Nisswa is already on the map. But Molly Gerber hopes to expand the city's presence on the Web, too.
Gerber was hired in late September as executive director of the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce. A Fridley native, Gerber received a degree in public relations from the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire before she moved to Baxter 4-1/2 years ago.
She and her husband, Mark, were married July 26, 2008, at Breezy Point Resort. He works as an accountant for Bruce Johnson and Associates. He grew up in Ogilvie so neither had ties to the community before moving here.
Molly Gerber recently stood in the gazebo overlooking downtown Nisswa. Gerber, 28, was hired in September as executive director of the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce.
Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
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"Neither of us knew anybody and now we just love it here," said Gerber.
Gerber spent the past four years working in the sales department at Ascensus, her first job out of college, before she was hired by the Nisswa Chamber.
Gerber is enthusiastic about her new position and excited about the upcoming Nisswa City of Lights celebration on Friday, her first big community event she's worked on since she was hired. She's been arranging the horse-drawn wagon rides, getting Santa Claus and carolers, as well as food vendors, for the event.
"There are so many moving parts to this job and that really interested me," said Gerber. "And it's been great. Coming right in after the summer, I've been just meeting as many people as I can."
Family: She and her husband, Mark, live in Baxter.
Occupation: She was hired in September as executive director for the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce.
Favorite Nisswa treat: She quickly developed an addiction to turtle coffee from Adirondack, located across from the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce building, soon after she started her new job.
What's playing on her iPod: I love music and I love singing with everything, said Gerber. She's currently more into country music right now. Carrie Underwood is one of her favorites.
Thanksgiving plans: She is hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever at her Baxter home for her and her husband's families, about 10 people total. I'm very nervous but I have two moms that will be my assistants, said Gerber. Actually, I will probably be their assistant. She's hosting it at her house this year so everyone can attend the Nisswa City of Lights Friday.
Favorite Thanksgiving food: Any dessert, I have a big sweet tooth, said Gerber. And a green bean casserole is a must.
What I'm most thankful for: I am most thankful for a wonderful family and friends and this new opportunity.
Former interim director Teresa Faust has stayed on part-time to help provide Gerber with a smooth transition. Amanda Larson also works in the chamber office, serving as events coordinator.
Gerber said her goal is to refocus the chamber's efforts back to the membership for whom she serves. While the chamber does have a Web site, www.nisswa.com, she and chamber board members have been discussing ways to expand the chamber's reach by getting the city on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
"I was happily surprised at how welcoming local businesses are to a new director," said Gerber. "There has been a lot of change and they're excited. It really helps. The job brings a lot of responsibility but a lot of rewards come with that."
Gerber said what she's discovered about Nisswa is that it is made up of residents who care and support their community.
"Everyone wants to help and support the community," said Gerber. "And it makes the chamber's job easier because we're working toward the same thing."
Gerber hasn't yet attended the Nisswa Turtle Races but said she'll be racing a turtle next summer. She's got the Paul Bunyan Trail right outside her office door that she runs on when she can.
"There's so much more to Nisswa than Main Street," said Gerber. "I love the shopping, of course, but I think I'm learning more about restaurants and the hot spots to go."
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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