Company’s Coming… are you ready?
As the impact of the coronavirus tapers off and we return to normalcy, travel to the U.P. is back in vogue… possibly more than ever.
Susan Estler of Travel Marquette says her organization is “cautiously optimistic that Marquette County will start returning to a more normal visitation pattern.”
Nothing wrong with trying to keep your expectations in check, and after the disaster of 2020, who could blame them?
But as the weather warms up, and faces become more maskless, and events continue to reappear on the schedule (Blues Fest just announced it’s a GO for September) anecdotal evidence indicates a return to more than just the “normal visitation pattern.” More likely? More people than you’ve ever seen here before.
CNBC reports that an uptick in travel is already being felt in the industry. They compared summer bookings this year against those in 2019 and found a preference for smaller, outdoor destinations. Sound like someplace you know?
Hotels, motels, and campgrounds are planning for a busy summer, but all is not rosy. Help is still hard to find.
Reed Benton, General Manager at the Hampton is expecting a busy tourist season at their waterfront inn, with a caveat. “ The only problem is finding employees. As is the trend with most businesses.”
The Superior Oasis complex of rooms and meals is in the same boat.
According to Director of Operations Brian Jensen, “We’re anticipating an outstanding summer travel season this year. This past Memorial Day weekend we sold out all 3 of our hotels.
“The biggest challenge is going to be attracting enough talent to get our rooms cleaned on a daily basis.”
Campgrounds started to rebound last summer as restrictions were lifted and that trend shows no sign of abating as more folks look north, and to the great outdoors.
“We’re already booked at 85 to 90% capacity for the summer and expect to be sold out for weekends,” says Rippling River Campground General Manager John Leech.
Not everyone is excited about the influx of tourists. There are a few who would rather return to the good old days when we were known more as an undiscovered wilderness.
Well good luck with that. It ain’t never gonna happen. Get ready for longer lines, more traffic, and jam-packed beaches, bars and bistros.
Accept the inevitable and be happy for all those who depend on our visitors for their livelihood, especially those hardest hit in the service industries.
It’s just a fact that tourism is an important industry to Marquette County. And it doesn’t have an end date. Bases close, mines close, big box stores close, but tourism lives on. Like it or not.
Make it Marquette
It’s also a fact that many people who visit here, or come to college here, end up falling in love with the place.
And now there’s a concerted effort to reach out to all those who appreciate the appeal of what Marquette has to offer and facilitate their desire to make Marquette home.
Innovate Marquette SmartZone has created a new campaign called Make it Marquette, aimed at entrepreneurs, remote workers, and professionals who seek something other than a metro market for them and their family.
According to Joe Thiel, CEO and Executive Director of Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Invent@NMU, Make It Marquette was created earlier this year to “attract, retain, and support the people and ideas that will shape the future of the business economy in Marquette.”
Thiel continues, “With a business, tech, and entrepreneurial ecosystem established and growing, broadband across the entire region, and ample space to enjoy an active and outdoor lifestyle, Marquette is an ideal place for those looking to move into a rural location.”
It’s comes as no surprise that the pandemic has changed the workplace paradigm, possibly forever, in that many professionals, either working for themselves or for an organization, now know they can be just as efficient working from the location of their choice. Make it Marquette is poised to take advantage of this new mindset.
“Remote work isn’t new- it just hasn’t been promoted in this region. The beauty of Make It Marquette is that it’s designed to bolster the business economy that’s here- those jobs folks can go to- and to attract those who can choose anywhere. The global shift to remote work really made us put the pedal to the metal now, when remote work is on lots of minds already.”
That all sounds good, but exactly how does Make it Marquette accomplish their mission?
Thiel explains, “We’re promoting Make It Marquette in a variety of ways, including working with partners across the public, private, and EDO landscape, and figuring out how we can attract those who’ll appreciate this place as much as we all do. Digital platforms and media outlets are the new wave of the world and we are leveraging them to the fullest while keeping our partnerships local.
“We’re at the very beginning of this journey, this campaign. The important first step is celebrating those here living their lives and making their business here as a part of our community tapestry. Marquette is a special place, and our goal is to keep it special with intentional growth and community strengthening.”
For more information about the Make it Marquette campaign, visit makeitmqt.com
In other Words…
Have you been following the story of Ishpeming’s Cognition Brewery? Located in the Mather Inn, the Cog has had a litany of problems with building ownership, the latest being that electricity bills hadn’t been paid and power to the inn and the brewery was shut off.
According to a recent Facebook post, the Cog is closing down the operation at its present location but plans on re-establishing a brew pub in Ishpeming.
“You have definitely not seen the last of Cognition Brewing in Downtown Ishpeming! Ishpeming is becoming vibrant again with many new homeowners and significant new business investment. We want to remain a part of this resurgence in the worst way.”
Unfortunately, “the worst way” is what they’ve been dealing with. The Cog has built a loyal following and owner Jay Clancey is a popular figure in the community. Hopefully they’ll be able to find a suitable location in Ishpeming while they develop a sister pub in the upcoming Third Street Marketplace in Marquette.