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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Cook County Visitors Bureau buys new building
The Cook County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) has purchased the Gunflint Realty building on Highway 61 in downtown Grand Marais. The building at 116 W. Minnesota 61 has been for sale for over two years, and was purchased from Tim Kennedy and Vicki Wenz.
The Grand Marais Information Center at 13 Broadway in downtown Grand Marais will move into the acquired building by Labor Day of this year, with the administrative team currently located in the Mayhew Building at 505 Highway 61 to follow sometime before winter. CCVB is considering renaming the building, and will soon review some possibilities.
According to CCVB Executive Director Linda Kratt, the organization will benefit tax-wise from owning rather than renting, and it will have more freedom to make permanent facility improvements.
“As the executive director, I oversee the operations at the Tofte and Grand Marais information centers,” Kratt said in a news release. “By combining operations of the CCVB administrative and marketing teams with the Grand Marais Info Center, we’ll be able to work together more effectively as a team.”
Kratt and her team will work with Glenn E. Peterson Construction of Grand Marais on building out the internal space to achieve a fresh look and high functioning workspace.
CCVB executives believe the move also will benefit Grand Marais residents and visitors, as well as the other CCVB stakeholders, including the community associations of Lutsen/Tofte/Schroeder, Grand Portage and the Gunflint Trail. The mission of the CCVB is to promote and market the area as a tourism destination. This differs from the relatively new Cook County Chamber in that the CCVB has a tourism focus, while the Chamber has a business focus, which includes not only tourism-based businesses, but other county services such as government, education and healthcare.
The CCVB was formed in 2010 to encourage tourism and marketing collaboration throughout Cook County.
“Cook County’s unified tourism voice affords us more political leverage at county and state levels, as well as a combined pool of marketing dollars, which allows for additional buying power,” Kratt said.
The purchase of the former Gunflint Realty building coincides with her one-year anniversary as executive director of CCVB. She hopes during the coming 12 months to continue to better communicate CCVB’s mission and how CCVB’s activities relate to goals of other county organizations.
“CCVB’s effectiveness can be measured by increasing the number of ‘heads in beds’ throughout Cook County. Everyone in our community benefits from the revenue generated by local tourists,” she said.
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