We sat down with Mike Szukhent, President and CEO of the Birch Run Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors & Conventions Bureau to find out more about his organization and destination.
What is Birch Run known for and what are some hidden gems that people may not be aware of in the destination?
Birch Run, Michigan is located in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan between Flint & Saginaw on I-75. We share exit #136 with Frankenmuth, Michigan and combined we have the second highest traffic count of exits on I-75. Just for reference sake, I-75 travels from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan to Miami Florida. The busiest exit is Orlando. We are the home of the largest outdoor outlet center (Birch Run Premium Outlets) in the entire Great Lakes Region. We're also home to Tony's and their world famous BLT! We're very proud to have 8.4 million visitors annually.
How do you see your organization’s role in fostering community support and engaging residents to help promote tourism?
As stated above, we have over 8.4 million visitors and a population of fewer than 10,000. Therefore we attract guests to shop, eat, stay and play here in Birch Run.
What challenges and opportunities does having the Chamber of Commerce and CVB fall under the same umbrella create?
That’s a tough question, with many different answers depending on the day or the moment. Both organizations support and promote the community and the businesses within it. However one does it locally and the other beyond two hours driving distance.
What opportunities do you see in the near future for Birch Run to capitalize on?
We’re working to develop a closer relationship regionally with our neighbors. Also, attracting more mid-week guests is a priority for us in the future.
Final question, aisle or window seat and why?
Depends on the trip, sometimes just looking out the window and pondering what's next, other times sitting on the aisle and meeting new friends is the best way to pass the time.