Conroe tourism industry supporters recognized

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Conroe, Conroe Mayor Jody Czajkoski told those gathered at Visit Conroe’s National Travel and Tourism Week luncheon at Conroe Tower on Wednesday.

He highlighted successful downtown Conroe business owners like Robert and Janese Sokulski who own multiple downtown businesses, Farralyn Withrow who launched the High Street Market to great success in April 2021 and Rodney Poole, considered “the godfather” of downtown and owner of The Pub on the corner.

Downtown has seen a revitalization in recent years, even with the pandemic. Several new shops, restaurants and entertainment venues have opened downtown in 2021 and as the saying goes “If you build it, they will come”.

And they did it in 2021.

As part of her report on the state of tourism in Conroe, Visit Conroe Director Shannon Overby said that in 2021, direct visitor spending was more than $136.1 million in the town of Conroe and that there were over 1,300 people working in the travel and tourism industry in Montgomery. County.

“These are people who live and work here and they made a total of $61.5 million last year,” she said. “Local tax – meaning sales tax and hotel tax – that stays here in our community, visitor revenue was $14.7 million.”

She added that those numbers have all reverted to pre-pandemic numbers.

Hotel occupancy in 2021 was 59.8%, a 20% increase from 2020 and a 3.6% increase from 2019, which was one of Conroe’s best years ever. achieved in terms of tourism.

“Now we continue to look to the future,” she said.

She highlighted the new Hyatt Regency Conroe and Convention Center which is currently under construction in Grand Central Park, development around the hotel and in the Grand Central Park area, a strengthened relationship with Margaritaville Lake Resort and the growth and the revitalization of downtown Conroe as projects to watch in the future.

“Today we want to honor and recognize some of our local residents, businesses and organizations for their impact in helping to make our community a better place to visit through their customer service, dedication and commitment to Conroe,” said said Overby.

A variety of nominations were received from the community, city employees and the Visit Conroe Tourism Advisory Board to select the winners of Wednesday’s categories.

The top prize – Hospitality Hero – went to Farralyn Withrow who started the Main Street Market. The market is held in the juror’s parking lot every Saturday morning next to Founder’s Plaza.

“Although she’s not from Conroe, as soon as she put her roots down here she started trying to figure out how to make Conroe a better place to live and visit,” said Jodi Willard, marketing manager for the Conroe CVB. “His market gives small businesses the opportunity to be their own boss and showcase their wares every Saturday. She also became more involved in the community and joined the Conroe Downtown Area Association. She always goes above and beyond to help everyone around her.

A new award for 2022, the Hometown Hero Award was presented to Keith Odom and Trifecta Fishing for their hard work and dedication in putting on the Yeti Lake Conroe Big Bass Classic held each February on Lake Conroe.

It coordinates angling events around the country but continues to bring this special event back to Lake Conroe every year and it has a major impact on tourism in the area.

This year marks the 24th annual event at Conroe in the form of a three-day tournament that attracts 1,200 participants and several hundred spectators each day of the event.

The Committed to Conroe Award was presented to Robert and Janese Sokulski.

“In the roughly 12 years they’ve been part of our community, they’ve already had a big impact,” Overby said. They moved to Conroe in 2010 when Robert opened his business in the Conroe Industrial Park.

“By the time they sold their business in 2019, they and their daughter, Carley, had already fallen in love with all things Conroe and chose to make it their home,” Overby said. “Because of the potential they saw in downtown Conroe, they quickly started investing and buying properties. They first opened Main Street Market by bringing in small business owners so they could make names for themselves. They now own 202 Main, The Hideway, the future MoCo Food Hall and the old Martin’s Hall, to name a few.

And finally, the Community Champion Award went to Rodney Pool.

“He has always been a tremendous advocate for Conroe and is an inspiration and friend to young and old who love our great city,” said Rebekah Kolb, Tourism Coordinator for Visit Conroe. “He has a real servant’s heart and a vision for Conroe. He is to be admired for his tireless work, especially in downtown Conroe. He has a way of bringing people together and getting them excited to create something wonderful.

National Tourism Week is celebrated the first week of May every year.

Visit www.visitconroe.com to learn more about things to do in Conroe.

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