#WalkTheBlock Town of Erwin

History of Erwin

The town of Erwin began alongside the beginning of Unicoi County in 1875. However, when the town was first founded it was known as the town of Vanderbilt. The town's original name was associated with George Vanderbilt. The name only lasted until March 14, 1879, when legislature changed the name from Vanderbilt to Ervin. The postal office renamed their building in honor of the town’s name change and whether it was intentional or not their building read ‘Erwin’ instead of ‘Ervin’. There was a confusion of the two names for awhile until April 21, 1891, when the town officially changed its name for the last time to Erwin.

Town of Erwin

Erwin is a place of undiscovered bliss. It is nestled deep in the mountains and right on the Tennessee and North Carolina state lines. It is a place full of small town charm, local businesses and history.

Erwin is a quick drive to local tourist towns like Johnson City, Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock and Historic Jonesborough.


  • Rock Creek Park
  • Apple Festival
  • White Water Rafting
  • Pals Fast Food
  • Noli Food Truck
  • Hawg N Dawg
  • Flower Shops
  • Thrifting
  • Antique Shopping


  • Jonesborough, Tennessee: Up and coming small town, Similar businesses, Similar town personalities, Historic town
  • Blowing Rock, North Carolina: Many local businesses and trades, Similar town personalities, Very well-known
  • Gray, Tennessee: Up and coming small town, Gray Fossil Site, Nearby Johnson City and Kingsport which are major Tennessee cities


  • Mary the Elephant
  • Southern United States Stigmas
  • Recent Construction

How do we figure out how to Better Erwin for locals and visitors?

Local Business Consumer Survey

  • One of four surveys
  • Less than 10 questions to encourage more responses
  • Focuses on demogrpahics
  • Understand what drives a consumer to buy local over commercial
  • Figure out why local business drive people to shop in smaller towns
Example from Local Business Consumer Survey

How to Distribute and When


  • Social Media (personal and business pages)
  • Pop-up survey for the town of Erwin website
  • People standing on the main blocks of Erwin distributing surveys
  • Businesses asking for customers' emails to send the survey online.


  • After Christmas and before New Years: People are returning gifts, still prime shopping days with high-foot traffic.
  • People are off of work: More available to be on social media, more time to fill out a survey will create more willingness.

Local Business Owner Survey

  • Focuses on business owner needs
  • Figure out what the pros and cons of Erwin are from local business owners' perspectives
  • Figure out when local businesses receive the largest amounts of visitors
  • Understanding how local businesses draw visitors
Example from Local Business Owner Survey

How to Distribute and When


  • Store-to-store
  • Email


  • Within the next few weeks: Christmas is coming up, shop owners will be in their stores and even more likely to respond to help their business.

Current Visitor Survey

  • Focuses on demographics to figure out who is currently visiting
  • Understand current audience
  • Pros and cons from someone who has visited Erwin
  • Understand which improvements to make from responses
  • Figure out if current visitors talk about Erwin to prospective visitors
Example from Current Visitors Survey

How to Distribute and When


  • Give out at the Welcome Center or Visitors Bureau
  • Post on social media and ask if anyone who has visited Erwin to complete a survey
  • Distribute the link to local businesses with an email list for their customers asking for visitors of Erwin to fill it out


  • During the Christmas and New Years season: People are off of work and tend to travel more during the holidays which will create potential for more responses.

Prospective Visitors Survey

  • Understand demographics of potential visitors
  • Figure out where the stigmas of Erwin come from
  • Understand negative associations with Erwin so those associations can be changed
  • Figure out how people hear about Erwin
  • Understand what motivates people to visit a town
Example from Prospective Visitors Survey

How to Distribute and When


  • Asking the people who call the town of Erwin to ask questions to take survey (encourages national and international responses)
  • On the town of Erwin website
  • Any of the town of Erwin's social media
  • Local businesses posting on their social media


  • After New Years (Mid-January to Early February): The other surveys will help improve the town of Erwin to be more suited to fit the needs of the locals and the people who currently visit. It will also be great to identify those needs or issues and fix them before promoting prospective visitors’ opinions on Erwin.


Why #WalkTheBlock?

#WalkTheBlock- People often visit smaller towns for the character. Part of this character is due to local business that helps shape and define a town’s image. With local business and understanding a town’s personality, nothing helps one understand more than to walk the blocks of the town and experience the personality first hand for themselves. Thus, the theme and hashtag Walk The Block.


Created with images by sashafatcat - "windows and brick wall" • nerka3 - "smoky mountains tennessee landscape" • sashafatcat - "10-feb-22" • daveynin - "Sides of North Carolina" • Jim Larrison - "Walkway in Paris" • PublicDomainPictures - "building city old" • kmckaskle - "brick path walkway" • ke9v - "Scenic Overlook" • andyarthur - "Colors" • tpsdave - "tennessee smoky mountains mountains"

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