Explore Minnesota Executive Director Lauren Bennett McGinty welcomed travel and tourism industry leaders from across the state at Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference 2023 to share the agency’s 2022 highlights and state of the industry, and look ahead to 2023 with campaign sneak peeks and Tourism Matters updates.
Explore Minnesota Tourism presented its statewide Customer Service Award to downtown Winona restaurateur Amy Jo Marks on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.
Marks, owner of Blooming Grounds Coffee House, Blooming Grounds Express and newly-opened Muddled Thyme, was present to accept the award. Also in attendance were the Visit Winona team and nearly a dozen Winona State University recreation and tourism students.
The Customer Service Award is “presented to an individual who is on the front lines of the tourism and hospitality industry, who provides outstanding service to, and communication with, the traveling public.”
Marks has showcased her hospitality talents in downtown Winona for 20 years. In addition to serving high-quality baked goods, drinks, paninis, wood-fired pizzas, craft cocktails and more, Marks is a passionate community member who gives back. Free coats are available every winter for those in need outside of the 3rd Street Blooming Grounds location, and her restaurants were the first to step up early in the pandemic by offering free lunches to school-aged Winona children. Marks is dedicated to elevating Winona’s dining scene by offering unique fare and positive experiences to visitors and residents alike.
“I was surprised and delighted to receive the award and the recognition,” said Amy Jo Marks. “I love people and I love serving them within our community.”