Editor’s note: This is one of four articles by MinnPost interns spotlighting diverse Faces of the Economy.
In a dwindling economy, “fun” often becomes an expense that people can no longer afford to indulge in. And in Minnesota, the fun frequently takes place at resorts, hotels and campgrounds as both big operators and mom-and-pop resorts capitalize on the outdoor recreation that this state offers in such abundance.
So what has Brad Benzick seen during this recession in his work at Cragun’s Resort and Hotel’s marina on Gull Lake?
Benzick, 57, who has worked in the resort’s marina for 3½ years, said about the same number of people came through during this past summer season as came through the last. He only noticed “a little change” in the number of customers in the marina.
“But it could just be the weather, too,” he said. “It hasn’t been the greatest this year.”
Benzick spends most of his day on the phone making reservations and helping customers with boat and equipment rentals, selling retail, and setting up for wedding receptions and other events on the lake.
The resort offers fishing year-round and touts ice fishing in winter — including the Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza coming up in January 2010. “Gull Lake is known for the trophy walleye, northern, largemouth bass and panfish it surrenders from its icy winter waters,” its website says.
Business varies immensely
During the busy season Benzick said the number of customers who go through the marina varies immensely. He might see 15 to a couple hundred people, depending on the day and the weather.
Benzick said he does not worry about job security.
“It’s not my nature,” he said. “I haven’t seen a concern. I might have worked a few less hours here and there, but I still do the same things day in and day out.”
He holds on to a philosophy about his job: “People come here to have fun, and I like my job because I get to help them.”