What Makes Business Owners Stay Here All Their Lives
While some national destinations are run by large corporations, in Wisconsin Dells, families have made the community what it is today. Many of the area’s waterpark and attraction owners grew up together, attending the same grade school and high school. It’s the same story for their kids. They’re plucky businesspeople who have somehow found a way to balance the fiercely competitive nature of their work with a commitment to family and the community.

Interview Recommendations

  • Mike Kaminski, owner of Chula Vista Resort, whose family has been in the Dells’ tourism business since the early 1900s

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Wisconsin Dells business owners have been very successful in passing the reins from one generation to the next, a feat many businesses fail at
  • Assigning duties and keeping relatives happy when you have three generations working at one business

The Financials Speak for Themselves
If anyone would have predicted that the little community of Wisconsin Dells would someday surpass the $1 billion mark in annual tourism revenue, they would have been labeled overly optimistic, to put it kindly. But the reality is that 2007 was a watershed year, with tourism revenue coming in at $1.03 billion. With local owners pouring millions into their businesses and a carefully orchestrated marketing campaign designed to spread the word on "The Waterpark Capital of the World!®", it’s a financial model that many other tourism communities envy.

Interview Recommendations

  • Tom Diehl, longstanding business owner and member of the Board of Directors of the local visitor bureau on what it will take to reach the $1 billion mark

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • As businesses have grown, so has the need for employees, with the Dells’ community coming up with inventive ways to attract and retain employees
  • Interestingly, the largest chunk of revenue is attributed to shopping

Mythbusters
While the Dells is a household name in the Midwest, many people on the east and west coasts are just starting to figure out what all the hubbub is about. One of the most common myths is that you must pay admission to get in. False. Wisconsin Dells is a community, not one giant amusement park. Here’s another myth: Wisconsin Dells rolls up the roads and turns off the lights after Labor Day. False again. Approximately 68% of all accommodations, 73% of all restaurants, 70% of all retail shops and 32% of all attractions are open year-round, with the indoor waterpark resorts leading the charge in transforming Wisconsin Dells into a four-season destination.

Interview Recommendations

  • Romy Snyder, executive director of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, who oversees a phone staff that answers every question imaginable from visitors
  • Joe Eck, general manager at Wilderness Resort, who oversaw the addition of snow machines and an outdoor snow tube area adjacent to their massive indoor waterpark, as a way to give visitors even more reasons to visit across seasons

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • What does it take to change the image of a community that was once known only as a summer destination
  • Some of the most unusual questions fielded by the visitor bureau staff