This week we are celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week and educating everyone on the importance of travel. I know what you are saying, yeah I take vacations and now that it is good for my health. But did you know that Lake County ranks as one of the top counties in Illinois, generating $1.13 billion dollars in travel expenditures, behind Cook County and DuPage County? Lake County supports nearly 10,000 tourism related jobs. The county and local municipalities earned $24 million in local tax receipts from visitors to the area. State tax receipts in Lake County generated $67.6 million. Those are some pretty impressive numbers. Instead of continuing to bore you with stats, I want to introduce you to some of the front line workers that a making an impact in tourism on a daily basis.As most people know, one of my favorite pubs is Mickey Finn’s and not just because I like their beer, but because I have grown to know owner Brain Grano. For me, Mickey Finn’s is one of those places you can walk in and feel like you are home. Just like the saying goes, “A place where everyone knows your name.” Here are some questions we asked Brian on how tourism effects his business.
What do you enjoy most about your job? No two days are ever the same so it’s never boring. It’s also great to see people come back time after time, and see their families grow up over the years. When I bought the restaurant 10 years ago, there were little kids I met that are in college today…crazy. It’s also great meeting people that have heard about Mickey Finn’s and come in for the first time.
How does tourism effect your job? I think we’re a fairly big destination in the Lake County area – between the naval base, Gurnee Mills/the Key Lime Cove, and the soccer tournaments we get lots of people that are looking for a brew pub when they travel. Since we’ve been around for nearly 20 years we seem to get a lot of those travelers to Finn’s.
What gives you the most joy when serving guests? Talking about the beer and being able to recommend a food and beer pairing – also it’s always interesting to find out where people are from.
How do you try to make a guests experience more joyful? try to give them what others can’t or are unwilling to do in terms of service and or product.
Next time you are thinking about where to go for dinner, head to Downtown Libertyville and enjoy a Mickey Burger and a glass of their famous “847 Wheat Ale”. Brian will be there interacting with his customers and making you feel right at home.