WESTFIELD - The Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association announced Mackenzie Cady has assumed the role of manager of the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield.
Cady is a recent graduate of SUNY Fredonia, a native of Westfield and familiar with grape growing and the grape belt region. The association is a not-for-profit organization focused on economic development via the grape industry and tourism. Its members are predominately from Chautauqua County in New York and Erie County in Pennsylvania. The Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Region is also becoming known as "America's Grape Country."
"We are very happy to have Mackenzie on board as the manager of the Grape Discovery Center as we move forward in this exciting time of preparing for a 2013 opening of the Center," President of the association Helen Baran said. "She brings the attributes of the Millennial Generation to the position - confident, connected and open to change. She has great marketing and communication skills."
Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association President Helen Baran, left, discusses grape country retail items for the Grape Discovery Center’s gift shop with Mackenzie Cady, the new manager of the center in Westfield.
Cady graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in December 2010, where she held two majors throughout her four years of college. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in economics with an International Economics Certificate and also a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies, concentrating in corporate law. She graduated a semester early, all while achieving Dean's List honors. She has had internships and employment positions with Lake Shore Savings and Loan while attending college and after graduation with Pharmacy Innovations in Chautauqua County.
"I am so excited to start on this new venture and am looking forward to working with everyone soon," Cady said. "I have a strong commitment to my Westfield community and to the larger grape belt community."
Dave Momberger, Chair of the Association's Grape Discovery Center Operations Committee, echoed Baran's welcome.
"We welcome Mackenzie and feel that she has a great background," Momberger said. "She was raised on a local grape vineyard, made high academic achievements and shown high level of organization and self-delegating skills. She is tuned in to modern communication and marketing technologies. She is a very engaging and outgoing person."
Momberger noted there are many tasks for the new manager to work on in the coming months. High on the list is getting the physical preparations for the gift shop and retail area and grape products and wine tasting in order. Venders and suppliers will be recruited as will a Grape Discovery Center Volunteer Corps. A separate committee is progressing with the exhibits and displays for the center.
"The Grape Discovery Center seeks to be an experience destination that supports and promotes the grape industry through sharing stories, engaging, educating and informing the public about all things grape," Momberger said.
The targeted audience for the center is broad-based to include not only the heritage or cultural tourist, but also the family visitor, school groups, youth groups, tour groups and local and regional residents.
A firm opening date for the center has not yet been established, but the association looks towards an early summer 2013 grand event. Progress can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GrapeDiscoveryCenter. Cady can be contacted at GDC@concordgrapebelt.org or 326-2003.