CMR Resorters of the Year Award

CMR 2023 Resorter of the Year - Jen Bloomquist, Cedar Rapids Lodge

ROY JB website

There is a significant message for each of us to take away from the story of this year’s winner, and that is hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Even with preparation, some situations occur that we are never fully prepared for, as was the case with this year’s winner.

Many resorts and campgrounds in the CMR are owned and operated by two individuals, a husband/wife, significant others, or business partners. Within the industry, these resorts are affectionately known as Ma and Pa Resorts. Each partner brings their skills and abilities to the resort operation. One might be mechanically inclined, while the other is more computer or financially oriented. One might be very social, while the other is reserved and more “behind the scenes .” Finally, one might know everything about fishing and the lake, while the other is better suited to an office environment. Whatever the skills and abilities, these partnerships make their resorts operate at the highest level in achieving their goals. In the case of a married couple, these partnerships also revolve around their marriage and raising their family.

Now, imagine, if you will, that one of the partners in this relationship suddenly and unexpectedly passes away and leaves the other partner to contemplate “What’s next”? This is what happened to this year’s award recipient. Not only did they have to determine what was next for their resort, but what was next for their family as our winner lost not only their business partner but, more importantly, their life partner and father of their three children. As we spoke and toured the resort, each member of the awards committee was questioning themselves; “What would we do if we lost our partner? How would we move forward?”

Our winner received support from their faith, friends, and, most importantly, family to get through the difficult times. This individual contemplated selling the resort and returning to teaching full time. However, the resort is what we call a legacy resort, which was owned for 30 years by the parents of this year’s recipient. She and her three children had grown up at the resort, and their bond to the resort and the industry was a strong one. Her parents live next to the resort, and her children are of the age where they understand the business and its needs and can assist in fulfilling those needs. Having attended the funeral of her partner/husband, along with many other CMR members, it was easy to see that this resort and its owners were intimately involved in their community and church. Young and old from near and far filled the church to pay their respects. Several CMR friends assisted in some of the heavy work of putting in docks and such the following spring. All these resources made her decision to move forward with owning and operating the resort an easier one.

The memories of her partner are kept alive through the stories that guests tell of him being so inviting and welcoming to them. As he was actively involved in the CMR Board, she was behind the scenes maintaining the day to day of the resort and family. The CMR recognized the ability of her late husband to have “never met a stranger” and named its fall conference hospitality room after him. Our winner desires to be more involved with the CMR, but it is understandable after her partner’s passing why it has been difficult at best to be involved with everything else to attend to running the resort and the family.

While assuming all of the roles within the business and personally, this resort owner continues to improve their resort and have it ever evolving to meet their guests’ needs. In 2023, two new cabins were built, and a new septic system was installed. This, along with many other cosmetic updates, contributes to an environment that guests comment about on how familiar and comfortable it is for them to return to year after year.

Sometimes, you are never prepared for what comes next in life. This resorter’s dedication to her family, resort, guests, and the tourism industry as a whole, as well as her perseverance during the most difficult times, are the qualities that stood out about this nominee during our visit. Her situation and how she faced it tells us that no matter the situation we are faced with at our resorts or in life, no matter how big or small, it can be overcome with the help of faith, friends, and family.

It is with great pleasure that we present Jen Bloomquist of Cedar Rapids Lodge as this year’s Community of Minnesota Resorts 2023 Resorter of the Year award recipient.

Each year, the Community of Minnesota Resorts (CMR) selects, through nomination by its members, one resort or campground as Resorter of the Year (ROY). The owner representative(s) of that resort or campground will have shown a dedication to the improvement of the Minnesota Resort Industry by adopting and conducting business policies and practices that reflect a personal pride in the industry as a whole. They also live up to the organization’s motto of “Resorters Helping Resorters” by involvement in community activities and by displaying a willingness to help other resort owners operate a Minnesota resort or campground successfully.

Any member of the CMR can submit a nomination for this prestigious award. The deadline for nominations is September 1st of each year. The nominating member is not required to verify the eligibility criteria. In the event none of the resorts nominated meet all the eligibility requirements, the Awards Committee will make the selection based on the resort most closely meeting the following criteria:

  • CMR member in good standing for the previous three consecutive years under the same ownership.
  • Ability to maintain a successful and progressive resort.
  • History of helping and mentoring other resort owners/operators.
  • Involvement in community activities.
  • At least five years between awards.
  • Not a member of the Awards Committee.

The Award Selection Committee consists of the recipients of the ROY award from the past three years.

Awarding the Resorter of the Year 2020/2021 via Zoom - Congratulations Jim & Kristin Wherley of Sunset Bay Resort!