Newsmakers: Meet Experience Maple Grove’s New President/CEO
Maple Grove has a new marketing and tourism organization called Experience Maple Grove and Gretchen Wilbrandt is the new president and CEO.
“Maple Grove is the eighth largest city in Minnesota, so it’s rapidly growing and it’s a good way to have people invest their dollars into the community,” said Wilbrandt in an interview with CCX News. “It’s creating a more robust community for residents, for the businesses and for the organizations that come in and are part of Maple Grove.”
Since the late 1980s, the city of Maple Grove partnered with Minneapolis Northwest Tourism to provide marketing and tourism services, but the city withdrew from the organization at the end of 2021 and opted to create its own organization. You can learn more about the new nonprofit organization here.
“Experience Maple Grove is a destination marketing organization so we attract and promote tourism in Maple Grove. That can be anything from shopping and dining to attending conferences and sports events,” explained Wilbrandt. “Its a big range from who we partner with and how we can get more people into Maple Grove.”
Suburbs Attract Sporting Events, Conferences
The suburbs might have spillover from large events in Minneapolis and St. Paul like the recent Super bowl and NCAA Final Four Tournament, but the suburbs can also become attractions too. For example, Plymouth is currently preparing for the 2023 USA National High School Hockey Tournament, which is expected to attract 50 teams from across the nation and fill up 2500 local hotel rooms. Wayzata Youth Hockey Association’s Greg Gibson told the city council in January that the event is expected to fill community restaurants and be ‘a big boom’ for the area.
Wilbrandt will help cultivate similar draws for Maple Grove, and she says she’s just learning about all of the great assets the community as to offer.
“Maple Grove has a great park system and I’m blown away by all the businesses that are there,” said Wilbrandt. “We look to be the hub where people come to see both events that are happening but also opportunities where events and partnerships can happen.”
Wilbrandt’s most recent experience came from serving as executive director of the Minnetonka Yacht Club. A website and office space for the new Experience Maple Grove will be launched soon.