  • Links to my sports articles with iSportsweb
  • Contact info of those I’ve worked with previously

5 Website Design Inspirations 

  1. Need a fun, but not distracting font.  Image
  2. You need to make sure your resume is personal and explains exactly why YOU are the best at what you do.  This article explains some unique ways to show how attractive of a candidate you are.

Image

3. Paul Landon’s personal portfolio is a superb example of what we want to accomplish with our web sites.

Image

4. Lukas Linden’s personal portfolio..

Image

5. Jan Finnesand’s personal portfolio..

Image

People First Attitude

All web sites are created by people, for people.  No web site is going to be used by a bank, car or restaurant.  A web site is going to be used by individual people for a unique purpose.  

It is obviously important to figure out your purpose when you first create your new web site, but the most important aspect to consider is your audience.  Without your audience, your web site doesn’t mean anything.  

How do you begin to understand your audience?

There are seven important guidelines to help you understand your audience:

  1. List your major audiences. 
  2. Gather information about your audiences.
  3. List major characteristics for each audience. 
  4. Gather your audiences’ questions, tasks, and stories. 
  5. Use your information to create personas. 
  6. Include the persona’s goals and tasks.  
  7. Use your information to write scenarios for your site. 

You really have to delve deep and ask thought invoking questions to ensure that your web site creates the best user experience possible.  It may seem like overkill to create a persona (or many) and delve into many aspects of that persona’s life, but you can never be too careful when creating a web site.  If something is wrong, the user will abandon your site within seconds and go to a competitor’s.  

A personal example for me is the sports writing I have recently begun working on for isportsweb.  The creators of this web site had to really think about what kind of audience they wanted to write for.  Obviously the target audience are sports fans, but they had to ask a few more questions before beginning to create an internet product.  

  • What sports should be covered?  Certain sports are more popular in the United States and definitely garner more attention. 
  • Should the articles be incredibly in depth or allow the casual sports fan to enjoy them?
  • What teams should be covered?  Different teams mean a different geographical audience.

 

 

User Satisfaction

User Experience and Why It Matters

User experience- the experience the product creates for the people who use it in the real world. User experience is not about the inner working of a product or service, but it is about how it works on the outside and when a person comes into contact with it (Garrett 6).  

From Product Design to User Experience Design

There are essentially two ways to think about product design:

  1. Aesthetic appeal
  2. Functionality 

It is very important to design a product to look appealing to potential consumers, but functionality is also crucial.  It is difficult to determine what is more important.  Obviously it is easy to say functionality is more important.  Who would want to buy a product that doesn’t work that well?  But many will admit that the product has to look good for them to buy it.  

It is very important for a designer to think further than that and think of the user experience.  

Designing (for) Experience: Use Matters

Use matters for a product.  If a product doesn’t work or meet the satisfaction of the buyer then it is useless.  It’s almost as if the product doesn’t exist.  The more complex a product is, the more difficult it becomes to identify exactly how to deliver a successful experience to the user.  

User Experience and the Web

On the Web, user experience is even more important than it is for other kinds of products (10).  It is very important to have a user friendly web site that has no broken links or flaws.  A broken link or mistake will easily turn away your readers.  When things go wrong on the internet people blame themselves and feel stupid.  Needless to say, this is an effective way to have people avoid your site in the future.  

User experience is very important, but some web designers make costly mistakes in the hopes of being the first on the market.  Speed and efficiency are great qualities, but hastiness that causes mistakes is not good at all for your site.  

Good User Experience is Good Business

  • Communicate information on your web site as effectively as possible
  • If users have a bad experience, they won’t come back
  • User experience has a far greater effect on customer loyalty than features and function 
  • Return on investment
  • Conversion rate

The Five Planes

  1. Surface Plane- images and text that you see when on a Web site
  2. Skeleton Plane- placement of buttons, controls, photos and blocks of text
  3. The Structure Plane- defines how users got to that page and where they could go when they were finished there.
  4. Scope Plane- the features and functions of the site
  5. Strategy Plane- not only what the people running the site want to get out of it but what the users want to get out of the site as well