Outstanding Tourism Business Award to Pedersens’ RVP~1875, History Boy Theatre Company

Angie and Robbie Pedersen, dressed in century clothing with their Iowa Tourism Award Angie and Robbie Pedersen, dressed in century clothing with their Iowa Tourism Award

Angie and Robby Pedersen began expanding the restrooms at History Boy Theatre last week. “We got to where we had such long lines to use the bathroom at intermission because we only had one. It’s a nice problem to have,” Angie Pedersen said.

It’s the kind of “problem” that earned the Pedersens’ companies,RVP~1875 and History Boy Theatre Company,  the Outstanding Tourism Business Award at the Iowa Tourism Conference in October.  Awards were given in two categories depending on population. RVP~1875 and History Boy Theatre won in the category for counties under 40,000 population. The winner in the 40,000+ category:  the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

Robby Pedersen moved his established furniture business, RVP~1875, to an old lumber company building in Jefferson in 2008. Pedersen creates 19th century-style furniture using 19th century tools and methods. The show room and workshop take up the front of the building. RVP pieces are in several states and even in Finland and Australia. A bed with a couple’s wedding vows burned in the headboard was recently shipped to British Columbia, Canada. Friends contributed toward the cost of the bed as their wedding gift.

Building furniture is Pedersen’s business. Theater is his passion, and his list of theater credits is long. He formed History Boy Theatre Company as a regional professional theater, with himself as owner/producer. History Boy’s first production, “Don’t Hug Me,” was at Prairie Blue Creative Arts in 2009. About 150 persons attended.

For the next production, “Brooklyn the Musical,” the Pedersens moved out 18 tractors Robby stored for his father in the back of RVP~1875 and set up a stage and seating. The tractors eventually found a new home and a stage and seating for 130 became permanent fixtures in time for a 2012 production of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

Audiences have grown “exponentially,” Angie Pedersen said. More than 800 persons saw last summer’s production of “Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The show drew its audiences from a wide area including Ames, Fort Dodge, and even Omaha.

With bus tours coming to Jefferson to visit RVP~1875, and audiences coming distances for History Boy productions, the tourism impact of the businesses on Greene County is undeniable. “The Pedersens have done an incredible job marketing their businesses and drawing people here. That doesn’t happen overnight. They’ve worked hard building their businesses, and we congratulate them for being recognized for their effort,” said Chris Henning, director of Greene County Chamber, events and tourism.

Angie Pedersen credits what she calls “earned advertising”— articles in publications like “Our Iowa Magazine” and the “The Iowan” magazine — for helping the businesses grow. “We have a unique way of doing things. That’s what the articles talk about, and that’s what people come to see,” she said.

RVP~1875 and History Boy Theatre are often visitors’ primary destination, Pedersen said, leading to other expenditures in Jefferson on meals, fuel, and sometimes lodging. One recent visitor came from Kansas City. “People seek out Robby, especially wood guys,” Angie said.

Iowa Tourism Awards are determined through an application/nomination process. Other applicants for the Outstanding Tourism Business Award were Jaarsma Bakery (Pella), Niland’s Café and the Colo Motel, Prairie Meadows Hotel and Skinner Ballroom, and Santa Maria Winery (Carroll).

Other tourism awards recognized outstanding promotional material, outstanding website, outstanding social media, outstanding niche marketing initiative, outstanding collaboration, outstanding new event, and outstanding tourism experience.

“When you look at all the categories, it makes you think about tourism and marketing tourism in a whole different way,” Pedersen said.

Visit www.rvp1875.com for more information. RVP~1875 and History Boy Theatre Company can both also be found on Facebook.


Courtesy of Greene County News Online 11/5/13.

Iowa Tourism Conference Jefferson History Boy Theatre Tourism Award Outstanding Tourism Business Greene County RVP~1875 Iowa Tourism Office Travel Federation of Iowa

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