Ads aimed to shake, stir up Holbrooke biz |

Ads aimed to shake, stir up Holbrooke biz

The beleaguered Holbrooke Hotel has many fans, including local video producer John Munro, who thought it would be a shame if the inn’s historic bar should close and become unavailable for shooters after a shoot.

So Munro rounded up some friends, asked them to don hats and hang out in the Golden Gate Saloon, considered the oldest (almost) continuously operating bar west of the Mississippi, and portray bar patrons for a commercial.

“We’re trying to stir up business,” co-owner Jim O’Brien said.

After editing his material, Munro expects the commercial to run about a minute. He’ll post it on YouTube, Facebook, on the Holbrooke’s own Web site ( and elsewhere – but mainly, it will be e-mailed to a 3,000-name client list to encourage repeat visitors, Munro said.

“The focus is 150 years of great service at the Golden Gate Saloon,” Munro said.

He already has filmed for a segment to be about 15 seconds long featuring the bridal suite upstairs, which he plans to send out before Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a sweet little piece,” Munro said. That and his other works include music and voice-overs, he added.

He plans three or four more such mini-mercials highlighting different aspects of the historic lodge that boasts guests including Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain and Lotta Crabtree. Upcoming bits will feature happy hour and food specials.

Munro plans to use Google to the Holbrooke’s advantage, getting his little clips to pop up when folks search for “hotel” and “Grass Valley,” he said.

“It’s the new way of marketing,” Munro said. The owners “have been doing very traditional marketing.”

O’Brien and fellow owners face a tough row ahead, with the principal of former property manager First Atlantic Holdings allegedly absconding with the payroll for the last two weeks of December, and no funds to make up the loss.

“I am volunteering my services to help the Holbrooke,” Munro said.

A fund has been set up to receive donations benefiting the Holbrooke Hotel employees who were stiffed. The fund is at Citizens Bank, account No. 021059910.

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call (530) 477-4230.

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