Q: What is the main goal or mission of the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau and the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation?
A: The mission of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation is to enhance the economic vitality of the Village of Downers Grove through the retention, expansion and attraction of business that is conducive to improving the quality of life in Downers Grove.
About Downers Grove• Downers Grove is located in the heart of DuPage County, just 22 miles west of Chicago. Since its founding in 1832, Downers Grove has been a destination for those who want to raise a family, and for those who want to build a business. It is a community of 49,000 who have made Downers Grove their home. It is also home to thousands of businesses who benefit from our strategic location.
• Home to many corporate and regional headquarters. In addition to Class A office parks, Downers Grove has sites for commercial and industrial tenants and opportunities for redevelopment projects. Located in the heart of the I-88 and I-355 corridors. O'Hare and Midway Airports are less than thirty minutes away. Downers Grove has seven hotels, including two full service hotels. Downers Grove is also home to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, which has the only Level One trauma center in DuPage County.
• The community is served by two award winning school districts: Community High School District 99 and Downers Grove District 58. There are 11 elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked our high schools as among the best in the state. There are also private schools. Downers Grove is home to the main campus of Midwestern University.
• The Downers Grove Park District manages 49 park sites on over 600 acres. The park district operates the Downers Grove Golf Club and the Downers Grove Recreation Center.
History & fun facts
• The Tivoli Theatre, located in downtown Downers Grove opened on Christmas Day 1928 as one of the first theatres in the country built to show "talkies"(movies with sound).
Local businessmen, Gustave and George Bunge, built the Tivoli Building, located at the corner of Warren and Highland avenues in downtown Downers Grove, in 1928.
The architects were Van Gunten and Van Gunten of Chicago. The contractor was a local firm, J.T. Schless Company of Downers Grove. The building occupies nearly a block just north of the Downers Grove train station and consists of the movie theater, a bowling center and game room, a residential hotel, stores and offices.
DG Golf Course
Owned and operated by the Downers Grove Park District, the Downers Grove Golf Club holds a significant place in U.S. History.
The golf course was established on this site in 1892 as the original Chicago Golf Club, when Charles Blair MacDonald, who was, according to Golf Journal, "a true and imposing pioneer of golf in America" persuaded thirty of his Chicago Club colleagues to contribute ten dollars each to design and construct a nine-hole golf course.
The site that was chosen to build the first Chicago Golf Club was a sixty-acre stock farm owned by A. Haddow Smith. A.H. Smith was a Lanarkshire golfer who had immigrated in 1890 to the United States from Musselburgh, Scotland where the game of golf was first played in 1774.
When Smith heard of Macdonald's plan, he enthusiastically offered his land as the location for the new golf course. Since no regulation cups were available, the course used tin cups. The golf course was completed and ready for play in the late spring of 1892.
Meetings and Events
Downers Grove boasts seven hotels to choose from, nearly 1,200 rooms, banquet facilities, and over 35,000 sq. ft. of meeting facilities including 20,000 sq. ft. of dedicated IACC-approved conference space at the Esplanade Conference Center.
The DoubleTree and Marriott both have ballrooms and other smaller breakout rooms available. Also in Downers Grove is Ashyanna Banquets with over 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space. There are many other smaller private rooms available as event space that the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau can help with.
And the mission and main goal of the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau is to promote and facilitate travel, dining and entertainment spending in Downers Grove with a focus and emphasis on overnight stays.
Q: What are business people in your industry talking about? What's trending?
A: Technology has dramatically changed the way companies manage their real estate. Here are some examples: the concept of collaborative work areas has changed the amount of floor space that office tenants require. More companies have reduced the number of individual offices in favor of shared work space. This means that office tenants no longer need the same amount of square footage on a per employee basis. Another example is the retail sector. Consumers are making more of their purchases on-line and not inside bricks-and-mortar stores. As a result, retailers are reducing the number and size of their stores.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your past experience in the industry?
A: I have been a professional economic developer for 25 years. I started my career in Michigan where I was director of business development for the economic development group of the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce.
From 1998 to 2011, I served as executive director of the Oswego Economic Development Corporation and the Oswego Visitors Bureau. In 2011, I became President and CEO of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation and the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau.
I serve as a board member of the Illinois Economic Development Association.